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The Problem With Potter by We Are Padfoot and Prongs
Chapter 7: Chapter 7: The Funeral and The Birthday
A/N: So hi. Don't blame me, I had writer's block and I also have no idea how to write a funeral scene! I'm really sorry, and thank you for the awesome reviews last chapter! Read on!
The day of the funeral, I put on my black dress and heels, French braiding my hair simply down my back. Remus showed up exactly when I told him to and I gave him a hug before straightening his suit where I’d mussed it and getting into Mrs. Jenkins’ car. Petunia had gotten a ride with her git boyfriend, Vernon.
“Mrs. Jenkins, this is Remus Lupin, a friend from school. He offered to come with me,” I explained as I slid into the back seat of her little sedan. He shook her hand before sliding in after me.
“It’s nice to meet you dear,” replied Mrs. Jenkins, climbing with some difficulty into the front seat. “It’s nice that Lily has someone here for her.”
The rest of the drive was spent in silence. I gazed out the window with unseeing eyes as the trees were reduced to a flashing green blur. We pulled up into our little church and got out. I faced the doors and took a deep breath, rehearsing the Muggle story. He had a heart attack, I thought. He couldn’t call out, and there was no one to help him. And he died. I bent over, gasping and clutching my torso, trying to keep myself together and not let the gaping hole in my middle engulf me.
I felt Remus come and pull me over around the corner, out of sight of curious passersby as Mrs. Jenkins continued in. He looked at me with concern.
“I can’t do this Remus,” I gasped, sitting on a bench and curling up. “It hurts so much. I can’t stay whole anymore.”
He sat next to me and wrapped his arms around me. “Come on Lily, you have to get through this. You’ll hate yourself later if you don’t do go. I’m right here, and I’ll stay here for you.”
I sat up slowly, trying to ignore the ripping still going on in my heart. The place where my parents were had ripped itself out and gone up to Heaven with them, not realize that it left me behind, broken. I pushed all that aside and slowed my breathing with difficulty, gaining control over my heart. I had to stay together just through the services, then I could leave and escape the condolences.
I straightened on the bench and leaned into Remus’ hug. “How did we drift so far apart?” I murmured into his shoulder. “We used to be so close-“
“-And then I became friends with James Potter,” he finished. “You couldn’t stand him and you’d made your own friends. We thought we didn’t need each other anymore.”
“We were wrong. I missed you. You were always like my brother and I really missed studying with you and talking and all that stuff we used to do.”
Remus smiled a bit. “So did I.”
I stood and smoothed my dress. “I’m under control now,” I said softly, looking at my feet. “We can go in.” He stood and took my hand, leading me into the church. I sat in a pew, staring blindly and trying not to hyperventilate. The priest walked down the aisle to slow, sad music. I vaguely remember standing, sitting, kneeling, singing, and other normal mass things, but I wasn’t really there. Not until it was time for Petunia and I to go up and close the casket together.
I looked down at my father’s face, so peaceful that it could be sleeping, and shut the lid of the coffin. It settled into place with a dry click, and it suddenly hit me that I was alone in the world. Both of my parents were dead in boxes, soon to both be buried under 6 feet of earth. They could not come back.
I let out a choked sob and did what I did best. I ran. I lost one heel on the steps of the church, horribly reminiscent of Cinderella. This was it. Midnight had struck my fairy godmother wasn’t coming back, and Prince Charming was a nonexistent dream. I kicked off my other heel.
I heard someone running after me and I ran even faster, through the falling snow. It was like terrible déjà vu from the Christmas Ball, except this time it was Remus chasing me, not Potter.
In the end, I did the same thing I had at the Christmas Ball and climbed a tree, this time a pine that hid me in the dark safety of its branches. I heard Remus walk under me, calling my name, but I didn’t answer, instead staring blankly at the limbs cradling me high above the ground. I began to shiver, but didn’t go inside until it was dark.
Remus was waiting for me. “You’re not supposed to do that,” he chided as I stood there with my teeth chattering. He sighed and pulled off his suit jacket, handing it to me. I accepted it with mute thanks, pulling it around my bare shoulders. I didn’t deserve the warmth. I was the reason my father was dead.
