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The Princess & The Prat (Finished) by DanielRadcliffeandMe
Chapter 30 : Chapter 30 - A Life More Ordinary
 
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How many of you cried at the end of HBP? Forgive the lateness, but it’s been a hellish couple months. Cool to think I’ve been writing for a year, though…

Go reread chapter 7, I like it better now. Read and review!







Chapter 30 – A Life More Ordinary




However close James and Lily had ever been, it was nothing compared to now. Those days leading up to Auror training meant the couple was rarely out of each other’s sights.

That day, after returning from the all-night ordeal at with the Aurors, James and Lily, were sitting in the study. Some time during the day, James glanced at his calendar.

“Wednesday,” he said slowly.

Lily’s head popped up from deep in her book. “Has it been –”

“A week… this was quite possibly the longest week of my life.”

Lily moved her books off her lap and stood next to him. “Oh, James, I’m sorry,” she said sincerely.

After a long silence, James looked at Lily as though remembering her presence. “You know, the day of their funeral, I thought I saw my dad.”

“Really?” she said kindly.

“It was odd. I just kind of… I got to talk to him somehow… it was good.”

Another second’s silence passed. “You’re ok?”

He looked at her, with a small smile. “Yeah,” he said with a sigh.

*****


Lily found herself sitting, from just after breakfast until late in the evening, out on the great terrace at the back of James’ house. They sat at the tables, reviewing old notes and textbooks. Even on the days it rained, they remained outside, with the help of a simple umbrella charm, conjured by Lily. At first, it had been surprising how just a few weeks had driven nearly every piece of information from their memories. But, with time and lots of reading, it came back, as usual.

“And that makes…?” said James, quizzing Lily over lunch one day.

“A Deflating Draught,” Lily recited with a smile.

He sniggered. “I do recall you once suggesting I get one for –”

“Your overly large head?” she finished. “Yeah, I remember. A truly damaging slight.”

James stood, picked up the pitcher of lemonade and refilled her glass. “How much more must we do this?”

Eyes rolling, Lily said, “Until we remember everything.”

“I do remember everything.”

“No you don’t,” she scoffed.

“I should be studied! It’s some sort of miracle, my memory!” he argued, pretending to be affronted.

“Who won the Quidditch World Cup in 1473?” she said, raising an eyebrow in a challenge.

“Transylvania,” James said lazily. She gaped. “You ask, I tell.”

“That’s revolting!” she said jealously. “Your hair is going to be blond tomorrow, I promise.”

The rest of their days were similar. She was very glad that James agreed to sit and study, though it was obvious from the first that he didn’t need it.

On one Thursday, James had been working dutifully with Lily on a practice essay she had found for them both to do. When, a half hour later, they switched papers for review, she found that he had not written a syllable about the Wizengamot Charter of Rights, but had instead written the lyrics to several wizarding top hits.

“James, this isn’t about wizarding courts, this is the words to a Drumming Doxies’ song.”

“It’s a good song!”

“That’s beside the point!”

“Which song is it?” he said, leaning forward keenly, as though daring her to answer.

“I will not!”

He stared a bit longer, but she sat unmoving. “Fine,” he said, giving up. “Want another sandwich?”

“Sure,” she said gratefully. He rose, took the platter, and walked inside in the direction of the kitchen.

Just as James disappeared from sight, Lily saw (through the open porch doors) Sirius walking from the study towards the stairs.

“Sirius!” she whispered, getting up, and running towards him, clutching the parchment in her hand. When he was within whispering distance, she said, “What song is this?”

Bewilderment plastering his face, Sirius stopped and read the parchment, a smile growing as he moved down the page. “Wands of Abraxan.”

“Thanks!” she whispered, slipping him a kiss on the cheek in appreciation, then freezing on tip toe, eyes wide.

After a strained second, he spoke. “That was gross.”

“Yeah, it was,” she agreed with a laugh.

Dark eyes touched with amusement, Sirius looked at her. “And to think, you could’ve had me.”

