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Learning to Live Again



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Old September 17th, 2010, 9:16 pm
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Learning to Live Again

Hi guys So I was bored one day and started wondering what would have happened if Lily had escaped with Harry when Voldemort tried to kill him, and this is the result. It's also my first fanfiction so comments would be nice. I'm not promising that this will be updated often because I've got a busy year in college ahead but I wanted to write this up so I'll try my best. You can leave feedback here

Disclaimer: I'm not JK Rowling, everything belongs to her and I don't own any of the characters. If I did I wouldn't really be posting this here now would I?


Chapter 1

“Lily, take Harry and go! It’s him! Go! Run! I’ll hold him off -”

Lily froze; her heart pounding. How? The Fidelius Charm couldn’t have broke without Peter telling him. That wasn’t possible, Peter was one of James’ oldest friends, he wouldn’t have betrayed them – couldn’t have …

These thoughts ran through Lily’s head for a second before another high-pitched voice from downstairs interrupted her.

Avada Kedavra!

This was all it took for Lily to unfreeze. Fear, shock, panic and grief were all dulled by the sudden adrenaline that coursed through her. She tightened her hold on Harry and ran into her and James’ bedroom where she had left her wand. Quickly snatching it up from the bed, she spun round to see the pale snake-like face with red slits for pupils like a cat’s creep around the doorframe. Without stopping, Lily pointed her wand at the wall and blasted it apart.

She could almost feel Voldemort’s gaze on her and imagined him raising his wand. Lily didn’t turn around to check; she ran to the hole in the wall and jumped. Closing her eyes and holding onto Harry tighter than ever, Lily twisted in mid-air, Disapparating.

The cool breeze raised the goose bumps on Lily’s arms as soon as she appeared in the narrow alleyway. Tears in her eyes threatened to overflow but she desperately tried to hold them back. Harry was crying now – no doubt from the peculiar sensation of Disapparating. Lily held him closer to her and attempted to quieten him for a minute before heading out into the street.

Lily gasped. At least a dozen people wearing black cloaks were meandering down the street. There was no reason for this number of Death Eaters to be patrolling an unsuspecting Muggle street – and there was no way that Voldemort could have known where she would Apparate to and send them a message. She stood glued to the spot, until she noticed that the majority of the cloaked people were too small to be adults. It was only when a child walked past her dressed as a pumpkin that she remember the date - October 31st, Halloween. The day that Muggle children (and even some adults) would knock on doors asking for sweets, wearing capes and costumes of creatures that they didn’t believe in: ghosts, vampires, witches, werewolves …

At the thought, Lily instinctively looked up at the sky. The light from the full moon shone down on them. This, more than anything, encouraged her to begin walking down the street – Lily knew that Remus would never willingly hurt anyone but in his transformed state his human consciousness was lost, and being this close to headquarters and the nearby woods unnerved her.

By the time they had reached the right house, Lily’s breathing had become erratic and the adrenaline that had kept her calm and knowing what to do back at the house was all but gone. Tears began to spill over as she shakily raised her wand and tapped on the front door to open it. Lily squeezed inside and shut the door behind her.

The control she had had over her emotions for the past fifteen minutes broke, for she knew that she was now safe. Lily felt herself slide to the bottom of the door and great heaving sobs escaped her as the tides of emotion crashed over her. She pulled Harry closer to her and feebly tried to stop him crying while she sobbed harder.

The dull murmuring of voices that had been present when Lily had entered stopped as the owners of the voices heard the sobs coming from the hallway. Lily heard the scraping of chairs as they were moved and then footsteps coming closer. She looked up and saw Albus Dumbledore stood in the doorway with a small crowd of Order members behind him.

At first, nothing but shock registered on all of their faces. Dumbledore composed himself first and strode forward. Kneeling down, he helped Lily up and put his arm around her shoulders to gently lead her into what would be the living room if the house were used as a home. He set her down on the sofa and sat next to her, before turning to her gravely.

“What happened?”

Lily swallowed and attempted to calm herself enough so that she could speak.

“H-he … f-f-found us,” she managed to choke out, “P-P-Peter m-must have…”

“Peter?” Dumbledore frowned, looking confused. Lily tried to finish her sentence and explain, but she couldn’t hold back the tears much longer. Dumbledore appeared to have worked out what had happened. “You switched Secret Keeper?”

Lily nodded. “J-J-James…”

She burst into renewed sobs; Dumbledore must have grasped what else had happened from Lily’s emotional state and did not question her any further. Instead, he immediately took control of the situation and began issuing orders. Lily didn’t pay attention to what was going on around her, but nobody seemed to expect anything from her. She continued sobbing and gently rocking Harry until he fell asleep.

After about an hour, Lily became aware of worried and panicking voices in the other room. She tried to listen to what was being said but the muffled voices weren’t making sense. Curious about what was happening, Lily got to her feet slowly so as to not wake Harry, and made her way to the meeting/dining room.

Everyone became silent and their eyes turned to hers when Lily entered. Afraid that something was being kept from her, Lily asked what was wrong. Her voice was croaky but loud enough for them all to hear. When there was no answer, she asked again, “What’s happened?”

This time Emmeline Vance answered, “We sent a message to Sirius - ” she checked her watch “ – an hour ago, telling him to come here straight away, but he still hasn’t turned up or replied.”

No, Lily thought, not someone else, not tonight –

“We’ve no reason to panic, however,” Dumbledore said, clearly registering panic on Lily’s face. “I’m certain that if something had happened to him then we would have heard - ”

As Dumbledore spoke, they heard the front door smash open and someone thunder through the living room. Once again, everyone turned to see who had entered.

His face was pale and his eyes were wild with grief and anger. His hands were balled into fists and he looked ready to go out and murder someone; Lily was sure she knew who he was planning to murder. At any rate, it was obvious that Sirius had already heard about what had happened.

Dumbledore also must have noticed that Sirius wasn’t in the right frame of mind because he stood up and placed his hands on Sirius’s shoulders to try to calm him down.

“Sirius, please sit down - ”

But Sirius shook him off and turned to Lily.

“Wormtail.”

They stared at each other in silence for a moment.

“Wormtail,” Sirius repeated.

“I know, Sirius,” Lily whispered, “I know. But there’s n-nothing we can do - ”

“The murdering little TRAITOR!” Harry had woke up at the loud noise and started crying. Tears started streaming their way down Lily’s face again while Sirius shouted and she could see tear tracks down his face. “HE BETRAYED YOU! HE KILLED HIM! I’LL – I’LL KILL HIM! THE MURDERER!”

Once Sirius stopped shouting, Dumbledore gripped his arm and led him to an empty chair. As soon as he was sat down, Sirius buried his face in his hands and started sobbing.

Dumbledore sat back down at the head of the table and, with a glance at Sirius, started talking.

“Now there’s not much more we can do tonight. No doubt Voldemort will be furious that Lily escaped with Harry so he might be waiting at the house for someone to return. I think it’s safest for Lily and Harry, and Frank, Alice and Neville to stay here tonight and in the morning we can think about what to do next.”

Dumbledore looked around the table as he finished. Everyone had looked confused when Dumbledore had said the Longbottoms were to stay at headquarters, except Sirius who still had has head in his hands. But they all murmured assent and stood up to leave.


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Last edited by gelowo93; December 28th, 2010 at 2:04 pm.
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  #2  
Old September 22nd, 2010, 4:12 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

I know I said I wouldn't be updating much but I pretty much had this chapter done when I posted the first, and I'm about halfway through the third so that could be up by the end of this weekend. Also, I'm trying to keep the chapters short so it makes it seem like I've done more but I think it makes it easier to read as well though.

Chapter 2

As the Order members passed Lily they muttered their condolences; she just stood there, accepting them and not looking anyone in the eye for fear that she would break down in tears again. All she really wanted was to sit down in privacy and spend some time with Sirius – he was, she thought, the only person who truly understood how she was feeling.

The room had gone silent and Lily looked up to see that Dumbledore and the Longbottoms were stood up. Sirius was still sat at the table but had taken his head out of his hands and was staring blankly forward.

“Unfortunately,” Dumbledore began hesitantly. Lily was surprised – he was always so calm and collected that it was unexpected to hear him hesitant, “we only have one bedroom here so someone will have to sleep on the sofa. I’m sure Frank and Alice won’t mind if you want some privacy, Lily.” He turned to them and they were nodding their heads fervently.

“No, it’s fine, I’ll sleep down here. I don’t need a big room – you two should have it,” Lily’s voice cracked as she said it. The two of them had each other and she had no one. Voldemort had seen to that.

“If you’re sure?” Lily nodded. “And Sirius … ?” The sound of his name seemed to break his reverie; Sirius turned to Dumbledore and stood up.

“I’ll stay here, sleep on a chair or something. Don’t feel like going home tonight.”

Dumbledore just nodded and strode into the living room. They followed, trance-like, and saw that he had conjured two sleeping bags and a cot for Harry. He then turned to Lily.

“ I am, truly, sorry. James was a good man and he deserved to live a long life with you. But he died protecting you and Harry and I’m sure he wouldn’t have it any other way. If there’s anything you want, we’re all here for you.”

Lily nodded; she didn’t seem to have much energy left after the events of the evening. Dumbledore checked his watch and frowned.

“I’m going to have to go soon. I’ll just sort out Frank and Alice upstairs and then I’ve got a meeting I need to get to. Take care” He peered over his half-moon glasses to look at Lily and Sirius for a moment, then motioned to Frank and Alice to follow him upstairs. Alice hesitated for an instant.

“If you want, we’ll look after Harry tonight. Just so you don’t have to worry about him waking up or …” Alice trailed off, uncertain whether to carry on or not.

“Thanks but … I’d rather stay with Harry. Thanks anyway.” Alice smiled timidly, then followed her husband and Dumbledore out of the room and upstairs.

Lily took a great shuddering breath once Alice had left and felt Sirius put his arm around her shoulders. Grief threatened to engulf her again, but she held it back as she gently shrugged off Sirius so that she could put Harry to bed. Even though he quickly dozed off, Lily sat down on the sofa next to the cot and watched him sleep. He looked so much like James; Lily knew that she wouldn’t be able to look at him without thinking of her husband.

Sirius seemed to know what she was thinking because he sat down beside her and put his arm around her for a second time. This time, however, she didn’t shrug him off but leaned on him and her grief overwhelmed her. Lily started sobbing quietly so as not to wake Harry, although soon she had lost control and was crying hysterically. She felt something dripping on her head and knew that Sirius was crying too. They sat in silence for a while, grateful for each other’s company while they grieved.

Eventually, Lily’s sobs began to quieten and before long she had cried herself out. She looked up at Sirius and found him staring blankly forward again. His expression scared her – Lily had never seen anyone look so helpless. Although, she thought she must have looked terrible when Dumbledore had found her crying in the hallway.

After a few minutes of silence, Lily started to worry about what Sirius was thinking. She cleared her throat to get his attention; he blinked a few times and then looked at her. His face was still blank of all emotion. Wanting to distract Sirius from thinking about whatever he was and to take her mind off her own thoughts, Lily decided that the best thing to do was get him talking.

As Lily was thinking about topics to talk about, she wondered how Sirius had found out about … what had happened, if the message hadn’t mentioned anything. She had wanted to talk about something completely different but thought that anything was better than nothing.

“H-how did you f-f-find out? Emmeline … s-she said the message didn’t tell you a-anything.”

Sirius let out a long sigh, but didn’t say anything. They looked at each other for a few moments before he began to speak.

“I was supposed to be checking on Wormtail today,” Sirius’ voice was steady, but detached. “I was going to go this morning but I got sidetracked. When I got to where he was staying he wasn’t there. But it was all tidy – no sign of a struggle. I could tell something was up and that was when I got the message. I knew that it meant that something was wrong but if I had come here then I knew Dumbledore would have stopped me from doing what I wanted. So I ignored it. I went straight to your house. When I got there, it was in ruins. Voldemort must have been pretty angry when you escaped so he blew the house up. I don’t know if there’s anything left –” Sirius paused – even though his voice had started emotionless it had become more and more so until it was too much for him to bear. When he spoke again it was in a whisper, “I tried to find him. I checked everywhere I could think of but it was no good. I was searching for about an hour before I remembered Dumbledore’s message.”

Lily had been watching Sirius as he spoke, but once he had finished he turned away, refusing to look her in the eyes. It was only now that Lily could guess what he had been thinking about all evening.

“It’s not your fault, Sirius.”

“I told you to use him. If I’d checked on him earlier like I was going to I might have stopped him.”

“We trusted both of you, no one could have known that he was going to betray us.”

Tears had begun to run down Sirius’ face again. Lily sighed.

“No one forced us to change to Peter, and you didn’t force him to tell Voldemort. You’re not guilty of anything, Sirius.”

Sirius turned back to look at Lily, as if he was seeking reassurance that she didn’t blame him. Lily’s eyes began to droop while they stared at each other, he noticed this and made to get up.

“Where are you going?”

Sirius smiled meekly, “You’re tired, I’ll let you get some sleep.” He stood up and dragged one of the sleeping bags over to a chair.

Lily couldn’t argue – she was tired. She climbed into the other sleeping bag and made herself comfortable on the sofa while Sirius settled into a chintz chair, turned off the lights and closed the curtains with his wand.

The room was pitch black except for a strip of moonlight that allowed Lily to see Harry sleeping peacefully through the bars of his cot, and she wondered whether he understood what had happened that evening. He would never laugh as his father amused him with puffs of coloured smoke again – it was unlikely that he would remember James at all. Silent tears ran down her cheeks as she thought of James never seeing his son grow up, and she was still crying as she fell asleep.
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  #3  
Old September 29th, 2010, 4:09 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

I know I said I'd have this up at the weekend, but I forgot So here it is.

Chapter 3

Lily awoke while it was still dark the next morning, but she could tell that the sky was lightening through the curtains and sunrise was fast approaching. It felt like a lifetime ago that she had escaped her home, when in reality it was no more than twelve hours ago. As she remembered the previous night, panic swelled inside of her. Instinctively, she looked over to Harry’s cot making sure he was still safe. He was sleeping serenely, with a slight smile on his face as if he didn’t have a care in the world.

She sat up with difficulty as sleeping on the sofa had given her a sore back and rubbed her eyes. Lily’s felt as if her hair and skin was greasy from sleeping in the robes she had worn all yesterday. It was a moment before she remembered that she had no other clothes to change into, having had not time to pack before leaving the house as quickly as possible last night.

Deciding that having a shower might make her feel a bit cleaner even if she had to put the same clothes on again, she scrambled out of the sleeping bag. Out of the corner of her eye, Lily saw Sirius asleep in the chair he had settled in last night. She stood up, trying to be quiet so she didn’t wake up Sirius and Harry, and headed up the stairs to the bathroom.

Lily took her time in the shower, allowing herself to relax and trying to prepare for the day ahead, which she imagined would be just as tough as the previous evening. She was just finishing getting dressed when she thought she heard a disturbance downstairs. Lily stopped moving so she could hear more clearly – there was no doubt about it, someone was definitely shouting downstairs. Cursing herself for leaving her wand in the living room, Lily pulled her robes over her head and rushed out of the bathroom.

“Lily! LILY!”

It was Sirius shouting from downstairs, desperation clear in his voice.

“What?! What’s happened, Sirius?!” Lily shouted back, panic once again rising inside her – when was this ever going to end? As Lily reached the top of the stairs, Sirius did too. His panic stricken face quickly turned to one of relief once he saw Lily.

“I thought – You weren’t there – I woke up and you’d gone so I thought - something had happened,” Sirius panted, out of breath from sprinting up the stairs.

“I’m fine, I just came up here to have a shower – you made me panic! I thought – Harry – or Death Eaters at least!” Lily was relieved that nothing was wrong, but she was annoyed at Sirius for making her worry.

Out of the corner of her eye, Lily saw a figure move by the foot of the stairs in the darkness. She let out a small scream before clapping a hand over her mouth when it moved into the light and Lily saw who it was.

“Oh! I’m so sorry Remus; I didn’t see you and you frightened me,” Lily apologised.

“It’s okay. What are you doing here? I thought the idea was that you stayed with Harry at your place so Voldemort couldn’t find you? And where’s James? Sirius wouldn’t tell me anything.”

Lily’s eyes began to water – she had forgotten that Remus hadn’t heard about what happened and didn’t feel up to explaining it to him. She pushed past Sirius and walked down the stairs into the living room, ignoring Remus’ questions.

Once there, Lily saw that Harry had woken up and was standing up in his crib, holding onto the bars trying to see where everyone had gone. She picked him up and sat down on the sofa, settling him next to her where he started to play with the folds of the sleeping bag. Lily watched Harry for a minute, then looked up to see that Sirius and Remus had followed her and were standing by the door. Sirius was staring at the floor, Remus, however, was watching Lily, confused.

The four of them stayed in silence. Eventually, Lily sighed and looked back down at Harry. She would have to tell people at some point, and waiting wouldn’t make it easier. Lily took a deep breath and, still watching Harry, began to speak.

“Last night … V-Voldemort came to our house.”

Lily couldn’t carry on. Tears threatened to overflow once again; she turned away from Harry so that he wouldn’t see her crying but he seemed to have understood that something was wrong because he started patting her leg. When Lily didn’t turn back around, he began to cry. At this, Sirius strode over to the sofa to pick Harry up and started pacing around the room to quieten him down.

“W-what? That’s not possible – what about Peter?” Remus sounded dumbstruck, as if he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“I tried to go after him, but I couldn’t find him anywhere. He must have some hiding place we don’t know about,” Sirius said, in a weak attempt to appear angry.

No one spoke again for a moment. Lily looked up at Remus and could see from the expression on his face that he hadn’t grasped all of what had happened. When he spoke again, Lily’s thoughts were confirmed.

“But if you escaped, where’s James? Surely Dumbledore didn’t send him off somewhere? What … ?” Remus looked into Lily’s eyes and she saw the truth dawn on his face. “No,” he whispered, shaking his head. When neither Lily nor Sirius corrected him, he walked to the sofa and collapsed upon it.

Lily scooted over to Remus, put her arm around his shoulders and leant her head on his shoulder. She could feel him shaking as he cried and her own tears spilled over and started to drip off the end of her nose onto Remus’ shoulder.

They sat like that for a while, whilst Sirius held onto Harry. The sound of the front door opening made them jump and they sat up properly as Dumbledore entered the room.

“Ah, Remus, you’re already here, excellent. Did you two sleep alright last night?” He said, looking between Sirius and Lily. When neither of them answered, he carried on, “I’ll make some breakfast – what do you fancy?”

“I don’t want anything, I’m not hungry,” Lily replied.

“You should eat something, Lily. You won’t even have some toast?” responded Dumbledore, kindly.

“Sure – toast.” Lily knew that it would be pointless to argue with him over something as small as breakfast. Dumbledore turned to Sirius and Remus, expecting them to request something to eat. They stayed silent, causing Dumbledore to sigh sadly.

“Toast for three, then.” Again, everyone was silent. “What will Harry have?”

“He’ll just have some toast.” Dumbledore nodded and headed towards the dining room to get to the kitchen. “Thanks,” Lily shouted after him as an afterthought.

Silence, again; it was only broken by the sound of Dumbledore making breakfast in the kitchen. Lily wondered why he was at headquarters this early – it couldn’t be much later than seven o’clock – and surely he didn’t come here this early every day? She was just deciding that he must have arranged a meeting when she was distracted by voices in the hallway and the door opened.

The door opened and what seemed like half of the Order walked into the room: Rubeus Hagrid, Dedalus Diggle, Minerva McGonagall, Mad-Eye Moody, Elphias Doge, Emmeline Vance, Sturgis Podmore and Frank and Alice Longbottom, carrying Neville, brought up the rear. They all found somewhere to sit except Hagrid, who stood in a corner awkwardly. Just as everyone had settled down, Dumbledore entered holding his wand aloft and levitating a plate with a pile of toast on it.

Dumbledore rested the plate on the coffee table in the centre of the room and, almost at once, everyone went to grab a slice. Lily nibbled on hers, despite telling Dumbledore that she wasn’t hungry. She realised now that she was actually starving but the toast stuck in her throat and she seemed to have lost the ability to swallow. Lily carried on nibbling at her slice, however, thinking that she might feel a bit better with some food in her stomach. While everyone ate, Dumbledore stood up and began to speak.

Lily didn’t listen to a lot of Dumbledore’s speech as she was concentrating on eating her meagre breakfast and not allowing her thoughts to stray too far to make her upset again. Her focus drifted in and out, but she understood the gist of what was going to happen that day: a small group was going to go back to her house in Godric’s Hollow to make sure that there were no Death Eaters in the area and to see if there was anything they could rescue from the rubble, which they would transport back to the basement at headquarters. Ten minutes after the first group set off, the rest of the group would follow to provide back up in case there were Death Eaters. Frank and Alice were to go to work as usual, leaving Lily, Sirius, Remus, Harry and Neville behind with Hagrid for extra protection. Sirius had gotten angry when he realised that he wasn’t part of the plan.

“How come I’m not helping out?” He had asked.

“I thought it would be best for you to remain behind with the others –” Dumbledore had started before Sirius cut him off.

“I’m coming.”

Sirius couldn’t be persuaded to stay back so the plan was forced to change. Sirius would go with the first group accompanied by Minerva, Mad-Eye and Dumbledore so that Dumbledore could prevent him from doing anything rash. The rest were to follow afterwards as before.

Everybody started preparing to depart. Alice gave Neville to Remus to look after and Sirius handed Harry to Lily, while saying goodbye at the same time.

“Be careful,” Lily urged. “Don’t –”

Lily didn’t need to finish her sentence; Sirius knew what she was going to say. He said goodbye to Remus, and then Disapparated with the rest of the first group and Frank and Alice, who needed to go home before heading to the Ministry. Ten minutes later, the second group Disapparated, leaving Lily, Remus, Hagrid, Harry and Neville in silence in the living room.
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  #4  
Old October 9th, 2010, 2:40 pm
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Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
Location: England
Age: 25
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

I know what you're thinking - not another chapter of everyone crying constantly, but I swear there's only going to be this chapter and maybe a bit in the next one and that's it. Also, I wasn't going to bother with Hagrid's accent but I found this website and it helped a lot so all credit goes to whoever made that.

Enjoy.

