Chapter 1 : A Request
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Chapter 1: A Request
Moonlight cast a glow off a head of pale, blonde hair. Tapping sounded from the window, its glass reflecting the glaring street lights below. Everything seemed to be calm in the little neighborhood, but Katie Lawrence awoke with a start upon hearing the rapping noise again. She rolled over to get a clearer view of the small commotion.
"An owl," she whispered, more to herself than anything. She rose quickly and headed towards the window, slamming it open. The amount of noise she was causing didn't bother her; she was the only one left in her house, besides her incompetent grandmother, who wanted nothing to do with her, as she had since the day Katie’s parents had left on their mission for the Ministry after the winter holidays. After the owl settled on her bedside table and stuck his leg out, she grasped the letter and unfurled the parchment.
Please, let me come to your place, I need somewhere to stay - my mum was captured by Death Eaters along with a bunch of other Muggles in our area, Petunia’s gone - can't stay with Audrey, 'cause of her being in the orphanage. Owled Alice, but her family’s in hiding, same with that Ravenclaw prefect-Mary Jane. Owl back soon - the house isn't the same without my mum.
Katie felt no sympathy for Lily’s predicament. Both her parents had to fight Death Eaters as Aurors - and they hadn't been home for months. She flipped over the parchment and scrawled one word:
Feeling slightly guilty, she lowered her quill once more and added:
After all, Katie was supposed to be Lily’s friend, but she wanted nothing more to do with her or Audrey. She had too much pity for her own life; how could she empathize with her friends, with no parents, and a distant grandmother? And although she really did feel wrong about her mindset, she could not find the will to change; she was done with them, with Hogwarts.
And with silent tears, she rolled back onto her bed.
Meanwhile, in Surrey, Lily was resting fretfully on her family’s couch, awaiting the owl from Katie. She wasn’t nervous about the answer; after Audrey, Katie was her best friend. At last she caught sight of a hovering bundle of feathers, and she hastened to unlatch the window. The owl glided into the room and perched, teetering, upon a lamp, which Lily clicked on before addressing the owl. She then gently removed the parchment from the owl’s leg and opened it, reading quickly.
She shook her head in furious disbelief. Katie, turn her down? Pushing aside her resentment towards Katie for the moment, Lily reluctantly wrote her plea to Remus. She watched her owl fly through the window into the moonlight once more, a small wave of forlorn lonliness washing over her.
Lily vividly remembered the day she had met the sickly and witty Remus Lupin. Her mother had walked hurriedly beside her as they made their way towards Platform 9 ¾, to find that there was only a Platform 9 and a Platform 10. Where was the train? Lily shuffled through the crowd between the platforms and tripped as she knocked into someone…a mousy-haired boy about her height.
“Oh, sorry,” Lily muttered apologetically, “I was just trying to find the right platform, and I can’t seem to find it anywhere…”
He eyed her with a calculating, but not unfriendly look. “What time does your train arrive?” he finally asked.
“Oh, oh dear, please wait, it’s on my ticket. It’s in here…somewhere,” Lily grunted. She soon produced a small, rectangular piece of paper from somewhere in her coat pocket, and smoothed it out before reading it. “Er, eleven o’ clock is when it’s supposed to be here…if I could just find the platform!” Although she was in a huff, the boy’s face seemed to brighten.
“What’s the platform number, by chance? My train is set to arrive at eleven…and here comes your mum, I think,” he added.
“Well…” she trailed off to silence as her mother arrived to them.
“There you are, Lily dear, I couldn’t find you, you just ran off to some place!”
“Mum, this boy has the same train I do, I think, he was just about to tell me where the platform is!” Lily interrupted before her mum began to lecture her on not wandering off.
“Oh, yes, that would be a great help,” Mrs. Evans said gratefully, “So you know where to find the…elusive Platform 9 ¾?” Lily blushed scarlet as her mother finished. What if the nice boy laughed at the absurdity of such a strange platform? But to the contrary, he looked relieved.
“You’re a Hogwarts student!” he whispered excitedly. “Me too! Just follow me, two other boys about my age showed me ‘bout ten minutes ago, but I went back to say goodbye to my dad…he’s left already. Come on.” He started to walk towards the barrier, but then added, “My name’s Remus, by the way, Remus Lupin.”
Currently, Remus Lupin sat in a comfortable chair with a thickly-bound scarlet book. He cocked his head when a loud rustling came from behind him. Setting down his book, he spun around to see what was making noise. An owl was fluttering at the solitary window. Slowly, he rose, let the owl in, and caught the letter in his hand. Flipping it open, he read:
Please let me come to your place, I need a place to stay...I know we're not really that close or anything - nevermind, I can't explain now.
This note immediately struck Remus as odd – he and Lily, although friendly and amicable during Prefects' rounds, were not the type to usually hang out. And more so than that oddity, Lily had a mother and a sister, why did she need so badly to stay with him? He hesitated slightly at answering ‘yes’; Lily would surely not want to stay where Remus was actually staying for the remainder of the summer. But his instinct told him to accept her plea, so wrote on the back of the parchment:
Sure, I’ll be there tomorrow morning.
He watched the owl soar away, and picked up his book once more. He could let his friends know that they were getting another visitor tomorrow, and Lily would just have to be okay with it.
Every cricket's chirp, every leaf's rustle seemed louder and more obnioxious than the previous one. Sleep was impossible. Finally, after two hours of miserable anxiety, Lily felt the faint weight of paper drop onto her forehead, and heard a sleepy hoot from the owl. She fumbled the letter in her impatient hands, and squinted to see the kindly response in the dim light.
Feeling relieved for the first time since the attack, Lily finally closed her eyes.
A Retrospective Author's Note:
Looking back from Chapter 16, I realize that this story will be much, much longer than I originally anticipated. Although I seem to jump from one sub-plot to another, the underwritten message of this story, the one which [hopefully, if I can write it well enough ;) ] will be developed thoroughly and subtly throughout the entirety of the novel, slowly, so, um, please be patient, you know, I promise that everything will be wrapped up, Katie, Lily's mum, etc. Thanks!
Anyway, thanks for the wonderful reviews I've received - they offer encouragement and improvement for me - and the 6000 reads thus far. I really, really appreciate it.
Also, I hope you noticed that Lily's mum is the one who was captured with the other Muggles, not both her parents. I had originally planned it to be both, but decided to stick with the plan that her mother is her only living parent. Her father and his apparent previous death will be of no consequence to the story.
Thanks for reading, I hope you continue, and please, please, please review!