“The loss is still amazingly painful.”

The door to the kitchen creaked, and Lily squeaked and ran out on to the terrace. Sirius stood, looking after her, then at James, who was carrying a tray of sandwiches and pumpkin juice.

“You got a weird one, Prongs…” Sirius muttered, putting a hand bracingly on James’ shoulder and moving down into the kitchen.

When James appeared, perplexed, on the patio, Lily was sitting, quill tip placed barely in her mouth, as she looked over the book slowly.

“Food,” James said, moving aside an old Charms schoolbook.

“Wands of Abraxan,” she said.

He looked at her, shocked for a second, but no more. “Cheater.”

Caught. He knew she had asked, and it was very obvious. “Not cheating,” said Lily persuasively, “so much… as research from a knowing source.”

He chuckled and handed her a sandwich.

*****



Sirius decided to return, for the first time in months, to his flat (he had been renting it to someone since school and hadn’t bothered to go back). James knew this was due to several things. First, that Sirius very much wanted to tend to his long forgotten motorbike. Second, all the witches who had gone unclaimed in the past few weeks also needed tending to. Mostly, though, Sirius knew he was being the third wheel.

Of course, James was fairly upset that Sirius was leaving, but some nasty part of him wanted them all to just get out.

“Don’t worry, Prongs,” said Sirius, snapping shut his trunk. “I will be back for breakfast and dinner as often as possible.”

“Not tea?” James said sarcastically.

“I have so many dates, you wouldn’t believe,” Sirius replied. “Accio cloak!”

“You realize you have to tell me everything, of course,” James said casually.

“Well, I don’t know,” said Sirius disapprovingly, looking at James. “I’m not one to kiss and tell.”

“You’re an idiot,” said James.

“Nothing compared to the master.” He bowed.

“Get out,” said James, though he was thoroughly amused. “Are you flooing or apparating?”

“Apparating.”

“And when is your date?”

He looked at his watch. “In an hour. Then the other one at nine.”

“Two?” asked James, unamazed.

“My eleven-thirty canceled. Very sad,” he added, shaking his head, lugging his trunk out and down to the hall.

“What was her name?” said James, knowing the answer.

“Don’t recall.”

“Shocking,” muttered James.

Sirius backed him against the railing, wand out. “Hey, don’t push me! I’ve thrown you down the stairs before!”

“I remember,” James said, pushing Sirius’ wand to the side, and picking up the trunk up himself. “Though I saw it as less of a push and more like you being thrown down the stairs on top of me.”

“You say protego…” Sirius shrugged it off, and tucking his wand away.

Downstairs a minute later, Sirius and James shook hands, and with a small *pop* Sirius was gone.

Lupin, rather pale and sweating, walked up the hall behind James, carrying a Daily Prophet under his arm.

“I’ll be out by Saturday,” Remus said weakly.

James wheeled round. “What?”

“I’ve imposed, I know,” Lupin said in a gentlemanly voice. “But the full moon’s tomorrow…”

“Imposed? You are supposed to be the smart one! Stay as long as you want. Besides, Lily can’t play chess like us.”

Lupin smiled and returned to the study.

*****


KNOCK KNOCK.

I’m sleeping!

KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK.

He groaned. According to a circular clock on his bedside, only two planets were visible.

KNOCK KNOCK.

“James?”

Reluctantly, he rolled out of bed, threw on a jacket, and stumbled towards the door.

“Lils,” said James irritably, opening the door and allowing her to stand in the doorway, “it’s past two in the morning. What –”

“N.E.W.T.s,” she said in a frantic hiss.

His head drooped in frustration. “I thought you threw the confounding draught in the rubbish!”

“No, James! We never got our results back! I have no idea what I got on my N.E.W.T.s! How in the world are we supposed to go to training without our scores?”

“How could this not have waited till after sunrise?”

He could tell she was annoyed. “James! I mean, when we applied, they saw our projected outcomes, our old scores! We’re supposed to know!”