Chapter 4

Lily could feel Harry straining against her grip, she looked down at him and saw that he was watching Neville and trying to reach him. Remus seemed to be having the same problem with Neville who was struggling to get out of Remus’ arms.

“What’s the matter, Harry? Do you want to play with Neville?”

Both Harry and Neville stopped struggling at the sound of their names; Harry turned around in Lily’s arms and looked straight into her face.

“Nev nev.”

“Okay then,” Lily said as she lifted Harry up and placed him on the floor. He crawled over to Remus and stood up, using the side of the sofa to steady himself, then started patting Remus’ leg.

Remus clumsily copied Lily and soon the toddlers were happily playing together. The adults watched them silently for a moment before Hagrid cleared his throat and began to speak.

“How are yeh feelin’? I guess tha’s a stupid question – I remember when me dad died, I –” Hagrid stopped talking when Remus got to his feet. He muttered something about wanting some fresh air and quickly walked through to the kitchen. Lily and Hagrid heard the back door open and then close. Hagrid looked startled, “Wha’ did I say? I didn' mean to upset yeh - I was jus' seein' if-”

“Don’t worry, it was the full moon last night. I’ll go talk to him.” Lily walked through the dining room and kitchen, and out the back door. “Tell ‘im I’m sorry.” She heard Hagrid call after her.

Remus was sat on an old bench in the small paved backyard, his head in his hands. It was only now that Lily could see how pale he was and the dark circles beneath his eyes – it must have been a rough night anyway, Lily thought. She wasn’t sure if Remus knew that she was there and she had opened her mouth to say something without really knowing what to say, when he spoke first.

“Go back inside, Lily. I want to be alone.”

His voice was muffled and distorted by his sobs so Lily could only just make out what Remus had said. Instead of going back inside, Lily sat down next to him.

“I don’t think that’s true. I … I know that I can’t stand being on my own. Because everything just seems too much to cope with,” Lily started spilling out all her thoughts, and tears came with them. “I mean – this time yesterday everything was fine! Now, my husband’s dead, I have to raise Harry on my own, I don’t have a job or a home, Voldemort is still after my son and the only other family member I have left I don’t talk to! How is this ever going to be ok? My life’s a mess! I’m 21 and my life’s a mess! I don’t – What am I – How -?”

Lily grew more hysterical the longer she spoke until finally she couldn’t speak anymore. Remus had taken his head out of his hands and put his arm around Lily’s shoulders, pulling her closer.

“You’re not on your own - you’ve got me and Sirius, and the whole Order.”

Lily’s tears were falling thick and fast, which prevented her from replying. She was thankful that Remus hadn’t tried to persuade her that everything would be OK, because how did anyone know that? Even Dumbledore didn’t trust Divination.

The sun gradually rose higher in the sky while the two of them sat outside, each wrapped up in their own thoughts yet grateful for the company. At one point, Lily began to shiver in the chilly November air and was going to go back inside, but Remus had taken his cloak off and wrapped it around her. She didn’t question the gesture, assuming that Remus didn’t really want to be left alone and not altogether wanting to go back inside to face Hagrid and anyone else who might have arrived.

It was just after noon when their silence was broken by the sound of the back door opening. Lily and Remus looked around to see Sirius stood in the doorway. He walked silently over to them and sat down on Lily’s other side.

“You were a long time, was there any trouble?” Lily asked.

“No – we had to make sure it was safe to walk around, a bit of the house was still standing. And then Bathilda came over, talking to Dumbledore.”

“Did you get -?” asked Remus, but he cut himself off mid sentence. Lily looked from him to Sirius, confused. But as she saw Sirius nodding a tear slowly made its way down his cheek and she understood. Suddenly, she didn’t want to be sat there doing nothing, she wanted to do something, anything.

The other two didn’t appear to have registered Lily’s change in mood, but Sirius stood up before she could say anything, wiping his eyes with his sleeve.

“They’ve made some sandwiches inside – coming?”

Lily and Remus got up as well and the three of them headed back indoors. The small living room was once again full of people talking in subdued voices. They went silent as Lily, Remus and Sirius entered but started again almost instantly, as if they were trying to make the situation less awkward. Only Hagrid hadn’t fallen silent; he was sat cross-legged on the floor with Harry and Neville, playing with them. Even sat on the floor, he was roughly the same size as the people standing up and Lily almost laughed at how ridiculous he looked next to the two toddlers.

As Lily walked across the room to the sandwiches, she thought she could feel everyone’s eyes watching her but, turning around, she could see everyone talking to their neighbours and not paying her much attention. She turned back to grab a sandwich but, once again, felt as if everybody else in the room was watching her. Lily spun round and quickly glanced around again to see if anyone was looking at her. Deciding that she was paranoid and wouldn’t be able to stay in the room without thinking that people were analysing her every move, Lily muttered to Sirius.

“Where did you send all of the stuff you found?”

“In the basement, why?” Sirius frowned.

“I’m not hungry,” was all Lily answered as she turned on her heel and walked out the door, into the hallway.

Lily quickly walked down the stairs after making sure that no one had followed her out of the living room. Now that she was alone, the panic she had felt in the busy room upstairs disappeared, but the urge she had had outside to do something had not. Lily lit her wand and raised it so she could look around the basement.

A large pile in the middle of the room blocked her view of the other side. Lily started to inspect it and sorting it into piles. Unfortunately, it was the type of work that kept Lily’s hands busy but not her mind, which was left to wander.

Lily worked at sorting the pile for over an hour. In that time she had had to stop every ten minutes or so as her thoughts strayed too far and she started crying again. It took her an enormous amount of self-control and plenty of deep breaths to calm herself down and concentrate on what she was doing.

Eventually, the remnants of her home were divided into smaller piles so that it was easier for her to find things. Lily stood up and surveyed her work; in doing so she noticed a lumpy sheet of material by the wall behind her that she hadn’t seen while working in the semi-darkness.

Her breath caught in her throat. Without thinking about it, Lily took slow silent steps towards it and knelt down by the end. She stayed there, silent, while her mind debated whether or not to pull back the sheet. Neither side had convinced her, yet she raised her shaking arm and, in one swift motion, had pulled back the white sheet to reveal what was underneath.

No doubt Dumbledore had closed his eyes before sending him to the basement. Dust from the ruins of the falling down house had settled in his dark hair, which would have made look him thirty years older if there had been wrinkles to match. Lily stared down into the blank face of her husband and the aching pain that had been ever present in her chest since the previous evening seemed to increase in intensity. For what felt like the millionth time in twenty-four hours, tears began to run down Lily’s cheeks.

Only this time, they didn’t stop.

The tears kept coming, and Lily didn’t have the power to stop them herself. The numbness of the past few hours fell away at the realisation that James truly was never going to speak to her again and this knowledge left nothing but a gaping hole in Lily’s chest where her heart used to be.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; October 9th, 2010 at 3:37 pm.
  #5  
Old October 14th, 2010, 8:13 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Well, here's the next chapter. I don't really like this one but I figured I'd have to get it wrote someday. Thanks to everyone who has reviewed so far, hope you enjoy this chapter.

Chapter 5

Lily didn’t know how long she had been in the basement before someone found her – she didn’t even know who it had been who had tried to comfort her, but then gave up and gently led her upstairs to the empty bedroom so she could have some peace and quiet. Over the next few weeks, she was like an empty shell going through the motions of everyday life without really living them, only speaking when spoken to and spending her days wrapped up in her pain and thoughts of the past.

“Lily. Lily. Lily.”

Lily looked up from the bowl of cereal she had been contemplating. She was sat at the small table in the kitchen with Sirius, who was watching her and attempting to feed Harry at the same time, and a newspaper that appeared to have grown a body, which she guessed was hiding Remus from view.

“Yes?”

Sirius rolled his eyes. “Jeez, I never thought I’d have to ask a girl five times to come shopping before she heard me. Me and Remus are going Christmas shopping this morning and we need your help, coming?”

“Why do you need my help?”

“Because we’re guys; we can’t shop to save our lives. And even if you didn’t want to help us choose presents you could at least help us carry all the bags.”

“Forget it, Sirius,” Remus said, emerging from behind the newspaper and folding it in half. “If she doesn’t want to come then you don’t have to force her, and you’re not exactly making it sound like fun.”

“Dumbledore said to take her with us even if it killed us.”

“I know, but –” Remus began before Lily interrupted him.

“Wait – what? Dumbledore said to take me shopping, why?”

Sirius and Remus glanced at each other, unsure what to say now.

“Well?” Lily insisted.

“Well … he just thought it would be a good idea,” Remus answered. “To get you out of the house, I mean. You’ve not done anything for over a month and we thought it would be good for you to take your mind off it.”

“My husband died, Remus, what do you want me to do – skip around the house singing show tunes?” said Lily, bluntly. She couldn’t explain her sudden anger even to herself, all she knew was that they seemed to be blaming her for something that wasn’t her fault. Lily’s remark was all it took to set off Sirius’s own anger.

“And we lost two best friends in one night! But Remus and me haven’t been sat around not doing anything and not talking to anyone for weeks! We’ve had to look after you and Harry, keep Headquarters tidy and keep on track with what’s going on in the Order. I’m not saying it’s been easy but we’ve carried on with our lives while you’ve not even tried.”

Lily stood up.

“Give me Harry.”

“Because you’ve been such a great mum for the last few weeks? No chance.”

“Sirius!” Remus quickly got up and moved in between Lily and Sirius, as she looked ready to murder him. “Let Lily have Harry – he’s her son.”

Sirius reluctantly passed Harry to Lily. As soon as she had a good grip on him, Lily stalked out of the room and up the stairs.

Frank and Alice had stopped living at Headquarters after the funeral when Dumbledore had deemed it safe for them to leave, but had advised them to live with Frank’s mother so that Neville would be safe – apparently Voldemort hadn’t decided which child to attack next. Since then, Lily had been living in the main bedroom with Harry, while Sirius and Remus slept downstairs. The block of flats that they had been living in previously had been burnt down shortly after James’ death. No doubt the Death Eaters had thought that she and Harry might have been there so they targeted it.

Once in her room, Lily sat down on the edge of the bed and settled Harry on her lap. She looked around the dark room (she hadn’t bothered to open the curtains when she had woken up) and saw that the floor was littered with clothes, Harry’s toys that they had rescued from their old house and anything else she had not cared about enough to put away.

“Mama.”

Lily looked down at Harry’s smiling face, and in that instant she knew that Sirius was right – she had been an awful mother to Harry for the last few weeks. She should have stayed strong for him but instead she neglected him while she fell deeper and deeper into her depression. Only Harry’s genuine happiness at her renewed signs of affection from her could have made Lily realise this because she knew that he would forgive her as he was too young to understand that she had abandoned him.

“Hi Harry, are you ok?” Lily started bouncing Harry on her knee and he began to laugh. “I know I’ve not been looking after you a lot but I will from now on, I promise. I love you.”

“Wuv you,” copied Harry. Lily smiled and pulled out her wand, planning on amusing Harry by conjuring the puffs of coloured smoke that he had always been fond of. Harry tried to grab them for a few minutes until he suddenly stopped and turned to look up at Lily.

“Where dada?”

Lily sighed. She knew that he would ask eventually but had hoped that he would ask someone else. Her eyes began to water but she fought them back instead of allowing herself to succumb to them. Lily took a deep breath and replied,

“Daddy has gone away.”

This wasn’t good enough for Harry, though. He patted Lily on her arm to keep her attention.

“Where?” he asked.

“He’s gone to Heaven.” Lily closed her eyes, trying as hard as she could to not cry. This seemed to have satisfied Harry because he didn’t ask anymore questions and Lily could feel him playing with her hair. They sat like that for a few minutes before Lily heard the sound of the door opening and she opened her eyes.

Sirius was standing by the door. When he saw Lily looking at him, he walked over to the bed and sat next to her.

“I’m sorry about before,” he mumbled, not looking at her. “Moony made me come up and apologise. He said everyone deals with grief in their own way and I shouldn’t have shouted.”

Lily stayed silent for a moment before replying,“No, you were right. I shouldn’t have gone off like that and ignored everyone.” Lily looked down at Harry while she spoke, not really wanting to admit to Sirius that he was right. Instead of gloating about it like he usually did when he was right, Sirius put his arm around Lily’s shoulders.

“Are you going to come then? Shopping with Remus and me? We really do need your help, you know.”

Lily smiled faintly. “Of course you do. Go on, I’ll go with you – if Dumbledore says it’s a good idea then it probably is.” She struggled to stand up as Harry was stood up on her legs as if he was trying to climb onto her shoulders.

“I’ll get him,” Sirius said, reaching over and picking Harry up. Almost immediately, he started trying to pull Sirius’ hair out. Lily laughed, stood up and walked downstairs with Sirius.

Remus was sat in the living room, waiting for them. He looked around when they entered, a look of relief on his face.

“I didn’t hear shouting – I thought you might have killed him,” Remus grinned.

“Oh haha,” retorted Lily. She wondered slightly at the lighthearted attitude that both of them had been displaying but decided that it was probably just a façade so Harry didn’t get upset. “When are we going shopping then?”

“When Alice gets here. She has the day off and said she’d look after Harry so that he and Neville can play –”

“Lily!” interrupted Sirius. Lily turned to look at him to see that he was struggling to prevent Harry from pulling at his hair. Remus chuckled quietly but stopped at the glance Sirius shot at him. “How do you stop him from attacking me?”

“I don’t know. He always did that when we wouldn’t let him play with the cat and I had to give him to James –” A lump had risen in Lily’s throat that stopped her from speaking. There was an awkward silence where no one seemed to know what to say, before Lily swallowed hard and muttered, “Had shorter hair.”

She sat down quickly, avoiding Sirius and Remus’ gaze. Out of the corner of her eye, Lily could see Sirius watching her and she was about to ask him why he was staring at her when he knelt down to sit Harry on floor and transformed into a great black dog.

Harry clapped and pulled Sirius closer so that he could play with him. Lily and Remus watched as Sirius ran around the room, tail wagging, and Harry attempted to chase him. Sirius had rolled over onto his back and Harry was tickling him when they heard the front door open and a few seconds later Albus Dumbledore and Alice Longbottom, who was carrying Neville, had walked into the room.

They froze in the doorway and so did Sirius on the floor. Lily watched as Dumbledore registered the large black dog on the cream carpet and she winced, anticipating him to be angry. Instead, he turned to Remus and spoke calmly, looking at him over the top of his half-moon glasses,

“I didn’t realise we were allowing stray dogs into Headquarters.”

In less than a heartbeat, Sirius had transformed back into his human form and sat up. Alice gasped in shock and even Dumbledore looked surprised.

“Who are we calling ‘stray’?” Sirius asked in a mock angry voice. Remus was fighting a smile while Lily had had to clamp her mouth shut so that she didn’t laugh at the look on Sirius’ face. Dumbledore didn’t find it amusing, however. He locked gazes with Sirius, who had the decency to look ashamed of himself.

“When were you planning on saying that you were an animagus?”

“Wait, you never told him?” Lily asked before Sirius could answer. “I thought you were going to ages ago!”

Sirius looked thankful that he could delay answering Dumbledore’s question and turned to Lily.

“Well, we were going to a bit ago but I’m pretty sure that was the meeting that we found out Voldemort was after Harry, so we got distracted.”

There was a silence in which Lily fidgeted awkwardly and stared at her hands, slightly guilty for not having told Dumbledore herself. She glanced up and saw that Remus looked incredibly guilty and was also avoiding everyone else’s gaze. Dumbledore had moved to sit down in an armchair.

“Tell me the worst,” he said, still peering at Sirius over the top of his glasses. Sirius took a deep breath and launched into the story of how he, James and Peter had become animagi.

Lily zoned out – she knew why, when and how the three of them had learnt to transform themselves into animals and didn’t need to hear the story again. Plus, she didn’t want to feel the heartache everytime his name was mentioned, especially now that she was trying to stay strong and not fall back into the numbness of the past month.

To keep her mind from brooding on unhappy thoughts, Lily watched Harry as he tried to divert Sirius’ attention to him. However, this turned out to be a bad idea. Harry’s untidy black hair and thin face reminded Lily of James every time he turned his head – the only difference was her own green eyes that were copied directly onto his face.

The sofa sank slightly as Alice sat down next to Lily. She placed Neville on the floor and quietly encouraged him to go play with Harry before turning to Lily with a solemn expression on her face.

“How are you?” Alice whispered, for Sirius was still talking. “You look better today.”

Lily looked into Alice’s friendly round face and felt that it was a shame that she was apparently not interested to hear how three fifteen year-olds managed to illegally become animagi right under Dumbledore’s nose without him knowing, because she really did not want to have to talk about how she was feeling. But, Lily thought, she would probably have to have this conversation at some point so she might as well try to get it over with. Lily’s long silence appeared to have made Alice uncomfortable because she opened her mouth to apologise, but Lily started to talk before she could get the words out.

“I – I think I feel better,” whispered Lily back, uncertainly.

“Well, that’s good,” Alice encouraged. “We were worried about you, I mean, you weren’t talking to anyone or doing anything! But I’m glad you feel better.” Alice seemed to realise how her words would have sounded to Lily because she quickly added, “Not that you’re going to forget about him, but at some point you’ll start to be thankful for all the good times you had, instead of concentrating on him not being here.”

At this, Alice glanced at Harry and Neville playing on the floor. She turned back to Lily and smiled faintly. Lily smiled back, even thought she felt that it came out as more of a grimace.

Sirius had stopped telling his story, so Lily thought it safe to look away from Alice. No one seemed to have moved except Harry and Neville who were pulling silly faces at each other. There was silence for a few minutes broken only by the giggles of the two toddlers, until Dumbledore spoke.

“I think the most we can say about that is that at least nobody was hurt, although how you managed to do it without anyone finding out is beyond me. It would be a good idea if you went to the Ministry this afternoon and registered – I know you have a shopping trip organised for this morning.” Dumbledore smiled slightly and looked up at Lily. “It’s good to see you up and about a bit more.”

Lily nodded, unsure what to say back. Fortunately, Sirius got to his feet loudly, which saved her from thinking of something.

“Right, well, we really need to get going.” He looked pointedly between Lily and Remus and they quickly followed suit. They all said goodbye to Dumbledore and Alice, Lily also thanked the latter for agreeing to baby-sit Harry.

“It’s no problem, and it gives Neville someone to play with as well.”

“Okay Harry, be good for Auntie Alice.” Lily knelt down to kiss him goodbye. “Mummy will be back really soon.”

She straightened up, taking her cloak from Remus and only remembering to snatch her wand from the coffee table at the last minute, not being used to going out for the past month. Sirius ushered them into the kitchen and shut the door behind him.

“Thanks for letting me take the brunt there, Moony,” Sirius said, clearly annoyed.

“What did you want me to do? And it’s not like I forced you lot to become animagi – I had no say in it whatsoever.”

“Stop arguing, you two, you’re like an old married couple,” Lily interrupted, stopping Sirius from retaliating.

Sirius mutely grabbed a handful of floo powder from a jar on the counter and stepped into the fireplace. He said “Diagon Alley”, dropped the powder and was whisked away as if he were smoke. Remus motioned for Lily to go next, she copied Sirius and soon the warm flames had engulfed her, spinning her through the network of fireplaces.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #6  
Old October 26th, 2010, 10:40 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Age: 25
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

A bit of a long chapter this one, at least it is compared to my others. I might have another chapter done by the weekend but after that there probably won't be a lot because apparently I have to start revision for January exams now, so enjoy this while you can. For the record, I love Remus/Tonks in canon, but writing this scene made me realise how big their age gap is.

Chapter 6

Lily’s feet hit solid ground and she quickly stumbled out of the fireplace, her head still spinning, in order to make way for Remus.

She spotted Sirius nearby and started dusting the ash off of her robes as she walked over to him. He was talking to an attractive brown-eyed brown haired woman who, lily guessed was a few years older than themselves. The woman was clutching the hand of a young girl whose hair rapidly changed, in the few seconds that it took Lily to reach them, from blue to pink to purple.

“Lily, this is my cousin, Andromeda. She was a few years above us at Hogwarts.”

“Hi,” Lily said rather awkwardly. Then, with her natural friendliness kicking in, she added, “Is this your daughter?”

“Yes – Nymphadora,” Andromeda smiled back warmly. At the sound of her name, the girl stopped looking around the room and said harshly, “Don’t call me Nymphadora.”

“Don’t speak to me like that. What would you rather me call you?”

Nymphadora thought about it for a moment before answering, “Tonks.”

“Stop being silly, I’m not going to call you by your surname.”

At this point, Remus joined them, dusting, like Lily had, the ash off his robes.

“What’s going on? Hello, Andromeda,” he added.

“Nymphadora doesn’t want to be known by her first name anymore,” she explained.

Remus tilted his head to one side, obviously trying to think of alternatives, while Sirius suggested names like “Shorty”, “Hairy” and “Morphy”.

“Morphy?” Remus broke out of his reverie to laugh along with Lily and Andromeda. “I knew there was a reason we didn’t just let you choose our nicknames. What about Dora?”

Andromeda looked down at her currently unnamed child, “Dora?”

“Fine,” she agreed after considering the name for a moment.

“Finally,” smiled Andromeda. “Right, we’ve got to get back. It was good to see you – have fun shopping.”

They waved goodbye as Andromeda and Dora stepped into the fireplace and then disappeared in a flash of green flames.

It took Lily, Remus and Sirius the better part of the morning to complete their Christmas shopping. With their arms laden with packages of all shapes and sizes, the three of them were walking back to the Leaky Cauldron while Lily was complaining that she hadn’t found a present for Remus. They stopped walking when they noticed a small crowd beginning to form outside Flourish and Blotts.

It wasn’t much of a crowd, more like a small number of people stood outside the shop pondering whether to go in or not and other shoppers who were slowing down to read the banner that had been erected above the entrance:

Damocles Belby signing copies of his new book
Potions to Tame the Beasts
today!

Beside Lily, Remus groaned.

“I didn’t realise this was today.”

“Why? What is it?” Lily inquired.

“He’s supposed to have invented some new potions that make creatures less dangerous, like acromantula, chimaeras, vampires and –”

“Werewolves?”

“Well … yes.”

“Do you think it would work?” asked Sirius.