Remus took in my expression and decided that I wasn’t going to talk anytime soon. “Come on. I told Mrs. Jenkins I would take you home. She left her car for us and got a ride home with someone else.” He handed me my shoes, then took my hand and led me through the dark church into the parking lot. He opened my passenger side door and helped me in, going around to the driver’s seat and climbed in, starting the car and backing out with the ease of long practice. Seeing my questioning look, he said, “My mother’s a Muggle. She taught me.” After that, we rode in silence.
Only minutes later it seemed, I was being shaken awake. “Lily, we’re here.” I sat up blearily, rubbing my eyes. “Come on love.” Remus came around and helped me out of the car, walking me to the door.
“Thanks Remus,” I said, my voice cracking a little from disuse. I didn’t bother to clear my throat.
“Anytime Lily. Take care of yourself, ok? Eat, sleep, shower. Don’t let yourself sink into a fog,” he ordered. After that, her kissed my forehead in an almost fatherly gesture, and left with a “Good night.”
I stared at the door uncomprehendingly for a minute, before finally opening it with the key from my pocket. Mechanically, I went inside, shut and locked the door, and walked upstairs, barely remembering to change into pajamas before falling into bed. Tonight, my father starred in my dreams alongside my mother.
The next morning, I woke up early, far earlier than Petunia would ever dream of waking up, and discovered, to my surprise, that I didn’t mind being awake. In fact, the early morning filled me with a peace that was lately very hard to find. I guess it was something about being awake while the rest of the world was asleep.
I showered, brushed my teeth, ate breakfast, and was out of the house by 8:00. I grabbed all my things, shrinking them, and apparated to Diagon Alley. No one saw me in the early morning light as I trudged up to the school and I managed to slip into the school unseen. I wandered upstairs to my dorm and entered after giving Ethel the password (Manticore), then went up to my room, passing Potter’s closed door on the way there. I walked in and opened my closet first thing, unshrinking my boxes and piling them in a corner. Dusting off my hands, I shut the door on them and fell into bed, staring at the canopy. What on Earth was I supposed to do now?
When I woke again, even more tired than when I fell asleep, I stumbled down to the kitchen and grabbed a muffin, eating it hungrily. Glancing at the clock, I realized that it was now 2 in the afternoon. I shrugged. I had slept, but I definitely hadn’t rested. I had dreamt instead.
After I ate, I went back up to my room and whistled out the window for Cicatrix. I spent the time until dinner with the thestrals, then went back up to my room to eat.
My days developed a pattern. Wake up early, screaming. Take a shower. Eat. Brush teeth. Put on clothes. Pack lunch. Go visit thestrals. Come back for dinner. Go to bed, in an attempt to get rest. Dream. Wake up early, screaming… This was how I spent my time until the students returned. Sometimes, if I woke in the middle of the night, I would wander the halls like a ghost, trying not to think. Trying not to feel. Trying not to do anything but exist in the pale moonlight.
And then the others came back and ruined my perfect little routine. Now I had to add Smile fakely. Go to class. Avoid questions. Avoid Potter. Attempt to tell my friends. Fail. This went on for 3 months, until March 27th. Which was Potter’s birthday.
Potter had been attempting to talk to me ever since that night, but I had succeeded in avoiding him by using Cicatrix to get in and out of my dorm and taking a different route to my classes every day. No matter what I did, he almost caught me every day, but I managed to give him the slip nonetheless.
He confused me. For six years, he had been pestering me to go out with him. Me, the boring bookworm and the one girl who couldn’t care less about him. I was sure it was all just a game to him with me as the unwilling prize. If he could get Lily Evans to go out with him, then he had won.
But now, I was so confused. He had been tender. He had been caring. He had been understanding. He hadn’t been arrogant, or a bully, or a prat, or anything I was used to him being. He had thrown me a curveball and I had no idea how to catch it. So I’d left the game.
But I wasn’t sure this was game anymore. I wasn’t sure this had ever been a game. Had it always been real life and I was just too blind to see what was going on? Could James Potter really not be so bad after all? Could I be… happy with him? I couldn’t find answers to these questions, so I just avoided them and Potter.
Until the day of his birthday. Black had decided to throw him a little party, and I was invited. And by invited, I mean dragged out of bed at 10:00 at night when I had just fallen asleep, handed a dress by Black and shoved into the bathroom.
“Black!” I pounded on the door.
“You’re not coming out until you’re in that dress!” he responded in a muffled voice. “Marly helped me pick it out, so it should fit and not look stupid. I was all for the gold one with the feathers and sequins, but she overruled me.”