Massaging his temples, falling unceremoniously in a large leather seat, James moaned. “I’m quite sure you can owl Dumbledore in the morning. That means,” he added, very grumpily, “when vampires are in their caves, and normal wizards are awake.”

“Funny,” she said scathingly. “Alright, but if you don’t help me, you’ll die a painful death.”

“Night then, sweetheart,” said James, helping her out.

The second the door clicked closed, James shrugged off to his bed and fell on top of it.

*****


“Morning!” said Remus, over the Daily Prophet.

James walked into the kitchen, disheveled and red-eyed. “I’ve been up since 2, it’s not the morning.”

“Why were you up?” Lupin asked.

“Lily decided to wake me up so she could worry aloud. To me.”

“About what?”

Just as James was about to answer, four owls swooped in to the kitchen. All four, just as planes dropping bombs in a raid, let their letters land just inches from the food, before flapping their wings and flying back out through the window over the sink.

“These,” said James. Upon each piece of parchment was written one of their names.

“Mmm!” Lupin finished his warm pumpkin juice and fetched his letter from the pile.

James found his letter, and pulled his wand from his pocket. But he stopped and looked up. “You open yours first.”

“I want to see if you really did get perfect scores,” teased Remus.

“And if I did?”

“Then I’ll buy you a crown.” They both grinned.

James tapped his wand on the wax seal. The letter instantly unfolded itself.

“Good, good, good,” James murmured, looking over his sheet.

“Well?” said Lupin, after a minute of silence.

James folded his letter back up and smirked. “Your turn!” he said cheerfully.

“You git! Give that to me!” Remus pulled the parchment from James’ grip and read it himself. “This is a mistake!”

James, though, was dusting his fingernails on his robes.

“That’s impossible!” Lupin said, looking from a pompous James to the parchment, and back.

“Well, I’d expected to do better, but one Exceeds is not so bad.”

Remus punched James. “You lousy git!”

“Go on then,” said James, handing Remus back his own letter.

“How am I supposed to follow that?”

Halfheartedly, Lupin opened his own scores. James looked over his shoulder.

“Not bad, Moony!” said James, thumping his friend on the back.

The letter said, in very tidy handwriting:

Nastily Exhausting Wizarding Test Results


Pass Grades ~ Fail Grades
OUTSTANDING (O) ~ POOR (P)
EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS (E) ~ DREADFUL (D)
ACCEPTABLE (A) ~ TROLL (T)

Remus John Lupin has achieved:

Advanced Charms - E
Arithmancy, Level 2 - A
Care of Magical Creatures - E
Defense Against the Dark Arts - O
Potions - A
Herbology - E
Transfiguration - E



“It’s not so good, though,” said Lupin angrily.

“How?” James shot back.

“Two As?” Lupin counted. “Yeah, I’m a regular genius.”

“Please,” said James. “Arithmancy isn’t worth anything, and potions is such rubbish with that Slughorn git.”

“He loves you!” Remus replied, rather shocked.

“Just because the man tries to slip me favors doesn’t mean I like him. Anyway, he likes Lily better.”

“So he does.”

With a sigh, James remembered that Lily hadn’t seen her letter. “Better go drop this with the authorities.”

“Have fun with that!” Lupin said with a hearty laugh, though he still looked a bit put out.

James trudged upstairs, tucking his wand and letter in his inside pocket, while turning Lily’s in his fingers absent-mindedly.

He reached her door, knocked, and waited.

“Morning!” said Lily, opening her door.

“He…llo,” said James, but he could barely form the word after peering around. On every inch of surface – including most of the walls –, some sort of notebook, chart, or old text was open or book marked. “Did you rob a bookstore? Because, you know, the library’s free.”

Lily ignored him. “So,” she said, making room for them on a bench, “what’s up?”

They sat on the bench, and without introduction, he said idly, “Here are your N.E.W.T.s.” He handed it to her – or, rather, she ripped it out of his hands (like someone touching a hot burner very quickly).