“I don’t know. I don’t think it completely stops the transformations, but …”

Remus trailed off. Lily knew that he had long since resigned himself to the fact that he would be shunned by society and living with the painful transformations once (occasionally twice) a month for the rest of his life, but she couldn’t understand why he wasn’t more eager to try something that – if not a complete cure – could at least make the usual pain he suffered at the full moon bearable.

“Well, why don’t we go in and find out?” Lily didn’t wait for an answer; she turned and walked past the crowd of hesitators, straight into the shop. Behind her, Sirius and Remus raised their eyebrows at each other before hurrying along in her wake.

Inside Flourish and Blotts, it didn’t take them long to spot the author, Belby. He was sat near the back of the shop at a table that was covered with piles of books. Belby seemed to have noticed their entrance, he looked up and smiled at them hopefully, his smile becoming wider once he saw them walking towards him.

“Hello,” he said when Lily, Remus and Sirius had reached the table, “how are you today?”

Even though he was sat down, Lily could tell that he would tower over her if he were to stand. His strong build and steel grey hair that matched his eyes contrasted with his voice, which was gentle and polite. He seemed slightly wary of Remus and Sirius, who were stood on either side of Lily (as they had done all morning) looking round the shop to see whether there was anyone acting suspicious.

“I’ve been better,” Lily answered. The morning’s shopping had, as intended, kept her busy enough so that he thoughts did not stray to unpleasant topics, and she hoped that she could avoid thing about – about … it … while in public.

“That’s a shame, pretty girl like you should have no right to be unhappy.”

Lily sensed both Sirius and Remus stiffen and focus their attention on Belby. She felt nauseated at his comment, even though he was no more than five years older than her and clearly had no idea what had happened, just meaning it to be a bit of harmless flirting. Thinking that it was best to ignore his last comment, but already feeling that she didn’t like his attitude, Lily decided to move the conversation onto the second reason why she had ‘been better’.

“Werewolves aren’t beasts.”

Belby blinked and looked confused at the sudden change of topic.

“Excuse me?”

“Your book’s called Potions to Tame the Beasts and it includes a potion for werewolves, but they aren’t beasts.”

He had regained some of his composure at Lily’s explanation.

“I think you’ll find that the general consensus is that werewolves are dangerous creatures and the Ministry has no problem with classifying them as beasts.”

“One of my best friends is a werewolf and he is the kindest, least dangerous person I know!” At this, she saw Belby’s eyes flicker from Sirius to Remus and then back to Lily quickly. “And it’s neither of them,” she added, to avoid an even more awkward conversation. Similar to that morning in the kitchen, Lily did not know where her anger came from – just that him saying that werewolves were beasts was deeply offensive to her, having known Remus for nearly half of her life and he was the last person who she would label thus.

“You didn’t have to do that,” Remus said, after Lily paid for the book and they exited the shop.

“Of course I did, it’s your early Christmas present.”

“That would imply that I’m getting another present as well. And I didn’t mean that, I meant defending … people like me.”

“You can forget about another present unless you count the potion itself. By the way, yes I did have to defend you. You’re my friend so it’s kind of my right to stick up for you. I’d do it for Sirius if someone started insulting him just because the rest of his family are jerks.”

Sirius grinned and said, “Thanks.”

The three of them walked to the apothecary next so that they could buy the ingredients. Remus flatly refused to let Lily buy them as well, as she had already bought the book and would be brewing the potion, so she gave up insisting that, because it was technically part of the present, she should buy the ingredients. Instead, Lily opened the book, flicked to the right page and began ordering Remus and Sirius to find the various ingredients in the otherwise empty shop.

“Five what?!” Sirius asked in disgust.

“Five rat spleens,” repeated Lily.

“I’m glad you’re drinking this potion and not me,” he told Remus who had returned to give Lily a bottle of armadillo bile she had asked him for.

“Just because the ingredients don’t taste nice on their own doesn’t mean the potion won’t.”

“No, I think Sirius is right, Remus,” Lily said, looking down at the list of ingredients. “There’s a footnote – apparently adding sugar makes it useless. I wouldn’t expect it to taste like butterbeer if I were you.”

Remus made a face at the same time as the bell above the entrance rang, which was almost immediately followed by the sound of wood tapping on the wall and the plump witch behind the counter saying, “No hoods please.” They all glanced around to see who had entered.

Lily’s heart sank.

The chin length greasy black hair was recognisable without the pale sallow face of its owner. Severus Snape lowered his hood and scanned the shop, stopping when he saw Lily, Remus and Sirius stood in a corner.

As soon as he had recognised the figure, Sirius had plunged his hand into his pocket and Lily knew that he was gripping his wand; ready to aim it at Snape if needed. They stared at each other for what seemed like hours. Snape’s eyes bored into Lily’s – she didn’t dare blink or look away in case he took it for a sign of weakness. Eventually, he turned and started browsing the shop.

“Come on, have we got everything?” Remus asked. Sirius was watching Snape, his hand still in his pocket.

“We just need the rat spleens.”

They quickly found them, paid and left the shop, all the while Sirius never took his eyes off Snape.

“I don’t trust him,” he growled, checking over his shoulder as they walked back to the Leaky Cauldron.

They joined the queue to use the fireplace and, soon, the three of them were stood in the kitchen at headquarters.

“Mummy!”

Harry was tottering towards them, his hands reaching towards them. Lily placed all of her parcels on the small table and picked him up.

“Uckle Seerus! Uckle Wemus!”

“Hello Harry, were you a good boy for Auntie Alice?” Lily kissed his forehead.

Alice appeared in the doorway.

“He was fine. You’re just in time – I was about to make dinner. When I told the boys that, Harry ran in here. He must be hungry, or eager to help,” laughed Alice.

Remus and Sirius offered to take all of the parcels to the basement, leaving Lily to talk to Alice while the latter made sandwiches for everyone.

After lunch, Sirius left to go to the Ministry and Alice said she would stay for the afternoon so that Harry and Neville could play together, but Lily had a suspicion that it had more to do with her not being able to stand living with her mother-in-law. Either way, it was good for Harry to have someone his own age around. For a while, the three adults sat in the living room (Remus was cross-legged on the floor, having been bullied into playing by Harry) making small talk. Lily didn’t pay much attention to the conversation, occasionally offering her own opinion. Mostly she watched Harry, smiling sadly and seeing James in almost his every aspect: the colour of his hair, the shape of his nose, even their chins were the same. Every aspect except his eyes.

Lily felt the familiar contracting of her stomach and aching of her heart as she thought of James. Determined not to let it pull her under, Lily stood up. Alice stopped speaking mid-sentence and she and Remus looked up at her.

“Where are you going?” Remus asked innocently enough, but Lily thought she could detect a slight undertone that suggested that he was worried about her going into an empty room and locking herself in as she had been prone to in the past few weeks. She didn’t mention this in her reply, however.

“I thought I’d have a look over the instructions for that potion.”

Lily went down into the basement where Sirius and Remus had taken the things they had bought. She had purposefully avoided going down there since that day and fortunately it was not often necessary. Still, she had to take a deep breath and remind herself that there was nothing wrong with the room before taking the first step downstairs.

It didn’t take Lily long to find the potion book. She conjured a chair and sat down to read it.

She supposed she had been down there for quite a long time rereading the instructions when she heard footsteps on the stairs. Looking up, Lily saw Remus hurrying down the steps. The early signs of panic on his face quickly turned to those of relief when he saw her and then those were replaced by nothing more than an attempt at a friendly smile.

“You’ve been down here a long time,” he said, trying and failing to sound nonchalant.

“I’m not stupid, Remus, you and Sirius have been watching me all day, or did you really think I didn’t notice the sidelong glances?” Lily grinned so he didn’t think she was angry. Remus grimaced but made no other comment. “I’ve just been reading this,” Lily added, indicating the book.

“Well,” Remus moved to stand beside her and put his arm around the back of the chair, “what do you think?”

Lily didn’t reply straight away; she’d had a vivid flashback of lying on the floor crying hysterically and then someone putting their arm around her, pulling her into a sitting position. Quickly forcing it to the back of her mind, she answered.

“It’s one of the most complex potions I’ve ever seen –”

“If you don’t think you’ll be able to make it then you don’t have to bother,” Remus interrupted quickly. “Really. Maybe Sirius will –”

“If you listened then you’d find out that I was going to say I’d give it a go. I did get an Outstanding in my N.E.W.T. after all. It’s just so precise; you have to start making it on the night of the new moon, then it takes a week to make and you take it twice a day for the week before and including the day of the full moon. There’s literally no room for error.” Lily frowned. “When’s the new moon?”

“The fourteenth.”

“I suppose I’ve got just over a week to figure out what I’m doing then.”

“I’ve got every confidence in you.”

Lily stood up and kissed him on the cheek.

“Thanks.”
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; November 23rd, 2010 at 9:13 pm.
  #7  
Old November 3rd, 2010, 9:30 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Re: Learning to Live Again

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

Chapter 7

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

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

“What was that?” Remus asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Lily – what’s up?”

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

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

“Oh, Lily…”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Don’t you think you’ve had enough?”

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

“No.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Who’s there? I’m armed!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Do what?”

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

Remus laughed humourlessly.

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

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

Lily’s arms were crossed on the table and she rested her head on them; Remus was still staring at the moon. Her eyelids were becoming heavier by the second and not long later she didn’t have the energy to keep them open. Lily felt herself drifting off to sleep in the fading candlelight.
___________________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; November 23rd, 2010 at 9:16 pm.
  #8  
Old November 12th, 2010, 5:45 pm
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Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
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Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Here's the next chapter. Things are starting to happen now, but I'm not telling what

Enjoy

Chapter 8

Over the next few days, Lily watched Remus and Sirius closely and realised that what Remus had said was true: while they kept themselves busy, it was possible to be almost happy. But whenever they stopped doing something, the smile slipped off their faces and they resorted to sitting on the sofa and staring blankly across the room. Lily found herself joining them in keeping busy and their depressive moments that became more and more numerous, for it was much harder to find work to do when there were three people willingly doing every chore there was.

Nights didn’t get much better for Lily, either. She would go up to her bedroom after saying goodnight to Remus and Sirius, and that’s when she would allow her still raw grief to overcome her and prevent her from sleeping. The tears came easily and she didn’t stop them, only controlling them enough to keep quiet so Harry did not wake. Once the tears stopped, Lily would tread softly down the stairs and sit in the kitchen, meeting Remus there or waiting for him to join her.

They sat there, more often than not, in silence, only speaking to ask the time or make small talk. Lily did not mind and it seemed that Remus didn’t either. Occasionally one of them would start crying and the other would comfort them – it was times like those that Lily would be glad that she wasn’t sitting there alone. Eventually one or the other would fall asleep, although it was most often Lily, and then the other would take them to where they were supposed to sleep. Neither Lily nor Remus talked about their midnight rendezvous’ during the day.

And so Lily fit into her new routine rather well.

A few days before Lily was to start making the Wolfsbane potion for Remus, she was sat beside a cabinet in the bedroom she had been sleeping in. She had adamantly refused Remus and Sirius’ offers of help and now she was tidying the mess that had accumulated since she hadn’t bothered to put things away properly. Lily picked up a pile of parchment that was on the floor (some things just felt wrong if they were done with magic, and Lily thought that sorting out a mess was one of them) and was carrying it to a desk when a small scrap fell from the pile, fluttering to the floor.

Lily sighed, dropped the pile of parchment on the desk and went back to pick up whatever had fallen. She flipped it over to see what had been written on it.

Lily stared. It was not an old piece of parchment, as she had thought it was, but an old Muggle photograph. Two young girls smiled up at her, frozen in time. The older girl had her arm around the shoulder of the younger. The elder’s blonde hair was tied up in a ponytail and the dark red hair of the younger girl was half covering her face because she had ignored her parents’ warning that it would be windy at the beach, Lily remembered. They had gone the summer before Lily started Hogwarts – the last summer that she and Petunia had been friends…

She stared at the photo for a long time, not looking for any hidden meaning in it, but wondering how two sisters, who had been best friends growing up, had now barely spoken in years. They still sent each other birthday and Christmas presents, and she had invited Petunia to Harry’s Christening. Petunia had declined and Lily had not seen her since.

It seemed to have taken the discovery of the photograph for Lily to realise that she had started to slowly lose the people who were close to her since finding out that she was a witch: Petunia, Severus, her parents, Wormtail, James and more and more names that she recognised from school were appearing in the Prophet with announcements of their deaths, not to mention her friends in the Order who died. It was about time she attempted to extend an olive branch to those whom she thought she could reconnect with.

Gripping the photograph in her hand, Lily hurried down the stairs, nearly running into Sirius. She didn’t stop to answer his questions of why she was in such a rush and soon she was rummaging in the pile of presents she had bought in Diagon Alley. Lily pulled the small package from underneath a much larger one and unwrapped the brown paper.

Lily hadn’t put much thought into buying Petunia’s present, merely looking for something that wasn’t obviously magical. She had found the photo frame decorated with gems, which changed colour in an old shop full of second hand objects. She supposed that it could look like it was using electricity to make the gems change colour so she had bought it. Now that she had found a photo to put in it, it seemed like a much more thoughtful gift.

“What’s going on?”

Sirius had followed Lily downstairs. He looked over her shoulder and saw the photograph in the frame.

“Is that you? Where did you find it?” Sirius sounded surprised.

“Yes… It was in a pile of stuff upstairs. I found it when I was tidying up. It was taken the year before I started Hogwarts.”

Neither of them spoke for a while. Lily was wondering what Petunia would say if she just turned up on her doorstep; she didn’t think she would be allowed to go alone – there would have to be some sort of bodyguard with her. Lily smiled at the thought of Petunia’s face if she turned up with Moody.

“You want to see Petunia, don’t you?”

Now it was Lily’s turn to be surprised. Sirius was one of her best friends but she didn’t think of him as someone who could tell what you were thinking and could have meaningful conversations with.

“I haven’t seen her since I got married – she didn’t even invite me to her wedding! I feel like I’m losing a lot of people at the moment. It can’t hurt to try, can it?”

“We’ll have to see what Dumbledore says.”

Lily frowned. “Since when did we have to have Dumbledore’s approval to visit my sister?”

“Since Voldemort still hasn’t decided if he wants to kill Neville or Harry and you more.”

Fortunately, Lily didn’t have to wait long to see Dumbledore. He visited headquarters that evening to pick up a report that Elphias Doge had left on the Death Eater he had been trailing. Lily broached the subject tentatively, but he didn’t seem to have much of a problem with it.

“Where does Petunia live?”

“Little Whinging.”

“Does she live near Arabella Figg?”

“I don’t know.”

“I’ll send Arabella a message tonight and find out. I am rather busy at the moment, though, so if I don’t manage to get back to you here then you should go ahead. When are you planning on going?”

“I’m not sure. It’ll have to be before Monday because that’s when I start making Remus’ potion.”

“We can go tomorrow,” Sirius said from behind a book he had been attempting to read for the past few days whenever they had nothing to do. “We’re not doing anything, ever. The sooner I get out of this house the better.”

“You do realise that I’m keeping you here for your safety? If any of you are seen out and about too much then you’re a target and we don’t need you in more danger than you already are.” Dumbledore looked at Sirius sternly, then turned back to Lily. “Tomorrow should be fine. You should see your sister again – family is important, sometimes it just takes this time of year to understand that.” He had a far off look in his eyes as he spoke but shrugged it off, smiling.

The next day, Lily, Remus, Sirius and Harry were dressed in their Muggle finest, as they would be using the Muggle public transport to get to Little Whinging. Lily had had to help Sirius pick out clothes so he wouldn’t be conspicuous on the train after he had entered the kitchen wearing dungarees and a flowered shirt. Remus had burst out laughing and couldn’t eat the rest of his breakfast.

It took them little over an hour to get from the train station near headquarters to the one in the town centre of Little Whinging. After which, they had to travel a further twenty minutes on a bus. Towards the end of the journey, Harry had turned an old woman’s hair purple, causing mass panic until Lily surreptitiously turned it back to its original colour.

Luckily, they got off at the next stop. Once the bus had driven away, Sirius let out his bark-like laugh and Lily and Remus joined in. It took them a while to stop; getting out of the house had lifted their spirits and they were gasping for breath when they did stop laughing.

Lily pulled out a map of the area and quickly found where they were. She began pushing the buggy she had put Harry in for the day to save her from having to carry him, and Remus and Sirius followed.

“Tell me why we didn’t Apparate again?” Sirius asked when they had been walking for nearly fifteen minutes.

“Because it’s a heavily populated area, so they’d notice if we appeared out of nowhere. And Harry doesn’t like it,” Lily said through gritted teeth. She had added the comment about Harry at the last minute, knowing that it would shut Sirius up: he had been complaining almost constantly about not being able to use magic and it was finally getting on her nerves. “Besides, we’re nearly there now.”

Lily thought she heard Sirius mutter “about time” but ignored it. They turned a corner and saw a row of identical houses that looked as if it stretched on for miles. The nearest street sign told them that they were on Privet Drive.

“We’re here,” Lily announced. “So number four should be…there.”

She looked round at the other two nervously; they grimaced identically at her. Lily took a deep breath and walked down the drive of number four.

Lily didn’t press the doorbell straight away. She walked round to the front of the buggy so that she could see Harry and knelt down.

“Harry, I need you to be very good now and not use magic when we go inside. Do you think you can do that?”

Harry nodded, “Yes, mummy.”

“Good boy.” Lily straightened up and pressed the doorbell once.

They were stood outside for a while before the door opened. When it did, Petunia was stood in the doorway. Her face paled as she observed the three people in front of her.

“Hi,” Lily said, smiling slightly.

“What are you doing here?” Petunia said, stiffly.

“I thought I’d come and visit. It’s been a while.” Lily was taken aback by Petunia’s hostility and spoke quietly.

Her eyes were fixed on Sirius and Remus behind Lily. “You need bodyguards to visit?”

“Actually… yes. Can we come in?”

Petunia didn’t say anything. She glared at them for a moment, pursing her lips. Then she moved aside to allow them into the house.

Lily lifted the buggy over the threshold and said a mumbled thanks to Petunia, who stared back in return. Remus and Sirius followed her inside and Petunia closed the door loudly behind them; Lily felt as if she was being trapped inside but shrugged off the feeling – it was a silly thought, there was no way Petunia could keep them in the house.

Harry looked around the hallway curiously when Lily picked him up. He spotted Petunia and tried to reach over to her.

“That’s Auntie Petunia, Harry. Are you going to say hello?”

Petunia frowned but didn’t say anything. As she ushered them into the kitchen at the back of the house, Harry said loudly “Eh-wo.”

They settled in chairs at the table in the kitchen, Lily sat with Harry on her knee. Remus took his hesitantly and raised his eyebrows at Lily. Petunia noticed.

“What’s the matter?”

“We’re a bit paranoid about security,” Lily said, before Remus could answer. “Being at the back of the house… Anyone could be coming from the front and we wouldn’t know until they burst through the door.”

“You want to sit in the lounge?” Lily thought Petunia sounded nervous about this idea.

“Actually, I’d prefer if one of us was upstairs keeping a watch on the street.” Sirius answered before Lily could open her mouth. She closed her eyes – this was already not going how she would have planned.

“I’m not having you rummaging round my house, snooping into things that are non of your business!” Petunia said angrily.

“Petunia, you remember Sirius? And Remus?” Lily opened her eyes to see Petunia glaring at her.

“They were James’ friends, weren’t they?” Lily’s stomach contracted – she didn’t know.

“Yes.” Her voice sounded off. Apparently Petunia didn’t notice because when no one said anything further she started asking after him.

“Where is James? Last time you wrote you said he wouldn’t leave your son alone, always playing with him. Did he finally get a job?”

Her questions were innocent, although they had a sense of forced curiosity to them. Lily looked down at the table when she answered, willing her tears to stay back and her voice to keep steady.

“James… he-he died.” A tear betrayed her, making its way silently down her cheek. Lily didn’t raise her eyes, not wanting to look into Petunia’s face. After a moment of silence, she couldn’t take it any more and glanced up.

Petunia’s previous anger had faded and was replaced by shock.

“When?”

“Halloween,” Sirius answered for Lily. More tears followed the first. Lily listened while Sirius told Petunia the basics of what had happened.

“So that’s why you’ve come? Well, you’re not dragging me and my family into your freak world. I’ve actually managed to be happy with my life and now you’re here to mess it up again, just because yours hasn’t turned out quite as perfect as you thought it would be.”

Lily was shocked – was that really what she thought this was about? That she was bitter that her life wasn’t perfect so she wanted someone else to be the same?

“How dare you?” Lily asked, angry now. “You stopped talking to me because you were jealous, and now you think I want to make a mess of your life when really I’m just trying to make an effort to be friends again? I shouldn’t even be doing this – you should be the one trying to get me back! Merry Christmas.”

Lily pulled out the wrapped photo frame from a pocket in her jacket, threw it onto the table and stood up, ready to leave. She was at the door when Petunia spoke.

“Where did you get this?” she demanded.

Lily stopped but didn’t turn around. “I found it in a pile of rubbish. I suppose it would have been better if it had stayed there.”

There was silence for a minute, then -

“I fought you over this photo, remember? We both wanted to put it in our rooms. I won but mum and dad made me give it you when you went… away.” Petunia’s voice was softer now. Lily turned around.

Petunia was holding the frame in her hands, staring at the picture behind the glass. Finally, she looked up. Petunia was biting her lip as if there was something she was going to say but didn’t really want to say it.

“I’m sorry. About – about James.” Lily was surprised at the amount of sincerity in her voice, but had the distinct impression that that wasn’t what Petunia had planned to say.

Lily nodded and sat back down in her seat. Petunia was still biting her lip, her eyes flickering up to Sirius and Remus frequently. The former was looking around the kitchen with an amused expression on his face, while the latter was watching Lily closely. Lily frowned at him, curious as to why he was watching her, but he just shook his head.

“Would you like a drink?” Petunia asked, nervously.

Soon, they all had drinks in front of them, occasionally taking a sip while they sat in awkward silence. It wasn’t great, Lily thought, but at least Petunia hadn’t thrown them out yet. She hadn’t expected them to get along straight away, and this was a start. Lily looked down at her glass and was hopeful that she could make things up with her sister.
_____________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; November 23rd, 2010 at 9:23 pm.
  #9  
Old November 17th, 2010, 5:15 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Hello again I'm actually updating this a lot more than I think I am, which is probably a bad thing because I'm supposed to be revising for exams in January Anyway, I'm running out of things to say in these author's notes so just keep leaving feedback, m'kay?