I sent a silent prayer of thanks to Merlin, holding the dress out to inspect it. It was short and black with one strap wrapping up so it would cross over my right shoulder. I slipped it on, feeling the warm fabric slide over my tired body. The skirt came down to just above my mid thigh, which left me fidgeting uncomfortably. Knowing Marly would kill me if I didn’t, I leaned over the mirror to apply makeup, putting on mascara, eyeliner, gold eyeshadow, blush, and bright red lip stick. I pulled my hair up a few ways, then shrugged and let it tumble back down over my shoulders. I hadn’t noticed before, but my hair had grown longer. It waved down to my mid back now, instead of just past my shoulders.
I opened the door and ignored Black thoroughly, going to my closet and opening the jewelry box that stood on a shelf by the door, taking out a gold necklace with a lily dangling from it and several gold bangles, which I slipped on. Then I slipped into black strappy heels and turned to face Black. “Ready,” I said, resigned.
He was gaping a little, but snapped his mouth shut. “You look pretty,” he said matter of factly. “Come on.”
Before I had time to respond to his strange comment, he had grabbed my wrist and was towing me out of my room and down the steps. I was thankful that Potter seemed to already be wherever we were going, so there was no awkward journey. I was too tired to feel right now.
Black pulled me to the seventh floor, to a door I’d never noticed before, and into the pure chaos that was a Marauders’ party. There were pulsing lights, lots of drunk people, and not nearly enough clothes, personal space, or air. Basically, it was not my cup of tea.
Black disappeared into the fray after telling me I wasn’t allowed to leave and he’d just come and find me if I did. I believed him. It was something he’d do. I edged around the walls of the room to the refreshments table, grabbing a bottle of water and gulping it down before grabbing another and glancing warily around the room.
I was just considering completely ignoring Black’s warning and ditching the party when Mary, Marly, and Alice found me.
“Lily, why aren’t you dancing?” yelled Mary over the music.
“I don’t feel like it!” I yelled back. This was my excuse for lots of things lately.
Alice rolled her eyes. “Lily, that excuse is so old it creaks. I know it’s Potter’s party, but why don’t you at least try to have fun for once?”
Because I’m still grieving. “Ok, fine.”
I let myself be pulled from my comfortable corner onto the dance floor and tried to make it look like I was having fun. Apparently, I failed.
Alice looked at me, then dragged me over to my previous corner, leaving the other two on the floor. “Lily, what’s wrong? I can tell you’re faking it.”
I opened my mouth, prepared to lie, but was startled by tears running down my cheeks. “Oh Alice! I’ve been hiding it for so long. I just couldn’t tell you guys, I couldn’t bear it.” She looked startled, but pulled a tissue out of her purse and handed it to me.
“Shh Lily, you’re ok. What is it?”
I looked her square in the eye. “Both of my parents are dead.” She gasped in horror. “Mum got hit by a drunk driver before school started. Dad was attacked by Death Eaters the night of the Christmas Ball. Petunia kicked me out of the house.”
She leaned in to hug me. I buried my face in her shoulder. “Oh honey! You should have told us. All that and Diggory besides, and we were always worrying over something so petty. I feel so bad now!”
“Don’t,” I said, voice muffled by her shoulder. “I didn’t tell you and I should have. I just couldn’t bear the pity.”
“You do know that you need to tell Marly and Mary now, right? They’ll never forgive me if I’m the only one who knows,” Alice pointed out.
“Can you do me a favor and do it for me please?” I asked, wiping my eyes. “I don’t want to do it again.”
“Alright. Wait here.” She left, winding her way through the dancers to our friends. At the same time, I saw Black making his way towards me.
“Hey Muffin, come here!”
“What now Black?” I sighed. “I’m really not in the mood-“
“I will not take no for an answer!” he said cheerfully, grabbing my wrist again. I sent a pleading look towards where the other girls had been, but they had disappeared behind a crowd of others. I let Black pull me to the back wall, where there was another door. He opened it and gestured gallantly. “Ladies first!”
I regarded him suspiciously. “I don’t know Black-” but before I got any farther, he shoved me in and slammed the door behind me.
I crashed into someone’s chest and felt arms go around my waist to keep me from falling. “Lily?” came a boy’s voice. A light clicked on. It was Potter.
Who's sad for Lily? Did I write the funeral scene alright? Who likes where this is going? (me!) Leave a review please!