She didn’t bother using magic, but simply tore through the thick parchment.

“Breathe,” James reminded her. Lily had been holding her breath while her eyes darted up and down the page. “I’ll be downstairs if you need me.”

Letting Lily brood for as much time as she needed, James hopped across the carpet toward the door.

*****



“We should have a party.”

Down in the sitting room, an hour later, Lily finally came downstairs from her room.

James turned from his discussion Lupin to look at Lily, then back. “What did she say?”

Remus looked just as surprised.

“What?” she said, looking at them both. “A party – invite Hannah, Jessica, Peter, maybe the Longbottoms and some others. Remus, you must help with the guest list.”

“Don’t move.” James jumped out of his seat and ran toward the fireplace.

“What?” Lily said, turning to look at Remus. Lupin shrugged.

“Sirius!” James shouted into the now emerald flames. Within seconds their shaggy-haired friend was standing beside James, looking very much as though he has been pulled out of bed.

“What?” Sirius grunted.

“Lily,” James said to her, with a beckoning hand, “say that again.”

She glared at him, despite a fierce urge to snicker. “I will not,” said Lily, crossing her arms to reinforce her point.

“In the name of Merlin!” exclaimed James. He then turned to Sirius and said, “She told us to have a party.”

Sirius looked as though Christmas had come early. “Oh, Lily, you little… I’m so proud!” He moved to hug her, arms outstretched.

“Oh, get off!” she howled, trying to get her wand free of Sirius’ backbreaking hug.

“Yes, do,” said James possessively.

“Jealous?” she asked coyly, batting her eyelashes for effect.

“Of this git?” said James, looking at Sirius with humorous dislike. “His ego needs a deflating draught.”

“Some best mate you are,” muttered Sirius, shoving Remus out of the way. He stood near the fire and said, as he scooped a handful of floo powder, “Well, until I get my invitation, I’m off to bed.”

Remus could only laugh.

The rest of the morning, Lily tried to get Lupin and James to stop playing chess long enough to go over her party list. Needless to say, it was very difficult.

“Can we have a theme?” Lily asked them. Neither responded. “James!”

“Hmm?”

“I think we should have a theme.”

“Like what? It’s the middle of the summer.”

She grinned to herself. “How about ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’?”

Remus looked up. Being half-blood, Remus was very familiar with Shakespeare. Thankfully, James was as well.

“That’s… er, interesting,” he said finally.

“It could be fun!” Lily said excitedly. “We could have fairies, and dress up, and wear lots of glitter. Well, I can wear some, anyway,” she amended, after seeing James’ face.

“Like, characters, or just in the spirit kind of thing?” asked Remus. He, at least seemed keen on the idea.

“Either.”

James grinned devilishly. “So we would be –”

“I would prefer Oberon and Titania, but Lysander and Hermia is fine, too.”

“And me?” Remus said.

“Puck, maybe, or Egeus.”

“Sirius will never agree to it, Lily,” said James, after a time.

“I thought,” said Lily lightly, “that he ought to be the ass.”

Despite himself, James burst into laughter. “Alright, fine.” He stood; Lily squealed with delight. “I’ll go owl to the Magical Menagerie, get some fairies. Anything else?”

“If you want, order some Indoor Tree Growth potion – I’ll do up the fern in the hall.”

So, still before noon, Lily found some stationary, wrote out invitations, and – with glee – ordered a pair of wings, and some sparkly make-up. James found it a bit too shiny, but said nothing. He, however, with the help of Lupin, decided to visit Diagon Alley himself. Lily couldn’t have been more thrilled to see the cages of fairies, along with some Glowing Candles, Expandable Columns, and banners covered in large portraits of lions roaring, or crescent moons and shooting stars.

Around a very hurried lunch, Lily levitated all the candles (which she had to light from afar, a somewhat annoying task) into the two-story ceiling space. Lupin whipped up some long tables. James sportingly found his music collection, tapped the record player twice, and blared the music from it through invisible speakers – Lily was impressed and nonplussed.