Chapter 9

It was a while before Lily and Petunia started talking properly. Petunia eventually allowed Remus upstairs to keep a look out and Sirius tactfully kept out of the way, playing with Harry and Petunia’s son, Dudley, in the living room. This allowed the two sisters to talk in private, only interrupted by the occasional screaming that was usually followed by Sirius reluctantly telling Harry off and muttering a spell to reverse what Harry had just done.

They stayed at Privet Drive all day. Lily and Petunia didn’t spend long talking about why Lily was there or what had caused their estrangement, but spent most of the day updating one another on their lives and reminiscing about their childhood. As long as Lily avoided mentioning magic, Petunia was happy enough.

Petunia had married her high school boyfriend, Vernon Dursley. Lily was surprised at this; she remembered Vernon’s sister, Marjorie, from school and her and Petunia couldn’t have disliked each other more. Vernon had taken a job at a local firm that made drills as soon as he had left school and had been promoted quickly – he was now director of the firm. Their son, Dudley, was a month older than Harry; pictures of him hung in nearly every room of the house.

The room gradually darkened around them and Lily was surprised that the day had gone so quickly. Sirius shouted from the living room. Lily got up warily to see what he wanted – he was not used to being around so much Muggle technology and she dreaded what he might have done.

He was sat in darkness, surrounded by cuddly toys that the boys were playing with.

“What are you doing in the dark?”

“I think the better question is why don’t Muggles have lamps?”

Lily flicked a switch on the wall. They all blinked as the sudden brightness blinded them. Sirius stood up and inspected the light switch.

“That little thing turns the lights on? If I didn’t know what magic was really like I’d say that was it!”

“It’s called electricity, Sirius. You took Muggle Studies, how do you not remember?”

“Yeah, but I dropped it after my O.W.L. didn’t I? It was so boring it was barely worth taking it to annoy mum.”

Lily rolled her eyes, but Petunia seemed confused by the comment.

“Why did you take a subject just to annoy your mother if it was boring?”

“My whole family are pure-blood supremacists,” Sirius answered darkly, as if that was the only explanation required.

“They hate anything to do with Mug- non-magic people,” Lily explained further. “So having a son who was learning about all the technology and your way of living didn’t please them much. Sirius hates them for it and did his best to make them take him out of their wills.”

“I wonder if it worked,” Sirius said, dreamily.

“Probably,” Lily laughed. “And if not, then at least you managed to get them all after your blood.”

“Ah, well. You win some, you lose some.” Sirius grinned. “Shouldn’t we be going? There’s a meeting tonight.”

“Yes, I think we should.” She turned to Petunia. “Thanks for –”

“AAAAAH!”

Remus had Apparated into the living room, making Petunia scream.

“Sorry,” he said, “but there’s a silver car slowing down outside and I don’t know if –”

“You think the Death Eaters have learned how to drive?” Sirius asked, amused.

Remus looked as if he was about to say something but he held his tongue. They heard a car turning into the driveway. Petunia glanced at a clock.

“It’ll be Vernon coming home.”

She hurried into the hallway to greet her husband. Lily heard Vernon’s surprise that there were visitors. She couldn’t make out the exact words of their mumbled conversation, but when he entered the room he looked cautious and slightly afraid.

Vernon Dursley was a big, beefy man, with thick black hair and a matching moustache. His small blue eyes carefully studied each of them in the room before muttering a greeting and walking back out. Petunia followed him.

Lily picked up Harry, getting ready to leave, when the doorbell rang. They heard Vernon grumbling about not having a chance to sit down, when Remus – who was nearest the window and had glanced outside to see who was at the door - shouted.

“DON’T OPEN THAT DOOR!”

Lily’s eyes widened and her heart started to beat loudly; she nearly lost her grip on Harry.

Three things happened almost simultaneously.

Remus turned back to look at Lily, panic clearly showing on his face; Vernon put his head round the door, ready to shout that it was his house and would do what he wanted; and they heard a loud bang that told them that the front door had been blasted off its hinges.

Lily, Remus and Sirius froze for less than a heartbeat to look at each other. Then, they acted as if they had planned what to do if this situation occurred.

Remus grabbed Dudley off the floor and Disapparated immediately. Vernon saw this and started shouting. He didn’t manage to get much more than gibberish out before Sirius and Lily pushed him behind them, running into the hall. Petunia screamed as she joined them in the hallway – Lily pushed Harry into her arms, and then turned to face the intruders with Sirius.

A small group of masked Death Eaters stepped over the threshold and into the house. Lily and Sirius raised their wands and started firing spells at them, ducking to avoid those that were thrown back at them and having to drag Petunia and Vernon down so they wouldn’t be hit.

The Death Eaters advanced into the house, forcing Lily and Sirius to take steps backwards in order to maintain a safe distance between them. Lily aimed a Stunning Spell at one of them, who ducked to avoid it. As he ducked, he fell into a Death Eater that was dodging one of Sirius’ and his mask became dislodged.

Severus Snape ripped the mask off, hatred and disgust etched into the lines in his face.

Sirius snarled beside Lily and he turned to concentrate all of his effort onto Snape.

Two of the Death Eaters had fallen, leaving Lily duelling another two while Sirius and Snape focused on each other. She ducked a jet of green light, yanking on Petunia’s arm to make her dodge it just in time. A second jet of light came at her but she didn’t get the chance to block it – Lily was thrown backwards onto the floor. She dropped her wand and it rolled through the open door into the kitchen.

Lily banged her head on the floor and she could hear a ringing in her ears that was accompanied by faint shrieks. The room was swimming around her. She blinked to try to make her vision focus.

The Death Eaters she had been fighting advanced upon Petunia.

Sirius had noticed that Lily was in trouble. He sent a jet of light at one of the Death Eaters but he easily deflected it. While Sirius had been distracted, Snape aimed a spell at him that hit its target.

Sirius collapsed in pain, and Lily knew that hope was lost. She crawled backwards trying to find her wand, watching the Death Eaters attempt to persuade Petunia to give Harry to them. Snape joined them, forcing his way to the front.

The shouting and loud noises had upset Harry and he was crying. The light bulbs started flickering, distracting the Death Eaters enough to make them look around in panic – their unfamiliarity with Muggle technology caused them alarm.

Ignoring the dizziness, Lily used their distraction and climbed to her feet. She ran into the kitchen, spotted her wand underneath a chair and had barely looked up when she saw a flash of light accompanied by renewed shouting.

Lily sprinted back into the hall, her heart beating loudly, fearing the worst. Instead, she saw Remus stood where the front door should have been, firing spells at the Death Eaters who had been caught unaware. Sirius had climbed back to his feet and rejoined the duel.

“Where’s Dudley?” Lily shouted to Remus, running back in front of Petunia and Vernon as they cowered in a corner.

“He’s safe. I left him at-”

Lily didn’t hear the rest of the sentence; a spell ricocheted of the wall and hit the banister, exploding in flames.

“Come on, LET’S GO!”

Lily span round, reached for Petunia’s arm and pulled Harry out of her arms; she did not know whether it would be safe for Petunia to carry Harry during Apparition. She saw Sirius run over to Vernon and Remus took over the duel to allow the five of them to get away before Lily Disapparated.

Lily released Petunia once she felt her feet hit solid ground. She leaned backwards against the wall of the alley they had Apparated into. Harry was crying again and Lily thought she heard Petunia vomit. She closed her eyes and let herself slide down to the bottom of the wall, her strength failing.

How had they known? No one knew that they were going today, they had only decided last night! In fact, barely anyone had known at all: themselves, Dumbledore, Arabella… She didn’t even know if Arabella had known when they were planning to go.

No, Lily thought. The Death Eaters hadn’t known that they would be there – they couldn’t have. They must have just decided to see if Petunia knew where they were, see if they could torture information out of her. But how had they known where she lived?

Wormtail.

Only two Death Eaters knew that she had a sister: Snape and Wormtail. Obviously more did now, but that was beside the point. And only one of those would have the slightest chance of knowing where Petunia lived. Had Lily ever talked about where Petunia lived in front of Wormtail? It seemed unlikely, but it was possible.

Now here she was. Once again in the alley near headquarters, with a crying son and having just escaped from people who would do whatever they could to kill him. Lily breathed deeply, trying to not allow the panic and fear inside her to show itself.

But how could she not be scared? This was the second time in less than two months that she had feared for her and Harry’s lives, except this time there had been more people to save, more innocent people who could have been killed. Death Eaters were ruthless – everyone knew that – and they wouldn’t have cared (heck, they probably would have been happier) if a few Muggles and Order members were killed while trying to get to Harry.

Just more people that she, Lily, would have had to learn to live without.

Petunia had stopped vomiting, leaving the alley silent except for Harry’s cries.

Silence…

Lily opened her eyes.

She had expected to meet up with Sirius and Remus in this alley; there was nowhere else for them to Disapparate to. Her initial panic had prevented her from realising that Sirius and Remus had not joined them.

They couldn’t have been prevented from Disapparating, could they? She had been sure that Sirius had grabbed Vernon and was about to Disapparate when she had – Remus would have gone as soon as he saw Sirius Disapparate.

Unless one of them had been injured…

The panic swelled inside Lily again, but before she could think any further or calm down, Petunia rounded on her. Her face was pale and she looked weak. That didn’t stop her anger.

Trying to make an effort to be friends again? I don’t know why I believed you! Of course you wanted to mess my life up! You came to visit me knowing those freaks would try to follow. You knew they were after you but you still led them straight to my family! I will never understand you lot, NEVER! Where are my husband and son? Your stupid friends have probably kidnapped them, if they haven’t already been killed!”

Lily tried her best not to get angry. She knew Petunia had a perfectly good reason to shout and shriek and it was very unlikely that she would believe Lily if she explained. Lily had just opened her mouth to say something, though she did not know what, when there was a loud crack.

A dark figure had Apparated into the small alley.

Lily raised her wand automatically, squinting to see who it was in the darkness. The silhouette was not slender enough for it to be Remus or Sirius and when it spoke, it did so in a deep, gruff voice.

Lumos.”
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  #10  
Old November 28th, 2010, 3:28 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

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

Chapter 10

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

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

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

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

“M-Moody?” Lily asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What if there are Muggles there?”

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

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

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

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

“LILY!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

With that, he turned on the spot and Disapparated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What happened?”

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

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

“We saw him in Diagon Alley.”

“So?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yes, I know.”

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

“Okay.” Petunia smiled back.

Lily walked back over to where Dumbledore and the others were stood waiting to Disapparate, thinking that, for the first time that day, she had finally made some progress in patching up the rift between herself and Petunia.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #11  
Old December 5th, 2010, 6:21 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
Location: England
Age: 25
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

This chapter was originally going to include Christmas, but I decided to pad it out a bit so Christmas can get its own chapter (or it could be two - I have an amazing skill for writing a lot ). Not much happens but I hope you enjoy it anyway

Chapter 11

The next few days saw Lily jumping at loud noises and carrying her wand with her everywhere she went. She knew that there was no reason for it – Dumbledore was the Secret Keeper for headquarters and it was impossible for Death Eaters to gain entrance without him telling them specifically where it was – but the attack on Privet Drive had unnerved her and her actions weren’t harming anyone.

It probably didn’t help that there was now only two of them staying at headquarters during the day. Sirius hadn’t stopped complaining about being stuck in the house and Dumbledore had finally given in to his whinging; he was now the protection for Petunia and her family that Dumbledore had promised. Dumbledore didn’t seem happy that there would only be Remus at headquarters, but there was no one else to do the job.

Sirius didn’t appear to be entirely pleased with his assignment, but he didn’t say anything in the presence of anyone other than Lily and Remus, fearing that it would be taken off him and he’d be back to moping around the house all day. However, it did prove useful for Lily, who, despite not knowing how she was going to be able to at the time, had promised to keep in contact with Petunia. Now, she was able to get updates on how she was, with Sirius’ additional comments about how much she spoilt Dudley and what an annoying kid he was.

Lily spent the Monday after they had visited Privet Drive poring over a potions book and preparing ingredients. For that night it would be the new moon and she would have to start making the Wolfsbane potion. She hadn’t made potions regularly since Hogwarts and was a bit uncertain about whether she would be able to brew one this complex, but she knew she had to give it a go for Remus.

As Lily finished setting everything up so she could start the potion later that evening, Remus began to cook tea. She stayed in the kitchen to keep him company; having left him to take care of Harry for the day while she checked and double checked ingredients, Lily felt a bit guilty. When she mentioned this, he shrugged it off.

“It’s not a problem. Sure, if Harry was the worst child in the world, then I might complain. But it’s not as if you dumped him on me while you went out for some drinks with other Order members or whatever – you’re trying to help me.”

Lily watched him cook for a while in silence, keeping a firm hold on Harry so he didn’t decide that the armadillo bile would serve as a better meal. She watched as Remus chopped the vegetables precisely, adding them to the stew at intervals, taking sips of it now and then to get the flavour right. His usually dark brown eyes looked brighter and the circles under his eyes appeared less pronounced. Lily wondered whether the change in his appearance was due to the fact that there would be no moon in the sky that night, or just that he enjoyed cooking.

After a few more minutes of silence, in which Lily didn’t want to disturb his concentration, Remus sat down at the table with her having left the stew to simmer. He glanced towards the other side of the table where the potion ingredients were and pulled a face.

“What’s the matter?” Lily asked, cautiously.

“It’s nothing.”

“Tell me anyway.”

Remus rolled his eyes.

“I was just thinking that I’m glad you’re making that potion instead of me. Knowing my luck, I’d do it completely wrong and end up killing myself.”

“What? I’ve just watched you cook from scratch without so much as glancing at any sort of recipe. How is cooking any different from brewing potions? You still follow instructions.”

“The very important difference is that you can taste food to make sure it’s right. It doesn’t work if you try that with potions.”

Lily thought about it for a moment. “Fair enough.”

“Come on, you’ve got to see where I’m coming from. Cooking is a lot more relaxing than making potions – with potions you have to follow the instructions exactly or you end with a load of mush at best. You can start experimenting with anything when you cook.”

“But if you start adding anything then it’ll turn out awful.”

“Well, you learn when to stop. It’s mostly common sense, really. You wouldn’t add chocolate to a vegetable dish.”

“I think I know someone who would.”

“Harry?” Remus grinned.

“No, Sirius.”

They laughed. It had been so long since Lily had felt light-hearted. Even before … that night …they had made the best out of the situation that they could, but knowing that Voldemort was after them had been stressful, and there hadn’t been much reason to laugh. Despite the situation being worse now, Lily seemed to have developed a part of her brain that she was able force the unhappiness into, and being constantly surrounded by other people forced her to not think about it. This gave her a chance to have fun and laugh with her friends.

As soon as Lily realised this, her laugh faded. She watched as the smile slid from Remus’ face as well.

“It doesn’t go away, does it?”

Lily shook her head, sudden tears threatening to run down her face.

“It’s just… I think that I’ve stopped thinking about it… but then… it feels wrong when I’m having fun…and it all comes back.”

A lump rose in her throat, restricting her speech. Lily hugged Harry closer to her.

“Do you think it’ll ever go away?” She whispered.

“I don’t know.” Remus looked down, shaking his head slowly. “Do you want it to go away?”

“I want the pain to go away,” Lily said, and she could hear it clearly in her voice. “I still love him, but… if it stopped hurting… when I think about him… I think I could manage.”

Remus didn’t say anything straight away; he stared down at his fingers on the tabletop. Then, he spoke, still staring down.

“Time makes everything easier – that’s what they say, at least. I think that, one day, you’ll be able to be happy for the time you spent together.”

“Do you really think that?”

“Seriously?” Remus looked up at her. “I don’t have a clue. I’ve never been in your position and, to be honest, I don’t even want to imagine how you’re feeling. My own grief is bad enough.” He paused. “That sounds really harsh, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay, I know what you mean.”

He got up, then, to check on the stew. Lily stayed sat down, wrapped up in her thoughts. She wondered whether there would be a day when her heart didn’t ache, her stomach didn’t contract when she thought of James. It didn’t feel like there would be. At the moment, it felt as if the pain would never go away and she would feel like this everyday for the rest of her life.

The sound of the front door opening and closing brought Lily back to the present. She reached for her wand automatically.

“Who’s there?” She shouted.

“It’s me,” Sirius’ voice answered, moments before he came into view.

“How do we know it’s really you? A Death Eater might be using Polyjuice Potion.”

“Because even if a Death Eater was using Polyjuice, they still wouldn’t know where headquarters was,” he answered. “Oh, and…”

Sirius transformed into the great black dog and bounded over to where Lily was sat. He placed his front paws on her knee so that he was face-to-face with Harry, and started licking his Godson’s face, making him laugh.

“Stop it, Padfoot. I gave Harry a bath this morning and I don’t know where you’ve been.”

Sirius gave her a distinctly un-canine like look, transformed back into his human form and settled into a chair next to her.

“What’s for tea?” He asked Remus.

“Stew.”

“Stew? Really? Since when have we been on a budget?”

“We’re not. There was some unused veg so I thought we should eat it. Have you got a problem with it?”

“No,” he shrugged and then turned to Lily. “I hate your sister.”

“Don’t say that, Sirius, I’m trying to get back on speaking terms with her. What happened today?”

“Absolutely nothing. I was bored so I was just charming things and Petunia started giving me really dirty looks so I stopped.”

Lily knew that this couldn’t have been all that happened. “And?”

“I transformed, but then all of Figg’s kneazles started attacking me. So I was trying to get them to leave me alone and she just started telling me to stop it and that I was upsetting her brat of a son. I ended up going outside in the snow to keep an eye out.”

“Well, you know that Petunia doesn’t like magic. You probably made it worse when you transformed.”

“What else do you want me to do? There’s nothing to do - at all - and those boxes that they watch all day –”

“-Televisions-”

“- give me headaches.”

Lily sighed. It hadn’t been the best idea to send Sirius to spend the days in Muggle company, not being used to it and not having the patience to just sit it out. Still, he had celebrated at the chance to get out of headquarters on a daily basis and it was this, perhaps, that stopped him from adding “I’d rather stay here and sit around all day” whenever he complained about it.

Remus ladled the stew into the bowls in front of them and they ate in silence. Once they had finished and tidied up, they retired to the living room. Sirius had taken to playing with Harry every evening to make up for not being there during the day and tonight was no exception. Lily didn’t mind most days as it gave her a break from looking after him, but today she had concentrated on the potion and hadn’t spent much time with Harry. As a result, she joined them sat on the floor and was soon surrounded by toys.

Lily lost track of the time while she was playing with Harry. It had been a long time since she had let herself relax and play with him – even though she didn’t have anything to do and looking after Harry was all she did now, her thoughts had often been elsewhere. Somehow, she had managed to force everything else to the back of her mind, allowing her to pay full attention to her son.

“Moony? What’s the matter?” Sirius had looked up and, at his words, Lily did too.

Remus had collapsed into a chair soon after tea and started reading a book. He had put the book down was now sat, slumped in his chair, with his eyes closed. He opened them groggily.

“Hmm? Nothing, I’m just tired,” Remus yawned.

Lily glanced at the clock.

“It’s half eight! Harry should have gone to bed half an hour ago.” She stood up, taking Harry with her. “Are you sure you’re OK, Remus?”

“I’m fine, just tired.” Lily scrutinised his face: the circles under his eyes were back and more lines seemed to have appeared over the course of the evening. “It’s the new moon, Lily, nothing to worry about.”

“If you want an early night you can sleep in the bedroom and I’ll stay down here for the night. I’m going to be up until at least ten starting that potion so you wouldn’t get any extra sleep in here.”

Remus looked as if he was about to reject the offer, but quickly decided that it was the better option.

Sirius said goodnight to Harry and Remus. Lily went up to put Harry to bed and, half an hour later, she was sat in the kitchen in front of the cauldron adding the ground up asphodel petals to the potion that was simmering quietly in the fireplace. Ingredients had to be added every twelve hours and Lily had worked out that if she started it at nine o’clock at night then she would be able to be up in time in the morning to continue.

Sirius joined her in the kitchen. Lily was too busy concentrating on adding the correct ingredients for them to start a conversation, but he stayed anyway. As she had predicted, it took Lily just over an hour to complete the first stage of the potion. When she had finished, she set the cauldron over the fire at a low temperature so that it would keep warm overnight. Lily’s movements stirred Sirius from his thoughts and he sat up properly in his chair, having sat with his arms in front of him on the table and his head resting on them for the better part of the past hour. Sirius yawned.

“You know you didn’t have to sit up and watch me for an hour.”

“I know. I just felt like I hadn’t spent any time in decent company in the past few days.”

“I thought you’d be happier now you weren’t sitting in the house all day and you weren’t stuck in the same company.”

“Trust me, I’d much rather be here with you and Remus than having to put up with your sister and old Figg - neither are great conversationalists. I know I was complaining about being in this house all day, but I want to be out there doing something, not just sitting in another house all day.”

“Dumbledore says it’s too dangerous for us to be going out all the time. He’s only trying to keep us safe.”

“You know as well as I do that that’s not true. We’re in no more danger than anyone else is, as long as one of the three of us is still alive to look after Harry. It’s not as if one of us can tell the Death Eaters where he is anyway.”

“Why would he keep us locked up then?”

“I dunno. Maybe he thinks we’re not up to it, after…” Sirius paused, and didn’t finish the sentence. Instead, he moved on. “He’s wrong if he thinks that, because there’s nothing I’d rather do than fight a few Death Eaters, especially Snape.”

“Or maybe that’s why he won’t let you do anything, because he knows you’d rush into any opportunity for a duel.” Lily grinned wryly. Sirius laughed.

“Could be. I don’t see any problem with it though.” His smile faded. “We’re never going to win this war if we stay defensive. We’ve got to take some risks.”

“Don’t you think Dumbledore knows that? He did fight against Grindelwald, he knows what needs to be done. And taking risks is fine, but people die. Have you stopped and thought about how many we’ve lost in the past year? The McKinnons, Dorcas, Fabian and Gideon…” Lily didn’t add the name of the most recent casualty to the list. She knew that Sirius would have immediately thought of him. “There’s not enough of us,” Lily added in a whisper.

“I just can’t sit here while he grows stronger. Next thing you know, he’ll be taking over the Ministry, and then Hogwarts.”