She then realized she hadn’t sent the invitations yet. “Accio invitations!” she called, and a stack of freshly dried letters zoomed, settling atop the long table. With another flick, an ink pot, quill, and chair flew across the hall to her side.

“James, how many people can fit in this hall?” Lily asked, quill poised to write.

“Over a hundred, I’d expect,” he said distractedly (he and Remus had struck up their unfinished game of chess in the hall). “And Daisy –”

“Daisy?” she repeated.

“The House-elf.” James’ queen crushed an unsuspecting rook. “Check.”

Lily looked extremely stunned. She had completely forgotten about the house-elf since… well, when had she seen the poor thing last? “Does she still work here?”

“No,” said James, as though it were completely obvious. “My mother made her go and work at Hogwarts.”

“Why?” asked Lily. That seemed rather rash, especially with such a big house that needed constant cleaning.

“He left a small dungbomb in the bathroom,” Remus supplied, when James said nothing.

“It wasn’t so much the smell,” James said (he threw his dead pawn at Remus, who ducked), “as that she had told me never to bring them home again.”

“Regardless,” said Lily, distracted beyond measure, and trying to get back to the invitations, “do you want to invite the Longbottoms?”

“Sure,” he replied absent mindedly.

“Lily, why are you having a party, exactly?” Lupin asked, allowing his knight to decapitate James’ remaining bishop.

“Because,” said Lily, for what felt like the millionth time, “I haven’t seen or spoken to anyone but the four of you fools since school let out. Besides, I need a relief from this crazy studying.”

James gawked. “A relief? It’s self-inflicted!” he exclaimed.

“Are you saying we shouldn’t have a party?” she said dryly. James was about to answer, but he was interrupted by something in his pocket.

“PRONGS!” shouted Sirius’ voice, very softly, as though under layers of cloth.

“What, Padfoot?” said James, taking out his square mirror and speaking into it.

“I’m coming over.” His face disappeared, but a loud *pop* announced his return.

“Since when have you needed to ask to come here?” James said, appalled that Sirius would show such politeness.

“Since Lily nearly killed me last time I didn’t.”

She nodded.

Sirius turned once more to James. “Did you just nearly cancel a party?”

Lily smirked; James, less than amused, rolled his eyes. “No.”

“Yes, dung brains, I did!” Sirius took the opportunity to slap James in the back of the head.

“Oi, oi! Get off!” shouted James, holding up his arms as a shield.

*****


Immediately, they sent owls to deliver invitations (Lily privately marveled at the swiftness that letters could be distributed by owl). Within an hour, nearly half of their guests had agreed to come – several noting that they enjoyed the idea immensely.

Sirius and James, party planners extraordinaire, disappeared some time in the afternoon; they returned with more food than Lily thought was necessary.

“Half the party is the food!” Sirius exclaimed. She rolled her eyes.

“You’re only saying that because you have to dress like a donkey.”

“No, but I did forget to thank you for that!” he replied happily. “Never thought I could use this thing again!” And, sure enough, he pulled a brown cloth horse’s head and cloak from a sack.

Sirius set to arranging the food: Cheese Puffs that explode in your mouth; enough mead and butterbeer to put the Three Broomsticks out of business; sandwiches of turkey, beef, ham, and a strange meat Lily didn’t not ask the name of; and more candy than the entire stash of the Gryffindor dormitories (which, during the Marauder’s years, had been enormous).

Soon, the kitchen was absolutely full. It took a very strong levitation charm (and, by Remus’ suggestion, an unbreakable charm) to lift the tables of food out through the kitchen, up the stairs, and into the hall.

At around six o’clock, the three Marauders (Peter had gone on “an errand”) and Lily went to get dressed.

She had never, before dating James, believed that throwing things together was at all a good idea. Since, nearly everything Lily had done had been this sort of spontaneous last-minute planning, or a complete lack of planning at all. Part of her enjoyed it; the other was unnerved.