“Dumbledore would never let that happen.”

“What if Dumbledore isn’t around to stop him?”

“Don’t even say that, Sirius.”

“It’s a possibility.”

“Yes, but it’s also a possibility that all of us could die tomorrow. It’s no good to think of all the possibilities - you’ve got to think that we will all make it through and that it’s going to be alright.” Lily stood up. “I’m going to bed, I need to be up early to do more of the potion. Goodnight.”

“’Night.”

Lily went to the living room and Summoned a sleeping bag that was hidden behind the sofa during the day. She changed into her pyjamas and climbed into it. Settling onto the sofa ready to sleep, she thought she heard Sirius open a bottle in the kitchen and pour a glass.

She lay there for a long time, listening to Sirius become more and more drunk. There was next to no chance that Remus would come downstairs to meet her in the kitchen like they normally did. Lily waited for sleep, not wanting to go upstairs and wake him if he was asleep. The occasional tear trickled down her face onto the cushions, but she didn’t allow her thoughts to become uncontrollable, which would have resulted her sobbing loudly and quite possibly a drunk Sirius trying to comfort her. That was the last thing she wanted.

Eventually, Lily fell into a restless sleep. Sometime during the night, she awoke, feeling someone’s fingers run through her hair. She opened her eyes, however, to an empty room, apart from Sirius snoring loudly in the chair. Lily lay, confused for a moment, before deciding that she must have imagined James’ presence and she fell back to sleep.
___________________________________________

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  #12  
Old December 14th, 2010, 9:29 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
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Re: Learning to Live Again

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

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

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

Chapter 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Always the charmer, Padfoot,” Remus murmured.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lily looked up and Sirius was shaking his head glumly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What were they?” Lily asked.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Sure, of course.”

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

“Is everything OK?”

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

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

“Where is Remus?” Dumbledore asked.

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

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

“I think he’s used to it by now.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just open the presents, Lily.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; January 6th, 2011 at 9:47 pm.
  #13  
Old December 24th, 2010, 12:48 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Age: 25
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Re: Learning to Live Again

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

Chapter 13

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

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

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

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

“Your turn,” he said to Remus.

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

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

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

“Right. Are you two ready to go?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I’ll carry him if you want.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #14  
Old December 29th, 2010, 11:43 pm
gelowo93's Avatar
gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
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Age: 25
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Another chapter is up I've gone back and sorted out a plot hole from chapter 1 that I skimmed over hoping no one would notice No one's mentioned it so far so I think I got away with it but it was annoying me It's nothing major and doesn't affect anything so no need for anyone to go back.

Chapter 14

“Lily – stop it! You’re making me seasick.”

Lily stopped. She had been pacing around the kitchen ever since eight o’clock, unable to keep still. She hadn’t had the concentration to make breakfast, resulting in her and Sirius going without, and had only put together a bowl of cereal for Harry so that he wouldn’t cry. Sirius was sat at the table feeding him.

“You said he’d be back by now,” said Lily, checking her watch for the tenth time in two minutes.

“I said he’s normally back by now. I don’t know why you’re so worried.”

“Something could have gone wrong! Or something might have happened to him! What if the potion was wrong and it’s injured him in some way? Or Death Eaters found him and they’ve taken him? I don’t see how you’re not worried too.”

“Because he’s a big boy who knows how to deal with it. You know as well as I do that nothing’s wrong with that potion – we’ve already had this conversation a million times. And you’re seriously worried that he’s been attacked? If the potion didn’t work, he’s a bloodthirsty werewolf who won’t want to be captured. If it did work, he’s still the size and has the power of a bloodthirsty werewolf, and he doesn’t want to be captured. No one’s going to attack him and get away with him.”

Sirius shrugged as if he’d won the argument.

It was the morning after the full moon and the sun had risen hours ago. So far there had been no sign of Remus. Lily continued pacing for a minute or so until Sirius interrupted her again.

“Seriously, Lily. Your worry is infectious, stop.”

“Good, I don’t think you’re taking this seriously.” Lily thought she saw Sirius about to make his usual joke about always being “Sirius”. Thankfully, he chose to not make the remark this time.

“I don’t see the point in worrying. It’s stupid.”

“If I were you, I’d worry about keeping all your limbs, Sirius.” Lily asked, brandishing her wand threateningly. “You’re starting to annoy me.”

“Now, in that case it’s not necessarily my limbs I’m worried about,” Sirius smirked and winked. Lily rolled her eyes.

“You’re such a man.”

“I don’t know whether to be worried that you didn’t know that before, or glad that you’ve finally worked it out.”

Lily made sure that Harry’s attention was elsewhere before making a rude hand gesture at Sirius.

“Ooh, don’t make Lily angry.”

“I don’t know whether to be worried that you didn’t know that before, or glad that you’ve finally worked it out,” Lily quoted back at him. “The threat still stands.”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Sirius turned his back on her to feed Harry.

“Watch me,” she snarled and purposefully aimed a jinx to just miss Sirius’ head. He jumped in shock and, eyes wide, pulled out his own wand.

“You asked for it,” he said, sending a jet of light back at Lily.

The pretend duel grew increasingly competitive until Lily and Sirius both were concentrating with all their might on hitting the other with a spell. Harry laughed, amused by the bright lights, whilst spells shattered jars that stood on the counter top.

Lily thought that Sirius, who had begun the duel with a grin, had arrogantly expected to win. This was not the case, however, and the grin had quickly faded from his face. Lily ducked and weaved her way around the kitchen to avoid the jets of light sent her way, sending just as many back at him.

Unfortunately, Lily had dodged her way into a corner and had to throw herself onto the floor in order to avoid the flash of crimson light that Sirius aimed at her. In the time it took her to get back up, Sirius had run to the door and was already making his way through the dining room and into the lounge.

“Come back, Sirius Black, you coward!” shouted Lily, running after him.

He laughed and sent a spell behind him. Lily blocked it easily with a Shield Charm. She had reached the hallway now and Sirius was already halfway up the stairs. She followed him up and aimed a Tripping Jinx that found its mark just as Sirius reached the top, sending him face first into the landing.

Petrificus totalus,” said Lily, pointing her wand at Sirius and making her way casually up the stairs. When she reached the top, Lily rolled him over with her foot so that he was staring at the ceiling.

“What were you saying about not worrying about your limbs?” Lily grinned evilly and mimed cutting off his arms and legs with her wand.

A noise from downstairs made her look up and search for its source. Lily aimed her wand at the bottom of the stairs where she could see the back of someone’s head as they shut the front door behind them. It was only when the man turned around and glanced up the stairs, his tired expression quickly turning to one of confusion, that Lily recognised him.

“Remus!” she shrieked, sprinting down the stairs and hugging him with so much force that he had to take a step back.

Remus appeared overwhelmed by Lily’s enthusiastic greeting, and he tentatively put his arms around her. Lily released him and started speaking so quickly that she had barely finished the previous word before she was forcing the next one out.

“Are you okay? We’ve been worried sick! Sirius said that you were normally back earlier than this and I thought something had happened to you. Did the potion work? I – ”

“Lily, calm down.” The corners of Remus’ mouth twitched.

“I’m sorry, I just – ” Even though he was clearly tired and probably in pain, Remus raised his eyebrows at her with a smile and Lily stopped talking immediately.

“Nothing happened. I’m fine. Yes, it worked, I –” He frowned. “Where’s Sirius?”

Lily clapped a hand to her mouth – she had momentarily forgotten about Sirius, lay at the top of the stairs and unable to move. She pointed her wand up the staircase and muttered the counter curse. They heard Sirius groan as he got to his feet and made his way downstairs.

“Don’t mess with Lily,” he said to Remus and, without another word, he limped into the living room, rubbing his stomach.

Lily and Remus followed him into the kitchen where the mess she and Sirius had made during their duel was still visible and Harry was sat in his high chair, happily throwing the rest of his breakfast across the table.

Remus stopped in the doorway.

“What happened here?”

“Never mind,” said Sirius, taking his seat beside Harry.

“What Sirius means is that I beat him in a duel,” said Lily, who waved her wand so that the broken jars fixed themselves and the food lying on the floor (and most of the other surfaces in the kitchen) disappeared. Lily and Remus joined Sirius at the table.

“Well?” said Sirius. He turned so that he was facing Remus. “Did it work?”

“I – yes, it did.” Remus looked Lily in the eyes. “Thank you.”

There was something in the genuine sincerity of his voice that made Lily’s face feel hot and she was sure she was blushing.

“No problem,” she said, then stood up, suddenly embarrassed and wanting to be doing something. “What does everyone want for breakfast?”

Lily started looking in the cupboards, which she found were nearly empty.

“Dunno, what have we got?”

“Err, not a lot,” Lily said as she pushed aside the few packs of food in the cupboard to see if there was anything else hidden at the back. “We have eggs and flour in here… hmm, I think we have some milk somewhere – we could make pancakes.”

“Hmm?”

Lily looked over her shoulder. Remus, who had had his arms crossed on the table in front of him with his head resting on them and looked as if he was barely holding onto consciousness, was now sat up properly, obviously having perked up at the mention of pancakes.

“Oh no, he’ll be wanting them all day now,” Sirius groaned, but Lily could tell that he joking.

“I don’t think I’ve ever only eaten pancakes all day.” Remus put his head back on his arms.

“No, I think we tried to once because you’d always be in a good mood no matter what day it was if you had them for breakfast at school. I can’t remember you complaining about it.”

It didn’t take long for the room to start smelling of pancakes. Remus wanted to help but Lily thought he looked so tired it might have been more dangerous than if he didn’t. She managed not to burn them too badly and, soon, they had all been eaten.

Sirius pushed his chair away from the table once he had finished, as if he was expecting his stomach to grow suddenly with the amount he had eaten.

“What time is it?” he asked.

“Quarter past ten,” said Lily. “Don’t you have to be at the Ministry at half past?”

“Yeah, I didn’t realise it was that late. I don’t know why I’m bothering going, though. It’s not as if I want anything the old bat left me.” Sirius stood up and started looking around for his cloak. Dumbledore had heard the day after Boxing Day that Sirius had been asked to be present at the reading of his mother’s will. Everyone had been surprised at this, as they had all been under the impression that the majority of his family had disowned him and removed him from their wills. No one had any ideas as to what Sirius could have been left; he had suggested that maybe there was an old something in the attic that was charmed to try to kill whoever picked it up.

There had been so many arguments over Sirius going on his own that Lily had lost count. With the rest of his family being known Death Eaters (to the Order, at least) and likely to be there, Sirius was taking a risk going. But, in the end, it had been decided that they were unlikely to attack him in the middle of the Department for Magical Law Enforcement.

Sirius found his cloak and said goodbye to Lily and Remus, kissing Harry on the forehead before he left.

They heard the front door shut and went to sit in the living room. Harry’s attention was immediately absorbed by the pile of toys that stayed there almost constantly. There was no point in tidying them up a lot of the time, as they would just have to be found again for him to play with. Remus collapsed into an armchair and now sat with his eyes closed. Lily, sat on the floor and playing with Harry, was sure he wasn’t actually asleep. She could see him smile slightly out of the corner of her eye whenever she had to tell Harry off for attacking the Christmas tree that they hadn’t taken down yet.

“I thought you said the potion worked?”

Remus opened his eyes. “It did – I’ve not come back with bite marks and cuts as long as my arm.”

“You normally come back like that?” Lily’s eyes widened. Remus had never gone into the details of his transformations with anyone – the others had only known because they had been there while it happened.

“Not always. That’s kind of the worst that can happen. Most of the time it’s a few scratches.”

Lily thought about this for a moment. She supposed it made sense: it wasn’t exactly in a werewolf’s nature to curl up and go to sleep so being isolated from anything else would result in one attacking itself.

“What did it actually do then? The potion?”

Remus didn’t answer straight away – he looked as if he was trying to think of the right way to phrase his explanation.

“Normally at the full moon, it’s not me. It takes over and I can’t remember anything. It’s pure animal. But last night… I kept my mind. I was still me, just in a different body, I suppose that’s what it’s like when someone’s an animagus. So I curled up and went to sleep. That’s why I was late back this morning –sorry. I woke when I was transforming back but drifted back to sleep.”

“And now you’re still tired?” Lily teased, making Remus laugh. “So it definitely helped?”

“Yes, it definitely helped. I don’t think it’s going to take that long to get used to.”

Lily went back to playing with Harry, letting Remus rest. He didn’t have long to rest, however. Harry soon got bored of his ‘quiet’ toys and found in the pile the small box and wand that Sirius had given him. The room was full of the howling, barking and grunting, and, no matter how hard Lily tried to distract Harry with other toys, he refused to give up the wand that controlled it.

Then, she heard a voice from behind her.

“Having trouble?”

Lily turned around guilty. Remus had his eyes open again and was fighting a smile.

“I’m sorry, I tried to get him to stop but he’s a stubborn little –”

“Lily, I’d have gone upstairs if I wanted quiet, wouldn’t I?”

“You were sleeping. I didn’t want to wake you.”

“I was failing at trying not to fall asleep, actually. Sleeping during the day messes with my body clock.”

“If you didn’t want to go to sleep you should have come down here and played with me and Harry,” Lily laughed. “He doesn’t give you much time for rest.”

He considered this point for a moment. Then, stretching, Remus climbed out of the chair and sat down on the floor next to Lily.
____________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #15  
Old January 3rd, 2011, 2:59 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
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Age: 25
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

I feel like I've really churned out the chapters this week Anyway, I figured I'm going back to college tomorrow so other people probably are and you might need something to cheer you up before you go back to school/college/universty/work/whatever so here's the next chapter. Enjoy!

Chapter 15

They played with Harry for the rest of the morning. Around midday, Lily began to worry about how long Sirius had been out, but she didn’t have long to worry. They heard the front door open and seconds later Sirius had sat down with them on the floor. He didn’t say anything, however. Lily and Remus looked at each other, and then at Sirius, curiously.

“How did it go?” asked Remus.

“Well… I’m still alive. Bellatrix was all for killing me there and then, but that would probably have got her arrested. Narcissa didn’t look too pleased either.”

“They were there and you didn’t get arrested?”

“Oh, very funny. I was outnumbered four to one, there was no way I was going to be the first to try something.”

“Who else was there?” Lily said.

“They took their idiot husbands, so Lucius Malfoy and Rodolphus Lestrange.”

Sirius didn’t say anything else. Lily sighed.

“Are we going to have to force what happened out of you, or are you actually going to tell us?”

“Why do you want to know what happened so badly?”

“I’m being nosy; your mum hated you, I want to know why she kept you in her will. And being stuck in this house makes me want to know every little bit of news I can get hold of.”

Sirius laughed and his apathetic mood left as quickly as if it had been Banished.

“Right. Not much happened, actually. I was the last one there and apparently the other four didn’t know I was going to be there so that was quite fun, watching Bellatrix splutter around for a minute. Once she’d finished, the Ministry guy got on with reading the will.”

“What did you get?”

“Give me a chance, Lily. I got the house.”

“What?!” Remus said, taken by surprise. “Your old house, you mean? But your mum hated you, why did she leave you the house?”

“No idea.” Sirius shrugged. “I’m the last Black left now, by name anyway. I suppose tradition is more important than me running away. I was thinking that if the place isn’t rigged with booby traps and we put some more security charms on it we could move out of here. I’m not a big fan of sleeping on chairs and sofas for the rest of my life and they’re plenty of rooms there. What do you think?”

“Are you serious?”

“Sure. Look, there’s no way I’m going to let Bellatrix or one of the others get it if it’s officially mine and I’m not going to live there alone.”

Sirius and Remus looked at Lily.

“Why are you looking at me?”

“It feels like it’s your decision. You’re the one still in hiding at any rate,” said Remus.

Lily thought about it for a minute. She had never properly unpacked and made headquarters her home, not wanting to feel tied to the place. But, no matter how hard she tried to fool herself, it had become a sort of home to her in that it was safe and comforting to be here. Despite that, Lily still thought of it as a temporary arrangement and it would be nice to live somewhere more permanent.

“As long as you don’t mind, Sirius, I think it’s a good idea to move out of here. We should see what Dumbledore says, though, and make sure all the security spells are done right.”

“Great,” Sirius grinned. “Oh, there’s probably something else you should know...”

Sirius raised his voice and said “Kreacher!”

With a loud crack a figure appeared in front of Sirius. Lily immediately grabbed Harry and pulled him close to her.

Lily guessed that it was a house elf, but it looked nothing like the two elves that Dumbledore had brought with him on Christmas day. Its skin looked as if it was several times too big for it and it was wearing nothing except for an old rag that was tied like a loin cloth around its middle. It had small watery grey eyes and tufts of white hair were starting to grow out of its ears.

“Kreacher won’t serve Master, no Kreacher won’t. Kreacher would rather work for Miss Bellatrix, yes, she didn’t besmirch the family name and run away, making friends with blood traitors and werewolves and mudbloods-”

“Oh, my,” Lily gasped.

“SHUT UP, KREACHER!”

The house elf – Kreacher – threw Sirius a disdainful look and promptly stopped talking, though Lily thought she could see it mouthing the insults instead of speaking them out loud.

“Are you still sure you want to move out of here?”

“You two can’t carry on taking turns sleeping on the sofa and I’d quite like to feel as if I have a real home again.”

Sirius raised his eyebrows at the last comment but accepted it. He checked his watch as a loud rumbling sound filled the room and he smirked guiltily, ordering Kreacher to make lunch.

“How come it took you nearly two hours at the Ministry?” Lily asked, finally letting go of Harry and he tottered over to Sirius, who picked him up and sat him on his knee.

“Bellatrix and Narcissa threw a paddy when they found out I got the house - apparently I’m not worthy of it. Never mind that I don’t actually want it, but I suppose it has come in useful now. They insisted on seeing if it was right and I had to summon the thing that’s in the other room.”

“They didn’t take it well then?” Remus asked, grinning.

“That’s one way to put it. They got a bit angrier when they found out that they hadn’t inherited anything. All those years of sucking up to her didn’t pay off.”

“Nothing?” Lily gasped.

“Nope. If you think about it, that’s a good thing. The less dark stuff they get their hands on the better.”

Kreacher came back into the living room then, carrying a platter piled high with sandwiches over his head. He placed it on the floor in front of Sirius, gave a low bow to him and left again, muttering as he walked back into the dining room.

“Where’s he going?” asked Lily.

“Probably to sulk in the kitchen,” said Sirius, picking up a sandwich.

The rest of the day was spent keeping Kreacher away from Harry, as the house elf started a habit of giving him side long glances and Lily didn’t trust Kreacher, and doing their best at cleaning the house ready for the Order meeting that evening. It was mostly Lily doing the cleaning – Sirius didn’t see the point in it and Remus was still tired.

The doorbell rang at half past seven, just as Lily finished putting Harry to bed. She answered the door on her way downstairs.

“Good evening, Lily,” Dedalus said, bouncing over the threshold.

“Evening, Dedalus.” Lily closed the door behind him. “You’re early.”

“Yes, Elphias came early to take over guarding your sister. You don’t mind, do you?”

“Not at all, how is Petunia?”

“She’s fine, I think she was having a bad day – didn’t seem to want to talk much.”

Lily had to bite her tongue to stop herself telling Dedalus that it was probably because he was there that Petunia was having a bad day. They entered the living room, interrupting Sirius and Remus’ conversation.

“I still think the Chudley Cannons made a big mistake letting Brennan Kerr go. He was their best chaser, they’ve got no – hello Dedalus.”

“Good evening all. I hope I find you well?”

Sirius and Remus assured him that they were fine and continued with their Quidditch conversation, which Dedalus joined in with. Lily zoned out. She had very little interest in Quidditch, only enjoying watching it, and she couldn’t understand why boys seemed to want to talk about the details of every transfer and gossiping about which players were supposed to be retiring at the end of the season.

By eight o’clock, the room was full of Order members and they all seemed to be following Sirius and Remus’ lead and talking about Quidditch, except for Dedalus and Emmeline Vance. When Emmeline had entered, she had sat next to Dedalus on the sofa and then engaged him in a private conversation. Lily watched them suspiciously for a while, until Emmeline looked over and saw her watching. Lily smiled slightly and looked away quickly, striking up a conversation with Alice Longbottom.

They all heard the door open again and Dumbledore entered the room with Minerva McGonagall. The room fell silent and the cheerful atmosphere quickly changed to one more business like as they all remembered why they were here.

“Good evening everybody. Shall we begin?” Dumbledore said. One by one, they all stood up and went into the dining room.

Everyone settled into chairs around the long, rectangular table with Dumbledore at the head. He had never insisted on this but everyone else felt it was right and by now it had become habit. Lily settled into a seat between Remus and Alice.

Dumbledore glanced around the table, taking in everyone’s faces over the top of his half-moon glasses.

“Where is Elphias?”

“He’s keeping guard at Arabella’s tonight. He said that he had nothing important to report but that he’d speak to you in the next few days,” said Dedalus.

Dumbledore nodded and then began the meeting properly.

“I think we’re all happy to know that there doesn’t seem to have been many attacks over Christmas. I believe that the Death Eaters targeted a family near Dunster yesterday, but they managed to get away without sustaining any permanent injuries.”

He looked towards Frank and Alice for confirmation.

“Yes, one of the sons received a nasty hex but they took him to St.Mungo’s and he had to stay in overnight,” Frank said.

“How come they didn’t bother attacking anyone over Christmas?” asked Remus, “I was a bit surprised there was no one at Godric’s Hollow, surely they thought we would be there?”

“Maybe they refused to work on Christmas,” Sirius said before Dumbledore could answer. “You know, so they could spend some time with their Death Eater families, celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that. Peace, love, joy... isn’t that what they stand for?”

They all laughed; even Minerva managed a smile.

“I think they didn’t try any attacks because they thought people might be expecting it,” said Dumbledore, returning to his serious manner. “The vast majority believes that Voldemort and the Death Eaters want to do them harm and there is a high likelihood that they would increase the number of security spells at Christmas to stop the Death Eaters getting in until they can get away, which is what happened to the family we have just been talking about. Or, in our case, they might have thought that they had frightened Lily enough to stay inside, with the attack on her sister.”

“Clearly they think that you only let cowards into the Order, then,” said Lily. Dumbledore smiled at her before continuing with the rest of the meeting.