As she opened the closet, Lily found a beautiful set of silky robes of sparkling rose, and a pair of gold-colored wings dazzling with sequins. It was a wonderful dress. She slipped into the robes, feeling more Elizabethan by the second, and attached the wings with a “Adiungo!”

“Lily!” called Remus from downstairs, just as Lily had entered the bathroom, prepared to apply layers of rose eye shadow (and a few well-placed jewels).

She poked her head from her bathroom, and shouted back, “What is it?”

“Hannah’s here!”

Lily threw her door open and raced down the stairs, nearly shrieking. “Banana!”

“Lily!” said Hannah, equally excited. “A party? I’m so proud!” Her blonde hair was touched with red, making her look like some sort of rocker.

Lily then realized how long it had been since she had seen anyone without facial hair. “You need to help me with this make-up!” Lily pulled Hannah in, up the stairs and into her room without another word.

“What,” said James, who stood next to Sirius and Remus, looking after the girls in a sort of baffled way, “was that?”

“That was Lily’s girly side,” replied Sirius. He looked very amused, his dark eyes rolling.

James stared for a moment. Then turned and left the foyer with an, “Ugh.”

*****


People filed in, in wing-adorned robes, or else in robes resembling togas and armor. The sitting room was full to the brim of traveling cloaks. James and Lily stood by the door, welcoming people in.

“Why am I dressed like this?” asked James. He was wearing robes of deep green, with a gold-and-black ribbon color. Attached, as on Lily’s robes, were wings of the same green – Lily privately thought James ought to think of becoming a fairy.

“Great party, Potter!” said Luz O’Neill, from the year ahead of them, as he entered. Lily turned to James, eyebrows raised.

Remarks of “wow!” and “cool!” came as guests entered the large hall in the back of the house. Sirius, in a stroke of genius, had hung large “trees” between the windows, looking like a very realistic forest with the hovering candles and dancing fairies. Over the punch and cake table, words shimmered through the upper-branches of the forest:

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”


Hannah ended up nearly running the party – her crazy nature and fairly large basis of magical was a terrific party combination. It was rather pointless to mention her fairy costume consisted mainly of a thigh-length lacy costume, covered in large beads and ribbons.

Later in the evening, after hours in the crowded hall – almost eighty people filled it now – Lily retired to the kitchen, away from prying eyes. It was nearly empty, but for the back-up Jell-o towers (“you can never have too much!”), and a few couples talking by the fireplace.

Contentedly, Lily pulled (or, conjured) up a high-backed chair up the breakfast counter. She was just about to pick a carrot off the platter, when James interrupted her.

“Lils!” he said loudly. She noticed, too, that he swayed slightly as he spoke. It was an extremely amusing sight.

Trying very hard not to laugh, Lily said, “Yes, James?”

“Come join the party,” he asked. Apparently he was too drunk to be coherent, just a bit… loopy.

“I danced, I joined,” replied Lily. “Plus, my hair is flat.” She had invented this excuse.

“You’re hair is always beautiful and red. Besides, you haven’t danced with me. Come on,” he added, extending a hand.

Reluctantly, she took it.

They walked through the open foyer and (since the music was so loud) were greeted even there that people dancing.

Shawn Fowler was dancing with Earnestine Shook, and smiled as James lead Lily through the crowd. “Nice one, Potter!”

“Whatcha, Lily!” said Tori Roland, standing next to a dark-haired boy Lily didn’t recognize, wings coming apart from her robes. Lily simply waved back.

As they passed, nearly everyone said “great party!”; Lily smiled appreciatively back.

Hannah was in the very center of the room, surrounded by nearly every single wizard in the place, all of whom were dancing in a less than dignified fashion. Most had removed their costumes, leaving behind various outlandishly colored robes.

“Lily’s here!” Hannah shouted, noticing the pair through the crowd. She waved, but continued to dance with Darin Roper, a former Hufflepuff Quidditch star. She did, however, send a spell through the crowd at James’ record player, and a slower song blared through the room.