He started going around the table after that, receiving reports off the members who were trailing Death Eaters. Lily shifted guiltily in her chair when he skipped over her, Remus and Sirius, feeling like a burden on them all as they weren’t helping fight Voldemort and the Death Eaters. He questioned Frank and Alice next, seeing what new information they had come across in the Auror office. From what they said, Dumbledore seemed to gather that there could be somewhere apart from wherever they were using as base that was central to the Death Eaters’ plans.

Finally, Dumbledore turned to Sirius.

“What happened at the Ministry this morning?”

Sirius launched into the story of what had happened, at which point there was a loud clanging sound from the kitchen and Kreacher crept slowly into the room, muttering about not wanting to serve a “nasty brat who broke his mother’s heart”. Sirius paused in the story to tell Kreacher to go back in the kitchen and leave them alone before resuming.

“... So I thought it could be a good idea if the four of us went to live at Grimmauld Place, instead of taking up space here. We thought we’d run it by you first,” finished Sirius.

Dumbledore considered it for a moment.

“I can’t see why not, Sirius. I think you would all probably be a lot more comfortable in a house where each of you could have your own bed. I would like to suggest that I have a look at the current security spells and add my own, if you don’t mind. I also think you should consider using the Fidelius Charm – I know you have had a bad experience with it, but if a trustworthy Secret Keeper is chosen, then – ”

“I’ll do it,” Sirius said. “It’s my house, I’m not likely to tell Voldemort where it is.”

“That’s settled then. Well, unless anyone has anything they would like to bring up...” No one spoke. “I think we’re finished. Goodnight everyone.”

They all said goodnight and stood up to leave. Dumbledore stayed behind, talking to Sirius about when he should have a look at the house. It didn’t take them long and, soon, the front door had closed for the last time.

“Dumbledore thinks he’ll be able to get away from Hogwarts tomorrow afternoon. We can go check out the house then,” said Sirius, collapsing onto the sofa next to Lily. Remus had sat down in an armchair and promptly fallen asleep.

“Bellatrix knows where the house is already though, right? How do you know she isn’t leading more Death Eaters in there now, so they can ambush us?” Lily asked.

“Because if it’s locked, which it is, you can’t get in no matter how hard you try without the key.” Sirius fished a small golden key out of his pocket and showed it to her.

They sat in silence for a while. It had been a busier day than Lily was used to and her eyelids were drooping. She rested her head on Sirius’ shoulder and he put his arm around her.

“Are you okay?”

Lily turned her head so she could just about see Sirius’ face.

“I’m fine. Why?” she said.

“Just checking.”

Lily sat up properly.

“Seriously, why did you want to know?”

“It’s nothing, really.” Lily continued to stare at him and he carried on. “It’s just that since Christmas you’ve been… I don’t know… better. I wondered if you were trying too hard.”

“I can’t keep living in the past,” sighed Lily. “Life goes on, Sirius.”

Lily went to bed not long after that. She knew why Sirius was worried; she hadn’t exactly shown everyone that she was coping before now. But since Lily had visited the grave and she’d finally dealt with James’ death properly, she had been doing her best to move on.

Life still wasn’t right, though. There was still that gaping hole in her heart – it felt slightly smaller now, but definitely there. There were still times when his name would come up in conversation and she would start smiling stupidly, like she always had. Most of all, there were still moments when she looked around, wanting to laugh and joke with James but realising too late that he would never be there again.

When Lily looked in the mirror, she saw only a shadow of the person she used to be. She wondered if she would ever go back to how she used to look, or turn into someone different, or even stay how she was now.

Lily wondered about a lot of things nowadays.

She lay in bed while these thoughts swam around her head. Lily knew there was no point in going downstairs tonight, Remus had been tired all day and probably wouldn’t wake until morning.

Eventually, Lily fell asleep. She dreamt that she was stood at the edge of a forest. A stag that was unmistakably James was making its way slowly into the depths of the forest and, no matter how hard she tried, Lily couldn’t follow it. She was frozen to the spot, watching the stag, and she didn’t scream or shout after it, to make it come back. She stood silently, allowing it to leave her.

When she awoke the next morning, Lily couldn’t remember the dream, but silent tears were running down her cheeks.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; January 6th, 2011 at 9:52 pm.
  #16  
Old January 25th, 2011, 7:28 pm
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Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
Location: England
Age: 25
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Hello again! Well, the brief hiatus is over and here's the next chapter. Not much else to say really except thanks to everyone who's been reviewing

Chapter 16

Lily sat on the sofa, scowling, while Harry played on the floor. Dumbledore had come, as promised, just after lunch so that Sirius could take him to Grimmauld Place to work on the security spells. Apparently everything involving Lily, Remus or Sirius leaving headquarters required meticulous planning and this had resulted in the four of them discussing the best way to go about the trip. Obviously Sirius and Dumbledore were to go, someone had to stay behind with Harry, and Dumbledore was insisting on someone to accompany them for added protection just in case Bellatrix showed up. This had led to a debate over whether Lily or Remus was to join them. It had transpired, however, that Lily was the only one arguing for her side.

“I’ll go with you,” she had said. “Remus is still exhausted from the full moon.”

“You want to leave Harry?” Sirius had asked.

“Remus will be here if anything happens. It’s not as if Death Eaters can get in anyway.”

“What if something happens to you three? I won’t be able to look after Harry if… you know.”

“But you’re still not feeling your best. Something’s less likely to happen if the three people who go are up to it.”

“However,” Dumbledore had started slowly, “it’s much more dangerous for Harry in general if you are seen to be out and about too much, Lily. Voldemort might believe you are becoming complacent and try another attack.”

And that was that: there was no arguing with Dumbledore.

The others were now sorting out minor details and getting ready to go, which Lily stubbornly refused to help with. She wasn’t really sulking about not being able to go, more that they had all ganged up on her and refused to let her go. She had been living in headquarters for two months now (although it felt like much longer) and she was beginning to feel like a burden on them all, especially considering that she wasn’t even going on missions. That she probably wouldn’t be doing missions anyway because of Harry didn’t really factor into Lily’s thoughts at the moment. Going out today would have at least gotten her out of the house and made her feel as if she was actually helping.

“We’ll be back as soon as we can, okay Lily?” Remus’ words interrupted Lily’s thoughts.

“Okay, have fun. Be careful.”

“Don’t worry about us, we’ve got Dumbledore. Look after Harry.”

Lily didn’t reply. After a moment she heard the front door shut and she was left alone with Harry. None of the other Order members were free this afternoon, which left Lily looking ahead to an empty few hours with nothing to fill them with. That was until Harry dropped the toys he had been playing with and looked up at her.

“Mummy.”

“What’s the matter, Harry?” Lily asked, climbing off the sofa and settling down next to him.

“Play.”

“You want me to play with you? Okay, what do you want to play?”

“Story.”

“You want me to read you a book?” Lily was surprised, Harry had never shown any interest in the books she had tried to read to him.

“No, story.”

Harry grabbed one of the cuddly toys and gave it to Lily, who now understood what he wanted. She stared at the toy hippogriff for a while trying to think of something. Then, Lily started the story, acting it out with the toys as she went.

“Once there was a hippogriff called Harry…”

It wasn’t long before Lily and Harry were surrounded by toys. Lily had made up a complicated story, the main plot involving Harry the hippogriff being an orphan and, once his true identity was revealed as a long lost prince, he had to go on a quest to save the princess who had been kidnapped by an evil sorcerer. To do this, the Harry had to go find an old wizard who lived in the forest and learn magic. When he finally arrived at the castle where the princess was being held, the old wizard turned out to be evil as well and it was really Harry that the evil sorcerer wanted and he had used the princess as bait.

“… And then the old wizard and evil sorcerer surrounded Harry so he couldn’t escape. They raised their wands, about to kill Harry, but - ” Lily reached behind her for the unicorn doll she had been using for the princess. “- the princess had regained consciousness and she raised her own wand. She bound the two evil men in chains and sent them down to live in the dungeons of the castle where they couldn’t escape. Harry and the princess went back to the city where they lived and got married and they all lived happily ever after.”

Harry clapped as the story finished.

“Aw, I missed story time with Lily!” A voice said.

Lily looked up. She hadn’t heard the front door open and now Sirius and Remus were entering the living room. Sirius grinned as he sat down in a chair.

“Can we have another because we missed the others?”

“Others?” Lily asked. “That was the only one. Where’s Dumbledore?”

“He had to get back to Hogwarts, apparently teenagers have a habit of wanting to stay out past curfew on New Year’s Eve. You told a story for two hours?”

“It was a very complicated story. It had interconnecting plotlines and everything.” She smiled. “How did it go at the house?”

“I don’t want it anymore,” said Sirius. Remus rolled his eyes.

“Why not?”

“Well, it needs quite a bit of cleaning anyway, but someone put a portrait up of mum in the hallway and it screams whenever you walk past it. We think they used a Permanent Sticking Charm.”

“Couldn’t you just knock the wall down?”

“Not that one, unless the neighbours want a smashed in wall as well. Anyway, the Black family home is at twelve Grimmauld Place.”

“I already know that,” frowned Lily.

“I’m the Secret Keeper - now you’ll actually be able to get in.”

“Right.”

A comfortable silence descended upon them. Lily picked up a toy and started playing quietly with Harry. Silences had become fairly common and it didn’t bother her anymore; when someone wanted to share their thoughts they would.

As was usual when these silences came upon them, it was Sirius who spoke first after only a few minutes of silence.

“When do you want to move out of here?” he asked.

Lily carried on playing with Harry. “I don’t know. Whenever’s best.” She looked up in time to see Sirius roll his eyes.

“That’s not really helpful, Lily.”

“Well what’s the rush? It’s not as if we’re actually busy.”

“I can’t be bothered sitting around here anymore!” Sirius blurted out angrily. Lily was taken aback – as was Remus by the shocked expression on his face.

“Well, when do you want to move?” Lily asked calmly, hoping that it would help Sirius calm down.

“What’s wrong with today?”

“Today? It’s past three o’clock – we’d have no time to sort anything out.”

“We’d have plenty of time. It wouldn’t take that long to move our stuff here to the house and then we’d only need to sort out the things we’d need for tonight.”

Lily just stared at him, still in shock at his outburst. Remus, however, was frowning.

“Why do you want to get out of here so badly, Sirius? You’re not even here most of the time, you’re at Figg’s, and you always hated your old home.”

Sirius didn’t answer right away. Instead, he stared down at his hands while Lily and Remus looked on curiously.

“I don’t like it here. It feels like we’re stuck in our own time loop and not moving out of it.” He glanced up at Lily as he said this.

Through the awkward metaphor, Lily understood what he was saying and was surprised that he felt that way. Now she thought about it, it was very self involved of Lily to think that Sirius had managed to move on. They had been best friends, and Lily had had no right to assume that he had been feeling any different than she had, just because he didn’t make his emotions as well known.

“Okay,” she said quietly. “Where do we start?”

Harry was put in his cot so he wouldn’t get in the way. Lily went around the house sending anything that was theirs down to the living room, where Sirius and Remus were sending it to the basement of Grimmauld Place by long-distance Banishing. The charm was a lot easier to do when you actually knew where the object was being sent, which was why that job had fallen to the two men.

Sirius had predicted correctly, and all of their things had been moved to Grimmauld Place in the space of an hour. Harry’s cot was the last thing to go and the house looked strangely empty without their clutter, even though it had been furnished before they had moved in.

The three of them congregated in the living room, with Lily carrying Harry. Sirius was bent over the coffee table scribbling on a piece of parchment. When he had finished, he tapped it with his wand and it immediately went blank.

“What’s that?” Lily asked.

“ A note to anyone who wonders where we’ve gone. I charmed it so only certain people can read it. I hope I remembered everyone. If anyone else tries to read it then… well, it’s not very pleasant.”

Lily laughed. “Only Order members are going to get in here anyway, you know.”

“You never know,” Sirius said darkly.

“Right, are we ready to go?” asked Remus. “Lily, we reckon Sirius should take Harry, because he’ll be able to Apparate straight onto the doorstep of the house and be under the protections. We don’t know if you’ll be able to do that if you’ve never been before so we’re Apparating to an alleyway just off the square.”

Lily nodded and passed Harry to Sirius. He led the way into the hallway and was about to open the front door when he suddenly stopped.

“Hold on,” Sirius said, turning round and going back into the living room.

“What - ?” asked Lily, but she was cut off by Sirius as he came back into the hall holding a piece of silvery material.

“Wear this –” He passed the Invisibility Cloak to Lily “- we don’t want the Muggles or anyone else seeing you by accident.”

“Right, we’ll see you in a few minutes.”

Sirius opened the front door and stepped onto the front step. Lily waved at Harry before Sirius turned on the spot and Disapparated.

“We might as well go under the cloak together,” Lily suggested to Remus. “That way we definitely won’t be seen.”

Remus agreed and Lily threw the cloak over them. She hadn’t used the cloak since leaving Hogwarts and it was a strange sensation being invisible with Remus huddled close to her instead of James. Remus had to bend his knees slightly so that their feet didn’t show and they exited the house awkwardly, pulling the door to a close behind them. Remus pulled out his wand and tapped it on the door. A faint click told them that it was locked.

Lily felt Remus grab her hand.

“Ready? On three,” he said. “One… Two… Three.”

In the brief pause before Remus had said “three”, Lily had closed her eyes. In that moment, she wasn’t on the front step of headquarters with Remus about to Disapparate, but was hundreds of miles away, sneaking back into Gryffindor tower with James. Then, Remus had said “three” and the illusion was broken.

She turned, feeling Remus beside her turn as well, and they were both swallowed by the suffocating darkness.

When Lily’s feet found substantial ground once more, the first thing she recognised was that Remus was still holding her hand. She immediately let go and took deep breaths, her mind trying to figure out what had happened just before they had Disapparated.

“Lily, are you okay?” Remus’ voice asked. Lily opened her eyes.

She was stood in a narrow alleyway. Weeds were growing up the side of the walls and somewhere a pipe was leaking; Lily could hear the constant drip, drip, drip. Remus was stood in front of her. He looked confused and worried.

“It’s nothing, I’m fine,” Lily whispered. Her brain was still swimming slightly after it had forced the memory on her, but she now had a firm sense of her surroundings and felt nothing but confusion as to why that particular memory had come to the forefront of her mind. “Come on, let’s go.”

They slowly walked out of the alley into the square. There was a patch of unkempt grass in the middle and the miserable fronts of the houses surrounding it were not welcoming. Lily would never have associated this place with the oh-so-grand Black family.

As they passed the houses, Lily looked out for number twelve. Most of them had paint peeling off the doors and one or two had a broken window, which the owners had not boarded up yet. A few of the houses didn’t even have numbers to identify them.

Remus stopped walking outside the grimiest looking house. Lily looked up and saw that it had the words “The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black” engraved in the stone above the door. The silver knocker on the battered wooden door was in the shape of a serpent.

Lily hesitated, but then sense caught up with her senses. The only dangerous thing waiting in there was the portrait of Sirius’ mum, and quite possibly Kreacher. She walked up the worn stone steps with Remus, and, as she got closer, she could hear shouting coming from the other side of the door.

When they reached the top step, Lily took the Cloak off them and slowly opened the front door.
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots

Last edited by gelowo93; January 26th, 2011 at 4:51 pm.
  #17  
Old January 30th, 2011, 4:01 pm
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gelowo93  Female.gif gelowo93 is offline
Fourth Year
 
Joined: 3224 days
Location: England
Age: 25
Posts: 660
Re: Learning to Live Again

Two chapters in a week? You lucky people.

Chapter 17

“SHAME OF MY FLESH! YOU’RE A DISGRACE TO THE FAMILY YOU-”

“-TWISTED OLD HAG! THE FIRST THING I’LL DO WHEN I GET YOUR DAMN PORTRAIT DOWN IS BURN IT!”

Lily was overwhelmed by the noise as she entered a long narrow hallway. Opposite her there was a staircase and along the walls there were oil lamps that illuminated the wallpaper that was starting to peel. The walls were almost completely covered by small dark portraits whose occupants shunned the bright light. The exception to this was the portrait at the foot of the staircase that Sirius was stood in front of.

It spanned the entire floor to ceiling with its ornate silver frame. The life-sized portrait showed an old woman with a black cap screaming – screaming as if her life depended on it. The pale yellow skin of her face was stretched taut as she did so and her dark eyes were rolling. It was the most realistic, and disgusting, portrait Lily had ever seen.

Sirius was still holding Harry while he shouted back at the portrait. Harry was crying at all the noise and struggling to break free of Sirius’ grip, who didn’t appear to notice but was holding on tightly anyway. As Lily’s ears adjusted to the din, she saw Kreacher sneak around a corner into sight and attempt to defend the portrait.

Remus closed the door behind them as Lily rushed forwards to grab Harry off Sirius.

“SHUT UP, YOU OLD COW, OR I’LL – oh, hey, Lily.”

He passed Harry to her and was about to pull out his wand and turn on the portrait when a flash of light streaked past them and it fell silent. Lily looked over her shoulder and saw Remus making his way towards them with his wand out. He shrugged at their surprised looks.

“I wanted to see what would happen if someone tried to Stun it. It worked.”

Before either Lily or Sirius could comment, Kreacher spoke.

“Filthy dark creature, attacking mistress’ portrait –”

Sirius turned on the house elf.

“Before I forget, you are forbidden to call Remus ‘dark creature’, or Lily a ‘mudblood’, or – or insult them or Harry in any way. Understood?”

Kreacher narrowed his eyes at Sirius, gave him a curt nod, and then slowly made his way up the stairs. He did this without taking his eyes off Sirius once, who glared back until Kreacher was out of sight.

“Come on,” Sirius muttered, “everything’s in the basement.”

He led them around the corner to a door that opened out to reveal a set of stone steps. Lily and Remus followed him down the steps and into a cavernous basement. There was a fireplace at the far end and two doors that looked as if they led to small cupboards. Taking up the majority of the room was the pile of their belongings. Lily groaned at the size of it.

“Well, we might as well get started,” she said. Sirius raised an eyebrow, appraising the huge amount of things they had to find homes for.

“Nah, I can give you the tour first.” Without further ado, he turned his back on the pile and made his way back upstairs. Lily laughed.

“You know we’ll have to do it sometime, right?”

“Actually, if you just take the things out as you need them, then we’ll never have to just sort it all out,” said Remus.

“That’d be a great idea, Remus. If only we didn’t need to use the basement to cook food tonight,” Lily said over her shoulder to him, following Sirius back up the stairs.

“Oh, yeah.”

They reached the top of the stairs. Sirius opened the door slightly, looking out into the hall, then turned and put a finger to his lips. Lily nodded to show that she understood. Sirius opened the door wider and walked out into the hall with Lily and Remus behind him.

He led them back around the corner and past the portrait of the woman, who, Lily saw, was now asleep, her chest moving up and down with her breathing. Sirius opened a door on the right and disappeared into the room beyond it. Once they were all in, he shut the door.

The room they had entered had windows looking out onto the square in front of the house. A long table cut the room in half and a dresser was pushed against a wall, on top of which stood various china plates.

“This is the dining room,” said Sirius. He glanced around the room, but stopped when he saw the china on the dresser. “They’re going to go.”

“So that’s your mum’s portrait, the china … is there anything else that needs to be added to the list of things to thrown out yet?” Remus asked, smiling slightly.

“That portrait is of your mum?” Lily was in shock.

“Yes, she was always a lovely woman.” Sirius’ voice dripped with sarcasm. “We’re just going to have to be quiet in the hallway until I figure out a way to get it down. There’s nothing really interesting in here – I’ll show you the parlour.”

The three of them tip-toed across the hall into the parlour, and Sirius showed them the hidden door from there into the private study. After that, they went upstairs, making sure they were as quiet as possible in the hall. Lily almost screamed when she felt something brush against her on the stairs, and again when she realised that the thing that had touched her was a house elf head. Fortunately, in both cases she managed to stifle her scream, but it was a close call. They made their way through the house with Sirius pointing out what each room was, finishing on the third floor.

“What’s upstairs?” said Lily, pointing up another flight of stairs.

“Just the attic, my room and Regulus’ room. We don’t have to go up there – it’s nothing special.” Sirius said all of this very quickly.

“But now I’m curious why you won’t let us up. Here, hold Harry. My arms are starting to ache.” Sirius took Harry off her and she began climbing the stairs.

“Really, Lily.” Sirius sounded mockingly disappointed in her, but she could still hear him following her up the stairs.

When she reached the landing, Lily looked around. The door in front of her bore a plaque that read Sirius. She pushed the door open and walked into the room.

Everything in the spacious bedroom was covered with a fine layer of dust. Lily guessed that no one had entered since Sirius had left all those years ago. The wardrobe’s doors were open and discarded robes spilled out of them. Various other objects of little importance were littered on the floor: quills, parchment, odd chess pieces and a smashed ink bottle were just some of the items contributing to the mess. The wallpaper was some sort of silver-grey silk, though not a lot of it was visible.

Sirius had covered nearly every inch of the walls with posters. Large Gryffindor banners hung from all four walls and any space not covered by them was taken up by posters of Muggle motorcycles or (more frequently) bikini-clad Muggle women. Out of the corner of her eye, Lily saw something moving, and she spotted the only Wizarding photograph in the room.

The dust prevented Lily from seeing what it was of. She walked over to it and rubbed the dust off with her sleeve. Her heart jumped a little in her chest as she recognised the photograph. Lily had taken it herself, at the end of their fifth year at Hogwarts, after being persuaded to do so by James with the promise that he would do her holiday homework for her. She had laughed it off, saying that she didn’t need anyone to do her homework for her, but had grabbed the camera anyway and taken the photograph. The four boys in the image were stood, arm in arm, laughing, without a care in the world. How things had changed, Lily thought.

She could have been watching the photo for a minute or an hour – Lily wouldn’t have known. Someone cleared their throat behind her, which broke her out of her reverie. Lily looked around and saw Sirius and Remus stood in the doorway. With a sort of aching in her heart, Lily turned away from the photo.

“Nice décor. I’m sure your parents really appreciated it,” she said, grinning. Sirius laughed humourlessly.

“They used to take them all down every time I went back to school. That was until I realised that with all the magic going on around here the Ministry couldn’t tell whether I was doing magic or not, so I put Permanent Sticking Charms on the lot. I think they stopped coming up here altogether then.” Sirius looked around the room. “Let’s go back downstairs and start sorting that stuff out then if we’re going to need to use the kitchen.”

They didn’t make much progress on their pile of possessions in the basement. It was nearly time to start making dinner by the time they got back down there and the three of them were too hungry to bother finding places to put all of the things. In the end, they just took the things they would need that night and in the morning, and then sent the rest to the dining room upstairs.

Lily was now sat at the long table with Sirius, who was leaning backwards on his chair so it was on two legs, waiting for Remus to finish cooking. Harry’s high chair had been set up next to the table and he was sat in it, playing with the toy Sirius had made him for Christmas. Somehow, it always managed to be the first toy played with when Sirius was around and it also seemed to be Harry’s favourite. Lily didn’t mind; it kept them both quiet, even if a consequence of that was Sirius’ head becoming more and more inflated by the day.

It wasn’t long before Remus had finished cooking and the plates piled with spaghetti Bolognese were placed in front of them all. Just the smell of it made Lily’s mouth water.

“This looks amazing, Remus,” she said, before tucking into it.

They ate in silence for a while. Lily had to try to feed Harry in between mouthfuls, which proved difficult as a solo job and, in the end, she had Sirius and Remus helping.

“Here comes the flying Death Eater,” said Remus, as he flew the fork around before finally ‘landing’ it in Harry’s mouth. Sirius laughed.

“You can’t say he isn’t helping the cause,” he said, and then looked at Lily. “Is he staying up tonight with us?”

“No, I’m trying to be a good mum.” Lily rolled her eyes. “There’s no way he’s staying up tonight - he doesn’t even know it’s new years! And he’d be grouchy all day tomorrow if he did, I don’t want to have to deal with that when I’m sleep deprived.”

“Don’t forget the hangover,” Sirius smirked.

Sirius kept trying to persuade Lily to let Harry stay up with them to see in the New Year, but she didn’t give in. She went to put him to bed at half seven in one of the bedrooms on the second floor that they had decided he could have. Lily was reluctant at first, but Remus and Sirius had persuaded her that he should get used to sleeping on his own again.

“Goodnight, Harry.” She kissed him on the cheek and waved her wand to extinguish the lights.

Lily quietly made her way back downstairs and into the parlour. Sirius was attempting to engage Remus in conversation, but Remus didn’t seem too interested. He was answering Sirius’ questions with short answers that added nothing to the conversation.

“I don’t know what it could be, Sirius. It could be anything.”

“Exactly, it could be anything. What do you think, Lily?”

Lily sat down in one of the armchairs. “What are we talking about?”

“The thing Dumbledore mentioned in the meeting yesterday. He said that the Death Eaters probably had somewhere apart from their headquarters, what do you reckon it is?”

“I don’t know, it could be anything.” Lily laughed at Sirius’ annoyed expression. “Do we even know where it is?”

“You think what it is depends on where it is?”

“I think there’s too much about it that we don’t know to start speculating on what they’re doing there. It could just be a prison for their hostages or somewhere where they’re developing some new evil weapon. Are we really going to talk about Order stuff? It’s New Years Eve!”

“I suppose not. I was just curious.”

“You’re always curious, Sirius,” Remus said. “Remember that time you wanted to see what happened when a werewolf transformed?”

“That wasn’t why we did it! You know that wasn’t why, and I must have only said that once.”

“I think it was one of the many times I caught you looking at animagus books.”

“You didn’t catch us that many times,” Sirius scoffed.

“I did, though,” said Lily. “’We’re just looking at the theory’ – you lot were the only people I wouldn’t believe that excuse off. Especially when you were speaking very loudly about how something hadn’t worked.”

“Hey, this isn’t a ‘poke fun at Sirius’ festival. I always made sure no one could hear me.”

“That was just as suspicious. There was nothing you could do that would make looking at animagus books innocent.”

“Okay, I’m not having fun now. Everyone’s supposed to have fun on New Years Eve and I’m not.”

“What do you want to do then?” Remus was suppressing a smile.

Sirius looked around the room. There wasn’t much in here: the sofa and armchairs surrounded three sides of a coffee table with a fireplace along the other; along the back wall was a bookcase (which was the secret entrance to the study); nearby there was another table against a wall with chairs pushed under it. Behind the door to the hallway was a cabinet with cupboard doors made of glass and a few drawers beneath them. It was this that Sirius’ eyes landed on.

“Have you ever used a Transfig-Orb, Lily?” he asked, his face breaking out into an evil grin. Lily glanced over at Remus, who was smiling.

“No,” Lily said slowly, “what is it?”

Sirius had jumped out of his chair and was now rummaging in one of the drawers of the cabinet.

“I don’t even know why we had one, really. Some ancestor of mine must have actually had a sense of fun that got lost somewhere. It’s like an orb and you have to transfigure it – aha!”

Sirius pulled out what looked like a grey lump of clay. It was about the same size as a football and Lily would have thought it completely inconspicuous if it had not been emitting a faint pulsing glow. Sirius tapped it with his wand and it flew out of his hand, resting in mid air at eye level.

“You take turns transfiguring or charming it in some way and every now and again it’ll sort of explode and change something in the room so that it’s the same as the Orb,” he explained. “I stole it once and took it to school, we’d mess around with it in our dorm. I can’t believe you haven’t used one, Lily.”

“Muggle-born,” Lily said, rolling her eyes. “Is there a winner, or…?”

“The winner is the person at the end who hasn’t been hit by the Orb. How about it then?”
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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #18  
Old February 3rd, 2011, 6:56 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

New chapter I really didn't mean for it to get so angsty at the end but it just sort of ended up like that. Hope you like it anyway.

Chapter 18

Lily, Remus and Sirius were still transfiguring the Orb hours later. It had gone from grey to black and white with flowers growing out of it, to gold and cube shaped, to tartan with waving green tentacles and to many more. Around nine o’clock, Sirius went to get a bottle of wine out of the cabinet, which had been one of the first things to be hit by the Orb. Sirius had fought with the tentacles growing out of it that wouldn’t let him open the cupboard doors and had ended up severing them. Now, after several drinks each, their aim was slightly awry and some of their spells were missing the Orb entirely, hitting the things behind it. Sirius was especially prone to this and Lily (who was sat opposite him) had to keep ducking to avoid being hit in the face.

Lily had just turned the Orb yellow so that it looked like a cartoon sun with the large pair of eyes Remus had constructed on it. With a flick of his wand, Sirius covered it with long spindly legs. The Orb glowed brighter for a second, giving them all a moments notice and Lily ducked just as it sent a jet of light her way. It missed her, but seconds later Lily could feel the long legs moving beneath her and against her back. She shrieked and immediately leaped off her chair and onto the sofa, almost squashing Remus. He and Sirius roared with laughter while Lily settled herself down with considerably more dignity onto the layer of grass that the sofa had grown. She looked over to the chair she had just vacated and saw that the legs covered it, and it had also grown the pair of eyes on the chair back and turned bright yellow.

It took Remus and Sirius a while to calm down enough to continue the game. Once they had done so, they managed to get through another few rounds without any casualties. Lily paused on her turn, running out of ideas. She stared at the chair with its rolling eyes, trying to think. Suddenly, an idea came to her and she flicked her wand at the now Puffskein-like Orb. It grew a massive pair of red lips.

“Nice,” Remus said approvingly. The sight of the enormous lips seemed to have reminded Sirius of something incredibly important because he cried, “Oh, no!”

“What’s the matter?” Remus asked.

“There’s three of us, that means someone’s going to have to go without a kiss at midnight.” Sirius looked devastated by this knowledge.

“No, it’s okay,” reassured Remus. “Lily will kiss both of us. Problem solved.”

“Hang on, don’t I get a say in this? What if I don’t want to kiss either of you?”

Remus and Sirius turned to look at her with what she supposed were puppy-dog eyes, except in Sirius’ case he actually turned into a dog. Lily laughed at their drunken attempts to look cute.

“Fine,” she said. Sirius transformed back into a human, but Lily hadn’t finished. “I’ll kiss both of you, if you two kiss.”

Lily watched, amused, as they eyed each other up. She could almost hear their brains working, trying to work out whether it would be worth it. After a minute or so, Sirius nodded.

“Okay,” he said slowly, “but this doesn’t leave this room. And no tongues,” he added.

“Deal.” Remus still looked dubious about the whole thing. He turned away from Sirius and said to Lily in a business-like tone, “We need to decide who you’ll kiss first.”

“Does it really matter?”

“Yes, it’s an important decision,” Sirius agreed. “How about the first person to be hit by the Orb doesn’t get the first kiss?”

“What if I get hit?”

“It’s the person after that. Does that sound fair?”

They all agreed and went back to transfiguring the Orb. Lily had just cleared all the other enchantments off it and turned it into a disco ball when it shone brightly again. This time, the jet of light was aimed at Sirius and, as his reflexes were significantly slower than they were when he was sober, it hit him straight on the nose. His skin immediately turned silvery and reflective.

“This really isn’t that comfortable,” Sirius said, but Lily could barely him; her and Remus were laughing too hard.

Sirius didn’t join in with the laughter, he just sat there with a murderous look on his face until Lily and Remus quietened down. However, that took a long time because every time Lily calmed down, she’d look up, see Sirius’ face and burst out laughing again. Eventually, they stopped laughing enough for Remus to speak,

“That’s settled then, I get the first kiss.”

“Is that really all you two think about?”

“Yes,” Sirius and Remus answered at the same time.

They continued playing, with Sirius as a living disco ball, until nearly midnight. By this time, Remus had become more amused at lighting his wand and pointing it at Sirius. The light reflected off Sirius’ head and onto the walls and ceiling, shimmering every time he moved.

After a few minutes of this, there was a loud crash, making them all jump in their seats. They all looked around to see what had caused the noise and saw that the Transfig-Orb had fallen to the floor. Lily watched it return to its original form and begin glowing faintly again.

“It must give up after a bit if you stop using it,” Remus reasoned.

“When do the rest of the enchantments wear off?” Lily asked, staring around the parlour. The rest of the objects still wore their enchantments; possibly the eeriest was the chair with its eyes, which flickered rapidly around the room.

“In about half an hour or so.”

“Great,” said Remus, and he lit his wand again, pointing it at Sirius’ face. Specks of light appeared on the walls and ceiling again.

Sirius wasn’t amused by this and tried to divert the attention to a radio that he had found earlier. He switched it on and the booming voice of Otto Bagman filled the room.

- Now less than five minutes to the New Year, everyone.” He paused, allowing a crowd to cheer. “And to help me bring us into 1982, is none other than the man who plays beater for the Wimbourne Wasps and England’s Quidditch team, and is my own brother, Ludo Bagman!” More cheering. “Welcome, Ludo.”

Hi, Otto.

Wow, the crowd has just gone crazy, Ludo, completely crazy.

Oh, I usually have that affect on people-” He laughed. “It’s great being here, it’s a great atmosphere. There’s no better way to bring in the New Year!

We didn’t even have to pay him to say that, folks. Now, Ludo, it’s a big year this year for you, isn’t it?

It sure is, Otto. We’ve got the World Cup in Japan this summer and –

“Ugh, I hate him,” Sirius said loudly. “Just because he’s the best beater in the country he thinks he’s better than the rest of us.”

“True that,” agreed Remus.

“I bet he’s an arrogant little –”

“Shut up you two, we’ll miss the countdown.”

“Sorry, Mum.”

“Don’t even go there, Sirius. Do you remember what happened last time we duelled?”

“Ha, I let you win that time,” Sirius scoffed.

“Whatever, you just don’t want to admit that you lost.”

“What was that you said about missing the countdown, Lily?” asked Remus with a smirk.

“- There’s now less than thirty seconds to the New Year. Okay everyone, we’re going to ask you to help us out with the countdown … Here we go: ten! … Nine! … Eight!” The crowd shouted with Otto and Ludo.

“Aren’t we supposed to have champagne at midnight?” said Lily. The other two shrugged.

“It’s too late now.”

“-Three! … Two! … One! … Happy New Year everybody!

Cheering and the sound of fireworks going off came from the radio. Lily leaned across the sofa, kissing Remus on the cheek.

“Happy New Year, Moony.”

“Happy New Year.”

“Aw, is that all we get? I was hoping for a proper snog,” Sirius teased. He got up from his chair and squeezed in between Lily and Remus on the sofa, puckering his metallic lips.

“I’m sorry to disappoint you.” Lily kissed him on the cheek. “Happy New Year.”

“Happy New Year,” Sirius grumbled, then turned to Remus. “Come on, then, let’s get this over with.”

“Happy New Year, Padfoot.”

“Yeah, whatever.”

They both looked vaguely disgusted as they leaned towards each other. Lily watched, silently laughing. She could see Remus scrunch up his face and their lips met very briefly. In less than a second, it was over. They both pulled away, pretending to gag.

“You know, they say that the way you start the New Year is how it’ll be,” said Lily, failing to keep a straight face. Sirius and Remus looked at her and she immediately thought that, if looks could kill, she’d be dead several times over.

“If we find out that you’ve told anyone about this,” Sirius said, and Remus was nodding his head vigorously behind him, “then we’ll – we’ll –”

“Oh come on, I won’t tell anyone if you don’t want me too. At any rate, we probably won’t remember it in the morning.” Lily’s eyes rested on the three empty wine bottles on the table.

“I don’t know about that, I’m traumatised,” said Remus. “I’ll be having flashbacks to it for the rest of my life.”

“And you’re clearly not drunk enough, Lily,” Sirius said, swaying slightly as he got up and went to get another bottle. On his way, he passed the radio, which was playing an awful song that Lily thought was by Celestina Warbeck. He turned it off with a tap of his wand. “If you can say that you won’t remember something then you almost certainly will. It’s the first rule of alcohol.”

“There are more rules of alcohol?”

“Sure.” Sirius tapped the cork in the bottle with his wand and it flew out. He began pouring the wine into their glasses. “It’s just basic stuff, really. No matter how much you’ve had to drink you still can’t hit on your friend’s girlfriend, don’t mix drinks, because no one else wants to be cleaning up your sick -”

“We only had to add that one because of you,” Remus pointed out.

“How did you lot even get the alcohol at school?” asked Lily.

“What are you talking about? You were there half the time in seventh year!” Sirius handed them all their glasses back and sat down on the armchair that didn’t still have legs coming out of it.

“I know I was drinking it, but you refused to tell me how you were getting it. I don’t suppose the house elves gave it you?”

“No, did they heck. Two of us would sneak out into Hogsmeade under the Cloak and Aberforth would provide us with our drinks.”

Lily was momentarily stunned at this; it was one of the stupidest things she’d ever heard.

“How was that ever going to be a good plan?”

“What do you mean? We never got caught!”

Lily laughed.

“Aberforth is Dumbledore’s brother! You don’t think he’d tell him when a bunch of students were sneaking out for alcohol?”

Remus and Sirius stared at her in silence. Remus, who’d raised his glass to his lips to take a drink, slowly lowered it again. After a moment, Sirius shrugged.

“We still never got caught.”

“You’re the biggest bunch of idiots I’ve ever met.”

“There’s only two of us here, Lily. I don’t think that classifies as a ‘bunch’,” Remus said quietly.

His words were met with silence. Lily blinked and looked around, as if realising for the first time that it was only the three of them in the room, and it would only be the three of them ever again. She had been cheerful and having fun mere seconds ago, but Remus’ words had sobered her up almost immediately.

“Right,” she said numbly.

Sirius raised his glass and downed the drink in one go.

“How did we get to this?” he asked nobody in particular. “This wasn’t supposed to happen, we shouldn’t be here! We were supposed to be at your place-” He nodded in Lily’s direction. “- In Godric’s Hollow. It was going to be the five of us, we’d been talking about it.”

No one else spoke, just letting Sirius’ words wash over them. His voice was full of anger, but beneath that, the pain and anguish could be heard as raw as they had been when he had stormed into headquarters that night. Sirius carried on talking, not caring that nobody was listening.

“Stop it, Sirius.” Lily spoke in a pause in his monologue. “I don’t want to listen to this. It was your idea to move here, just stop it.”

“Why? I don’t want to forget about him, why do you? It’s not fair, Lily!”

Lily pushed back the tears that were threatening to overflow, but when she spoke again, her voice shook.

“I-I know it’s not fair. And I’m not forgetting about him, I just –”

Various loud pops interrupted her. Around them, the enchantments left over from the Transfig-Orb vanished. The grass on the sofa retracted back into it, the eyes and legs on the armchair disappeared, other mutations vanished and objects returned to their usual colours. Sirius’ skin went from silver and metallic to its regular pale flesh. He stood up and stalked out of the room, leaving Remus and Lily behind, stunned.

“I’ll make sure he doesn’t do anything stupid,” Remus said. He rushed out into the hallway and then Lily was left alone.

She put her wine glass on the coffee table and buried her face in her hands. But she didn’t cry. Lily sat like that for a while, wrapped up in her thoughts. No, it wasn’t fair, and she did still miss James terribly, it just wasn’t at the forefront of her mind all the time anymore. Was Sirius really upset about that? That she seemed to have forgotten about her husband?

Lily heard the door open and looked up. Remus was stood there, looking at her warily. He seemed to have decided that it was okay to approach her as he came over to sit beside Lily.

“He’s gone up to his room. At least, the door was locked and I could hear someone in there.”

Lily nodded once.

“You don’t think it’s weird,” she started tentatively, “that I don’t want to dwell on it all the time?”

“I think that was the drink talking, not Sirius. He had more than either of us. But no,” said Remus, “I don’t think that it’s weird. James wouldn’t want you to be sat here moping about it.”

“He would a bit.” Lily attempted a smile, but it didn’t feel right. Remus’ lips twitched. Lily took a deep breath, realising as she did so that her eyelids were drooping and she was exhausted. “I’m going to go to bed. Don’t want to have to be up early with Harry with only a few hours sleep.”

She stood up, and nearly fell back down on the sofa. Remus caught her and helped Lily right herself.

“I’ll help you up there.”

“No, I’m fine. You don’t have to take me up.”

“I might as well go up now, anyway. No point in staying down here on my own.”

Despite Lily’s assurances that she didn’t need help getting up the stairs, she really did feel unsteady on her feet and allowed Remus to put an arm around her as they made their way up. They didn’t speak on their way to the second floor, for fear that they would wake up the portrait of Sirius’ mum.

Remus took Lily right to the door of the bedroom she had chosen because it was on the same floor as Harry’s. He let go of her but Lily put her arms back around him, hugging him.

“I’m sorry,” Remus said.

“What for?”

“Ruining the evening.”

Lily shook her head. “It wasn’t your fault. ‘Night.”

“ ‘Night.”
___________________________________________

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Learning to Live AgainOne shots
  #19  
Old February 15th, 2011, 10:52 pm
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Fourth Year
 
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Age: 25
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Re: Learning to Live Again

New chapter I don't have much to say except look at the pretty new star under my post count Yeah, I'm not amused by little things at all

Chapter 19

When Lily awoke the next morning, the first thing she recognised was that her head felt as if it was being attacked by a rampant erumpent. The next thing she felt was panic, as she didn’t recognise her surroundings: the large four poster bed she was in, the green wallpaper and silver chandelier hanging exactly in the centre of the room. It was a moment before Lily’s sense caught up with her senses. She hadn’t spent much time in the room the previous day and when she had come up to go to bed she hadn’t paid much attention to her surroundings, so it wasn’t much of a surprise that she had panicked. Now, with sunlight illuminating the room through the curtains, she could see the sparsely decorated room in detail.

Vague memories of the previous night (or that morning) drifted into Lily’s mind and she groaned. Each one made her head pound harder and she screwed up her eyes against the pain. Lily sat up, groaning as the pain intensified.

Great, she thought bitterly, this was going to be a fun day.

Lily slowly got dressed, doing her best to not make her headache worse. A quick look in the mirror made it clear that there wasn’t any point in trying to make herself look decent: her auburn hair looked as if she had been swung around on one of the Whomping Willow’s branches in her sleep and there were dark circles beneath her eyes. Then she quietly – ever so quietly – made her way downstairs. Someone had already Stunned the portrait of Sirius’ mother at the foot of the stairs and Lily was eternally grateful to whomever it was. She did not need a crazy portrait screeching at her when her head felt as if it might explode and leave bits of brains all over the hallway.

As she made her way down to basement, Lily could hear voices: one was being very noisy and the other seemed to be attempting to quieten the first.

“No breka!”

“Ssh Harry. You don’t have to be this loud. Be a good boy.”

“No breka!”

“You’ve got to have breakfast. Please be quiet, Harry.”

“No breka!”

Lily reached the bottom of the stairs. Remus was sat at the table trying to feed Harry breakfast. He looked up as Lily was making her way towards the table and mouthed “Morning.”

“I feel like my head’s going to explode. I swear, I’m never going to drink again,” whispered Lily, taking a piece of toast off the pile on a plate in the middle of the table. “Thanks for getting Harry up. How long have you been awake?”

“No problem,” Remus said, equally quiet. “About an hour. When I was coming down I heard Harry shouting in his room. I’m surprised you didn’t hear him and wake up.”

“I slept like a rock last night. Apparently it wasn’t enough – I still look like the living dead.”

Remus smiled slightly and went back to trying to make Harry eat some toast.

Lily absentmindedly ripped her slice into pieces. She let Harry’s refusals to eat wash over her and did her best at staying awake. She wasn’t very good at it. Lily’s eyes had fluttered shut so that all she knew was the pain in her head and the blurred together voices of Remus and Harry.

After a few minutes of this, Lily heard Remus give a particularly loud huff and she forced her eyes to open.

The plate of toast was now next to Harry, except that it didn’t have toast on it anymore. It looked as if he had taken each slice, ripped it into pieces and thrown them on the floor. Remus was sat back in his chair, rubbing his eyes and temples, and muttering under his breath. Harry picked up the last slice of toast and was ready to tear it in half.

“Stop it, Harry,” said Lily. There must have been some sort of authority in her voice because Harry stopped and looked up at her. “Mummy and Uncle Remus are tired and have headaches, so please can you behave today? That means eating the food you’re given and not throwing it around.”

Lily picked her wand out of the pocket of her robes and pointed it at the various pieces of toast on the floor. They zoomed across the room and dropped into the bin. Lily moved her chair so that she was closer to Harry, took the slice of toast he held in his hands and ripped it into smaller pieces, giving them to Harry one by one for him to eat, which he did so without making a sound. Under normal circumstances, Lily would have been stunned to see Harry do what he was told, but in her sleep-deprived state, she was concentrating too hard on staying awake and trying not to focus too much on her pounding head.