James grinned at Lily. “Miss Evans?” he offered his arm again.

Lily looked around, then back to her fiancé. “If we must.”

“We must,” said James.

*****


It was past midnight – past two, actually – when the last guest had left. Everyone was tired, but happy as well.

Surely, the highlight of the night had been the fireworks display, provided by all four Marauders just after dark. Dragons, birds, colorful arrays of sparklers (one which read “James loves Lily”) and very loud bangs filled the yard.

Hannah had been the self-appointed DJ, and was a major hit. Hardly anyone, including several Order members who had showed up, had refrained from dressing out, or dancing.

When at last the stragglers had disappeared with the familiar *pop*s, Jessica, Hannah, Marlene McKinnon (a very nice young woman from the Order), and the Marauders stood.

“James,” said Lily simply, “you clean it up.”

And she left. Jessica, Marlene, and Hannah followed, giggling.

“So,” said Jessica, linking arms with Lily as they went out to the porch, “when does training start?”

“Two days,” Lily replied. Not nervous now, Lily had instead become rather excited. As much as she complained during her years at Hogwarts, school was fun; it was a good excuse to get some time out of the house.

“It’s such an accomplishment!” exclaimed Marlene. “I mean, all those tests they make you do – acceptance tests, you know…”

Lily remembered quite well. Back in the middle of seventh year, Hogwarts students had submitted applications, and received either acceptance or rejection owls.

This, however, was only the first step. Next, there were tests – nerve-racking, truly horrible examinations of all the skills required to be an Auror. Of course, not everyone had to take these tests. Some students, in fact, had no tests whatsoever.

After this, a second tier was eliminated. A great deal of people had been forced to move away from their first choices as Aurors. Thankfully Lily (and James, to many people’s surprise) had been allowed to take the final tests.

In truth, the process had been entirely exhausting, but the reward was worth it. Aurors were the elite; impressive as it was to say, “I teach at Hogwarts,” or, “I own a shop in Diagon Alley,” being an Auror was nothing short of amazing.

“Aren’t you getting married?” asked Marlene, breaking the silence.

“Yes, actually,” she replied. “In October, I think.”

“Ooh, October,” Hannah said. “Wonderful! Good weather, and everything!”

“And… have you…?” asked Marlene delicately. Lily didn’t look up, though she was blushing profusely.

“Of course she has!” said Hannah with gusto. “Haven’t you?”

“No!” said Lily, slightly annoyed. “Why would you think so?”

“You’ve been dating for almost a year,” Jessica said unexpectedly. “And you’re engaged.”

“Well, we haven’t.” Her wand was emitting little pink sparks, though no one saw.

“You’re a gorgeous young witch, why shouldn’t you?”

No one spoke again for several seconds. It wasn’t until Sirius appeared in the door and announced his departure (“alone”) very drunkenly that Lily moved again.

*****


Hannah, Jessica, and Marlene left within the hour, thanking Lily and James for the fabulous party. It was slightly awkward, but Lily did her best to act normal.

Already slightly worn, she sank into a chair, turning over the school and James issues in her head.

“Thanks for the party,” said a gentlemanly voice.

Lily opened her heavy eyes, and found Lupin in the chair next to her, smiling, and still sporting a blue and white toga.

“You’re very welcome.”

Then, as though someone had hit her in the head, she realized how inconsiderate she had been; she had no idea where Remus was going to school.

“Remus, what are you going to study?”

He was silent for a moment, and she wondered whether he had heard her. “Nothing too interesting,” he finally said, half-heartedly. “An internship with the department of magical cooperation, possibly.”

Tired as she was, Lily couldn’t help but notice his tone – one of constraint, as though saying as much caused him pain.

“Are you alright?” she asked, sitting forward.

“I’m fine,” he said, rubbing his eyes. “Almost the full moon, you know…”

“Oh, she replied. She knew full well the full moon wasn’t due for two weeks.