“Good boy, Harry,” she said when Harry had eaten all the toast.

“I still don’t know how you do it, Lily,” said Remus. He had watched in amazement while Harry had eaten quietly.

“Practice. And luck.” Lily laughed silently. “Sometimes he does what he’s told and sometimes he doesn’t. I think you just happen to try to make him behave when he doesn’t want to. Or he actually listens to me, who knows?”

Remus was about to speak when there was a sudden eruption of noise above them. A combination of nonsense screeching and various swear words shouted as loud as possible reached their ears.

“Oh no,” Lily said, covering her ears with her hands and Remus did the same. It didn’t help much: Lily could still hear the shouting through the ceiling and it had upset Harry, who was now crying. She awkwardly tried to pick Harry up and put him on her knee while keeping both of her ears covered. Lily just about managed it, tilting her head to one side so that her ear was pressed against her shoulder gave her one free hand, which she was able to use to pick Harry up and stop him falling while she bounced him on her knee, trying to calm him down.

The shouting became louder for a second, before the slam of a door told Lily that someone had opened the door at the top of the basement stairs and was making their way down.

Sirius appeared at the bottom of the stone steps, looking much worse for wear than Lily did. His pale face was even whiter, which made the dark circles below his eyes more pronounced and the usually smooth black hair was tangled and knotted. He looked as if he’d had to fight a hundred dementors on his way down to breakfast, as well as his mother’s portrait. Sirius also had his hands covering his ears and was muttering unintelligible curses.

“Rough night?” asked Remus. Sirius flinched like he’d been punched.

“Need water.” Sirius’ voice was hoarse. He made himself a glass of water and sat down at the table, taking sips occasionally.

“Sirius, you look terrible, are you sure you shouldn’t still be in bed?” Lily asked. She tentatively took her hand away from her ear, checking to see if the noise upstairs had died down. It was quieter now, but the portrait could still be heard distantly.

“My bedroom smells of puke,” he said. This was met with silence. Lily didn’t really know what to say that wouldn’t sound inappropriate or heartless. There was some part of her that thought he deserved it after shouting last night, but there was a larger part that was looking at the man in front of her who looked as if he would never be able to smile again.

“Couldn’t you get Kreacher to clean it up?” Remus said.

“Where is Kreacher?” asked Lily, suddenly realising that she hadn’t seen him since the previous day when they had arrived.

“Sulking in the attic – that’s another reason I didn’t sleep well,” Sirius said faintly. “But that is a brilliant idea, Moony. Kreacher!”

A loud crack announced Kreacher’s entrance and it made the three adults flinch slightly. The house elf narrowed its eyes and started mouthing insults that Lily could only guess at. He soon stopped, looked up at Sirius and said “What does Master wish poor Kreacher to do? Ungrateful vermin that he is…”

Sirius ignored Kreacher’s last remark. “I need you to clean my bedroom so that it doesn’t smell disgusting. If I find out that you’ve thrown any of my things away then I’ll … I’ll … I’ll think of some worthy punishment when I’m feeling better.” Sirius turned slightly green and rested his head on the table.

“Yes Master, whatever Master wishes.” Kreacher gave him a low bow and disappeared with another crack.

“Ungh,” Sirius said.

Lily and Remus looked at each other over the top of Sirius’ head.

The rest of that day was spent avoiding loud noises and making sure there was a bucket nearby when Sirius sat up suddenly. Any tidying up of the house that needed to be done was once again ignored as much as possible and the pile of things in the dining room was left to gather dust for another day. They all went to bed early that evening, being too tired and ill to stay up much later than Harry’s usual bedtime.

Lily awoke the next morning without a headache and feeling much more refreshed because of it. Unfortunately, that meant that, despite having started tidying the house, she wasn’t tired enough to sleep that night. Lily tossed and turned, trying to make herself comfortable in the large bed, but to no avail. It didn’t help that nonsense thoughts kept running around her head, things like which robes she should wear tomorrow and how they were going to get down all the things that had been stuck onto the walls of the house with Permanent Sticking Charms. Eventually, Lily gave up. She got out of bed, put on her dressing gown and made her way across the landing to the room where Harry slept.

She quietly opened the door and pressed it shut. There was barely enough light in the room for Lily to see; a strip of moonlight fell on the wall opposite the window where the curtains hadn’t been closed properly. She managed to carefully walk towards the chair beside Harry’s cot and sit down in it.

Lily could just about make out Harry’s outline through the gloom. She reached her arm into the cot to tuck the sheets around him, as they had become loose while he slept. Her hand lingered in the cot, stroking Harry’s hair with the back of it.

His gentle snores punctuated the silence while Lily watched him sleep. Harry’s chest rose and fell with each breath, calming her thoughts. The restlessness was gone now, replaced by a contentedness that Lily doubted she would ever find doing something other than just watching her son sleep. However, it didn’t make her sleepy like she had thought it might. She’d hoped that the presence of someone else and the repetitive breathing might have relaxed her enough for her to fall asleep. It hadn’t, but it didn’t bother Lily so much now.

Footsteps on the stairs outside interrupted Lily’s relaxed mood. She reflexively grabbed her wand that was in her pocket.

It’s just Sirius or Remus. No one else can get in. It’s just Sirius or Remus, Lily chanted in her head. There was really no reason to be paranoid – no one could get in except the three of them and any Order members that had read Sirius’ note. Still, reason didn’t stop Lily from worrying.

She raised her wand and silently crossed the room to the door. Lily opened it a sliver so that she could see who was wandering around the house this late at night. A figure with brown hair had lit its wand (presumably to see where it was going) and was walking down the stairs.

“Remus?”

The figure jumped slightly and turned around, raising its wand above its head.

“Lily? What were you doing in Harry’s room?” Remus whispered, stepping up a few stairs in order to see her better. Lily shrugged.

“I couldn’t sleep. Why are you creeping around?”

“Same.” His voice was casual, but his face hardened in the wand light. Lily started down the staircase with him.

“The change of house hasn’t stopped the nightmares?”

“No. They’re not as detailed now anyway, but still … unpleasant.”

They didn’t speak again until they reached the basement. Lily got them both glasses of water and sat down with Remus.

“You’re still not sleeping then?” Remus said after a while. It wasn’t a question, but the tone of his voice made it sound as if it was.

“I just couldn’t sleep. It wasn’t… James. Not tonight, anyway,” said Lily. It was true: it hadn't been thoughts of him that had stopped her sleeping. Most nights it was, but maybe once or twice in the past week (including tonight), the memories hadn’t plagued her.

“That’s good, in a way, isn’t it?”

Lily nodded and took a sip of her water. Neither of them spoke for a while. Remus was looking around the kitchen and Lily stared into her glass.

“You know, it’s going to be a lot further to take you upstairs when you fall asleep down here,” Remus said, breaking the silence. Lily took a moment to think about what he had said.

“What if you fall asleep first? I’ll have to take you right up to the third floor, you have to be the awkward one, don’t you?” teased Lily.

“You always fall asleep first. And I wasn’t seriously going to take the bedroom on the first floor, you can hear Old Burga!”

“‘Old Burga’” Lily laughed, completely confused.

“Walburga’s portrait. Sirius’ mum,” Remus explained. “It was mine, James’ and Peter’s nickname for her, I don’t think Sirius knows about it, to be honest. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t mind.”

“I’m surprised you didn’t get more invites to visit Sirius at home,” said Lily, still smiling.

“None of us ever got an invite to come here. His parents were hardly going to allow me, the Potters are the biggest lot of blood traitors there are – probably only seconded by the Weasleys - and Peter, well, he was too socially inept to get an invite. He’d probably have made a fool of himself in some way.”

Peter was very rarely mentioned by name by anyone anymore, but when he was, Lily preferred to think of the awkward but always smiling boy she had met at school than the man who had betrayed her. It wasn’t too hard to do; the two versions of him didn’t fit together at all.

They made meaningless conversation until well past midnight. It was during a lull in the talk when Lily’s eyelids were beginning to droop that she thought of something that she had never asked before in their few weeks’ worth of nights they had spent up together.

“What are the nightmares about?”

“What?”

“Your nightmares. The ones that wake you up all the time. What are they about?”

Remus didn’t answer. He looked down at the table, frowning, and started playing with the sleeves of his pyjamas. Lily stared at him, waiting for an answer.

“You don’t want to know,” he said, finally.

“Well, now I really do.”

Remus took a deep breath, still not looking at her. “Halloween. That’s the most common one. I know I wasn’t there, but I have a vivid imagination. That’s actually why I don’t read as much any more. It’s too real.”

Lily didn’t know whether the last comment was about his imagination in general or the nightmares. Either way, it didn’t matter. Remus had been right when he said that she didn’t want to know because now that was all she could think about. Lily had been lucky that she hadn’t been having nightmares about it, although it wasn’t much of a surprise because she rarely remembered her dreams, and even when she did they had no relevance to her life.

They sat up for a while longer, exchanging the occasional remark but not trying to hold a conversation anymore.

Lily was the first to fall asleep.
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Old February 19th, 2011, 4:43 pm
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Re: Learning to Live Again

Another chapter. Big thank yous to everyone who keeps leaving reviews, you guys are awesome

Chapter 20

“Bye bye, Harry,” said Sirius, kissing him on the cheek. “Have a nice day cleaning.”

“Don’t worry, Sirius, I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to do when you come back.”

“I would actually rather be here doing something, instead of having to stop your sister’s stupid son from eating his fingers when he gets too hungry.”

Lily smiled sweetly. “Tell Petunia I said hi.”

Sirius glared at her before slowly going up the stairs to the hallway, leaving Lily with Harry and Remus.

“So, where do you want to start today?” Remus asked.

Over the past week, Lily and Remus had started going through the house and cleaning all the rooms, while Sirius had returned to his post as bodyguard for Petunia during the day. By ‘cleaning’, they really meant ‘throwing everything out that in some way was connected to the Blacks’, something they had been told to do by Sirius. In any case, they hadn’t gotten very far. In some houses it might take half a day or a day to clean each room using magic, but not this one. Each room was so cluttered with objects and there was so much to throw out that it had taken almost three days to clear the dining room.

“We’ve done all of down here now, haven’t we? I suppose we should start on the drawing room.”

They finished breakfast at a leisurely pace, as neither of them particularly wanted to start the cleaning. Lily was a bit wary about the drawing room; it had more clutter than all of the other rooms combined and she dreaded to think what they might find there. Only yesterday they had found a pair of purple robes in the first floor bedroom that had tried to strangle Lily before Remus had come to the rescue.

It was mid morning before Lily and Remus could bring themselves to start cleaning the drawing room. Lily supposed that it was a magnificent room, just in desperate need of a proper cleaning. Two large windows overlooked the street in front of the house and one wall was completely covered by a tapestry. Two cabinets that were so full of old silver objects that it looked as if it would burst stood on either side of the fireplace. More cabinets and chests of drawers stood against the walls where they were not blocking the windows or the tapestry.

“What’s that?” Lily asked, walking over to the tapestry while carrying Harry. It looked very old, but the golden thread used in it still shined brightly. At the very top of the tapestry, stitched in the golden thread were the words:

The Noble and Most Ancient House of Black
‘Toujours pur’


The dates underneath the names near the top were around the 13th century and the family tree sprawled downwards from there. Occasionally, Lily would spot a black burn mark where a name must have been blasted off. She scanned the bottom of the tapestry, looking for Sirius’ name, and wasn’t altogether surprised when she saw a hole next to ‘Regulus Black, 1961-1979.

“Wow,” breathed Lily. “They really took the pure-blood thing seriously.”

“You didn’t already know that?” Remus had moved and was stood beside her, also examining the tapestry.

“Yes, but… I just don’t understand it. Pure-bloods aren’t any better at magic than the rest of us.”

“I think it’s more to do with the rest of us not being worthy of having magic. Anyway, it’s not as if the people who belief that nonsense are completely sane – just look at Old Burga’s portrait.”

Lily was silent for a moment, reading the names of Sirius’ relatives and seeing if she recognised any of them. There were the Prewetts, and one of his great-Aunts had married a Crouch, but the rest all seemed to be names that Lily recognised as Death Eaters.

“Come on, we should get started,” said Remus.

“Hmm.” Lily didn’t move.

“Lily?”

“Yes, sorry. You’re right.”

“Why are you so interested in the family tree?”

“It’s nothing really. Just my family were never that close, my mum was an only child and my dad didn’t get on with his brothers. Big families fascinate me.”

“Even when more than half of it is trying to kill you?” Remus smiled, raising his eyebrows.

“Oh, especially then,” laughed Lily. “We better start cleaning then, or this room’ll never get done.”

Lily sat Harry on an old sofa in the middle of the room with a few of his toys and set to work clearing out one of the cabinets, while Remus started on a chest of drawers. It wasn’t very hard work, throwing out the old bits and bobs into the sack, until she reached the back of the cabinets. The things that lived there seemed to have become fond of their home after so many years and did not cooperate when Lily tried to remove them. A silver something with many legs suddenly came to life and scurried up her arm when Lily tried to pick it up, and she quickly sent it flying across the room and into the sack they were throwing the unwanted things before it could do her any harm.

By the time Lily was ready for lunch, she had only just finished emptying the one cabinet. She sat back on the floor, wanting to rest for a while, when there was a thump behind her, followed by screaming and low mutterings that were barely audible. Lily span round.

The first thing she saw was Harry on the floor, crying. Lily immediately hurried over to where he was without bothering to stand up. She picked him up, holding him tightly to her chest and rocking him. As she did so she made sure that Harry was okay: there wasn’t any blood and he didn’t seem to have broken anything. Lily’s worry and panic lessened as she realised this.

“What happened, Kreacher?”

Lily looked up at Remus’ words. Kreacher was nearly at the door now, apparently trying to sidle out without being seen. His usual general mutterings that were always in the background at Grimmauld Place changed to ones of more purpose.

“Kreacher doesn’t have to answer the werewolf, no. Kreacher thinks he’ll get away from the brat’s crying, too loud for poor Kreacher’s old ears.”

And with that he left the room, shutting the door behind him.

“Is Harry okay?” Remus asked.

“I think so. Did you see what happened?”

“No, I bet he was sneaking in here to steal stuff back like he’s been doing everyday and Harry saw him.”

“I knew I couldn’t trust him around Harry. Here, hold him while I go after the foul little-” Lily held Harry out for Remus to take him.

“Or, we could get Sirius to make Kreacher answer to us when he gets home. We’re the ones in here all day, it doesn’t make sense for us to put up with his nonsense without being able to say anything back.”

Lily frowned. Doing the more sensible course of action that Remus had suggested really wasn’t as satisfying as it would be to curse Kreacher into next week, and she doubted Sirius would mind. Nevertheless, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to start a war with the house elf, especially with so many dark objects still in the house that he probably knew how to use.

“Yeah, I suppose you’re right. Let’s go downstairs, I’m hungry.”

After a quick lunch, Lily and Remus went back upstairs to carry on with the decontaminating of the drawing room. This time, they made sure that they locked the door so Kreacher couldn’t get in and upset Harry again. They hadn’t been cleaning out the cabinets for long before Lily heard shouting behind her.

“Hey, Lily – help!”

Something black with wings was attacking Remus, who had moved onto one of the cabinets near the windows. He was waving his arms about trying to get rid of it. Lily didn’t stop to think.

Stupefy!” she shouted, aiming her wand at the thing that was flying around Remus’ head. The spell hit its target and the thing fell to the floor.

“Are you alright? What was it?” Lily asked.

“I’m fine, it didn’t get me.” He peered at the thing on the floor. “It’s a Doxy.”

Lily moved closer, and now she could see the beetle-like wings and its four arms and legs that made it distinguishable from a fairy.

“How did that get in here?”

“No idea. Do you think there’s just the one?”

“If we’re lucky. Maybe you should stay away from around there just in case.”

They went back to clearing out the cabinets. The one Lily was emptying was significantly less dangerous than the one that morning, as it was full of old photographs and silver jewellery bearing the Black family crest. Something glinted gold at the back of one of the shelves and Lily reached in to pick it out.

It was a heavy gold locket. Lily flipped it over in her hand and saw a small snake made out of emeralds. She tried to prise it open with her fingernails but it wouldn’t budge.

Alohomora,” she muttered, tapping it with her wand. It still wouldn’t open.

“What have you got there?” Remus asked from the other side of the room.

“An old locket that won’t open. You can have a go if you want.”

Lily threw the locket to Remus; he fumbled it and it made a loud clunk as it hit the floor. He bent over to pick it up and examined it, trying, like Lily had, to open it. Finally, he gave up.

“It’s just an old locket, it can go in the bin,” he said, moving towards the sack.

“Look at the mark on it, though. Isn’t that Slytherin’s?”

Remus turned it over in his hand and frowned at it.

“Yes. Do you think we should show this to Dumbledore?”

“Probably. You don’t normally find old Hogwarts founders’ relics when you clean a house.”

Remus put the locket in his pocket and they carried on emptying the old cabinets.

They managed to get through the rest of the afternoon without any more Doxies attacking them or Kreacher trying to steal back family heirlooms. Lily was exhausted when they decided to give up for the day and felt quite proud of herself for doing so much, until she took a step back and realised that, compared to how much they had left to do, not a lot had been done.

Sirius came home when Lily and Remus were halfway through dinner. He was complaining about having nothing to do all day and how the most interesting thing he did was chase the birds in the garden, until Lily told him about Kreacher.

“He did WHAT?”

“We don’t know exactly but Harry –”

“I’m going to kill him, the filthy piece of-”

“That’s what I wanted to do but Remus stopped me. He thinks it would just be easier if you make him take orders from us.”

Sirius looked as if she had just announced that Christmas was going to be twice that year.

“Oh, he’ll hate that. That’s a brilliant idea, perfect punishment. You’re a genius, Moony.”

“I always knew that was the only reason you kept me around, so I could come up with great ideas.”

“Nah, it was so we could copy your homework.”

They ate for a while, not making conversation. The doorbell rang just as they were finishing, causing Walburga’s portrait to start screaming. Sirius got up and rushed up the stairs to quieten the portrait and open the door. He came back down, not long after, accompanied by Dumbledore.

“Good evening, Lily, Remus. I must say, Sirius, I haven’t met your mother in a long time and yet she’s still as delightful as ever.”

“Yes, some people never change. Do you want something to drink?”

“Oh no, I’ve just come for a flying visit. I wanted to talk to Lily, actually.”

“You did?” Lily looked up, surprised, from wiping Harry’s chin that he had managed to dribble half of his dinner on.

“Yes. I recently came into contact with a young man who wishes to meet you and he left it to me to contact you.”

Lily stiffened, suddenly suspicious. Out of the corner of her eyes, she could see Remus and Sirius frowning.

“Really? Do you know if he’s… Are you sure he’s not a Death Eater? What do you know about him?”

“His name is Seth Gibson. He told me that he grew up in America with adopted Muggle parents, naturally they were very surprised when he turned out to be a wizard. They passed away recently and he decided he wanted to research his biological parents. It turned out that his mother had been a teenager when she got pregnant so gave him up for adoption. Unfortunately, she had also recently deceased so he started researching to see if he had any siblings.”

“I –what? He thinks I’m his half sister, or something?”

“What if he’s just some Death Eater trying to get into our inner circle and then he’ll try to take Harry?” asked Sirius.

“Trust me, Sirius,” Dumbledore said, patiently. “I did already think of that and I asked to see proof: he had birth certificates, adoption papers, everything he had gathered. It all proved that what he was telling me was true.”

“You could forge them though, couldn’t you? It would be easy enough with magic,” said Lily.

“Which is why I suggest you meet him and decide for yourself. I didn’t meet with him for very long, I’ve been excruciatingly busy, but I didn’t pick up any immediate danger signs. I told him the situation you are in and he agreed to meet you somewhere public.”

Lily didn’t know what to think: it could be a Death Eater trying to attack them again, even though Dumbledore hadn’t noticed anything wrong with him, or it could be true and this man really was her brother. Surely she would have known though? Her mum could have mentioned it at some point, couldn’t she? It was too late to ask now. The only way to find out was to meet him herself.

“I’ll meet him, as long as Sirius and Remus can come too.”

“I can’t,” Sirius grumbled. “I’m at Petunia’s all day.”

“And I’d have to stay here with Harry,” said Remus.

“Oh.”

“I’m sure we can find someone to baby-sit Harry. Sirius will need to stay at your sister’s, though.”

“Okay, well, The Leaky Cauldron would be alright, wouldn’t it?”

“We need to go to Diagon Alley sometime soon, anyway,” Remus said.

“We do?”

“You’ll have to start making the Wolfsbane potion on Wednesday and we need to buy Doxycide for the drawing room.”

“Right, so it’s definitely The Leaky Cauldron then.” Lily hadn’t been paying attention to the phases of the moon. It felt as if she had only just stopped making the potion and now she had to start again.

“An excellent choice. Is there a specific day you had in mind?”

It was eventually decided that Lily and Remus would meet Seth Gibson the day after tomorrow, and Dumbledore promised to pass the message along. He was about to leave when Remus remembered the locket they had found that afternoon.

“It was in one of the cabinets upstairs, we thought you’d want to look at it,” he said, passing it to Dumbledore. Dumbledore narrowed his eyes as he examined it, tracing the small snake on its front with his long fingers and trying to open it but failing.

“Thank you for showing me this. I hope you don’t mind if I take it? I’d like to examine it properly.”

“No problem. I’ve never seen it before, are you sure it was upstairs?” said Sirius.

“Yes, Lily found it. It’s Slytherin’s, isn’t it?” Remus asked Dumbledore.

“One would think so. I’ll have to have a thorough look to be sure.” Dumbledore looked at his watch. “I really must be going now. There’s an Order meeting on Friday, although I suppose I won’t be seeing one of you there because you’ll have to stay here with Harry. I hope you enjoy the rest of your evening.”

Sirius went with Dumbledore to the front door. Lily’s mind was racing a little; barely an hour ago everything had been normal, and now she probably had a half-brother. It even sounded weird in her head, never mind actually saying it out loud. There was really nothing more to say about it until they met, Lily would see how she felt about it then.
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