“Night, then, Lily.” With a faint smile, he blinked and disapparated.

Something wasn’t right, Lily knew it. She went in search of James. He was, as it turned out, in the hall, boxing food for Sirius and Peter to take home.

“Is this a draught for hangovers?” said Sirius, though his words were extremely slurred. He had abandoned his donkey mask. James dipped his wand into an empty glass and poured a reddish-brown soupy liquid. “There is?”

“You make it frequently,” James reminded him. “I already had some.”

Sirius raised his glass, muttered “Cheers,” and downed it. He looked as though he had swallowed Giant Squid Calamari.

“Is it gone?” asked Peter with a squeak.

Sirius still looked dizzy. “Mostly.”

Lily was still sitting by the fire; she hadn’t taken much in. Her emerald eyes stared, perplexed into the fire… Why was he lying about this?

“…And some pudding as well. Wonder what –”

CRASH. The glass bowl had fallen off the top of Sirius’ mounting pile and shattered on the floor.

“Scourgify!” said Lily, not bothering to give him a reprimand. Her thoughts were still on Lupin.

“Sorry, Lily,” Sirius apologized. “But Prongs was forcing the food on me. I couldn’t hold it all.”

“What’s wrong with Remus?” she said bluntly.

James exchanged a quick glance with Sirius.

“He, er…” James wasn’t meeting her eyes, making her suspicion increase.

“What?”

“He must’ve seen the banner,” muttered Sirius.

Lily tried to work out what Sirius meant. Banner? Then comprehension dawned on her. The extremely tacky “Congratulations to the Newest English Aurors!” ribbon above the hall entrance, supplied by Jessica.

“Why should he be?” asked Lily, still confused.

“Remus – well, she’s going to figure it out, Padfoot,” said James, when Sirius gave him a warning look. “He wanted to be an Auror.”

So? she thought. “What’s stopping him?”

“He’s a werewolf.”

“And?”

“No one with any personal magical injuries of a permanent nature are permitted to take the exam,” recited James.

“He’s not allowed?” she said incredulously.

“No.”

Lily was stunned. She thought that kind of discrimination was something the Wizarding world ha rid itself of; that werewolves were just people with a handicap or something.

“That’s… ridiculous!” was all Lily could say.

“I had half a mind to quit,” said James in agreement. “But Moony said that he’d be alright.”

“Going to look into a job with magical creatures, or something,” Sirius added.

About a million thoughts flew through Lily’s head, partially because of the mead she had sipped. Who had the right to discriminate against Remus like that? And why was he a werewolf? Had some poor man bitten Remus? Why wasn’t it someone like Snape or Voldemort? She tried not to be thankful that it wasn’t James, but it was difficult.

Around three, the cleaning was done, and James – who had sportingly done almost the entire job – sat next to her, putting an arm around her. “You alright?” James asked.

“A little guilty. Why should we be able to fight, to do what we want because we didn’t have an accident ten years ago?” He didn’t reply, but she knew he agreed. She smiled slowly. “Bed.”

“Together?” he asked, hair perfectly ruffled.

“No.”

“Please?”

“No.”

He smirked, and the alcohol and his gorgeous eyes nearly made her give in. Fortunately, somehow, she kept her composure.

“Goodnight.”

Very reluctantly, Lily traipsed off to bed, flustered, angry, and confused. The things Marlene, Hannah, and Jessica had said were floating around, not to mention her anxiety about Auror training, the complete injustice of Lupin’s situation.












I am so sorry about the wait, but at some point it got close enough to HBP time, and I wasn’t sure if I needed to do a massive rewrite. As it turns out, the only thing I was wrong about was Regulus (admittedly, a big slip, but I did include him), and also their parents (I suppose). I have decided to leave their deaths the way they are, only to suit the plot. I know it’s not canon, and this is the only time, but I am going off-canon for a second. Sorry to everyone offended.

Also, I am instituting a mailing list: if you want me to email you (I already do to a lot of people) when a new chapter is up, leave your email!!!


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