Disclaimer: Harry and Ginny belong to J.K. Rowling, whom I thank for writing such great stories. Lily and the original story idea belong to Quibler, whom I thank, for allowing me to dabble with a sequel to the original One-shot. As for what belongs to me…hmm, I’d better get back to you on that!
Lily Potter stood, her dark green eyes focused on the yellow parchment envelope in front of her. She felt her thick, tangled black hair blowing in her face, blocking her view, and she hastily brushed it back, behind her ear and went back to studying the handwriting of the person she had never known. What clues would it give her? Could there be a secret written in the slanted strokes? And had the letter been written before her father had known his fate or after, and maybe just a little before he had died? Lily tried to find a hidden clue, but she had to admit that she just didn’t have as much of an eye for details as her aunt Hermione did. All she knew was that the letter was written in ink, probably scribbled with a quill pen, and that hardly helped her. After all, she had never known anyone besides muggles who wrote in ballpoint pen and she already knew that this wasn’t from a muggle.
“This is for you,” her mother had said, handing the letter to her after she excitedly opened her other gifts on her eleventh birthday. Lily had been startled to see that tears were smarting in her mother’s eyes, but she looked away when she saw Lily eyeing them curiously. Her mother hadn’t taken her father’s death well, but she didn’t seem to understand how much her constant mutterings about having something in her eye or needing privacy were affecting Lily much more than it would have for her to simply cry in front of her. Lily worried about her mother-sometimes too much. After all, it had been eleven years since her father’s death and although Lily knew that one could never get over anything like that so completely, she still knew that her mother’s grief should have lightened by now. There were so many times that she wished her mother would talk about her father, instead of merely pretending he didn’t exist…
“What is it?” Lily asked, trying to open the envelope without ripping it, but this was very difficult, because of how old the parchment appeared to be. When her mother noticed what she was doing, she quickly stopped her, and Lily looked up, startled, surprised at the force of her mother’s reaction. When her mother did speak, however, she had an even and cool tone, and wasn’t anywhere near as angry as Lily had feared. “I’m not sure what it is,” her mother told her, though Lily could tell that her mother wasn’t being completely truthful. She added quickly and quietly, “It was from your-your father.”
And now Lily stood, butterflies descending in her stomach. She felt very small and not at all like the daughter of two people sorted into Gryffindor. Lily was not even sure why she was so nervous-hadn’t she wanted something, anything, from her father ever since she could remember? Why was she so nervous now? She supposed she was afraid-afraid that the letter or whatever it was would not live up to her expectations. She had fantasized a word from her father for so long that the possibility that it wouldn’t live up to her expectations frightened her. And what would it be like, once the letter was open, and she didn’t have any more fantasies of a word from her father that he would probably never give her-what would it be like, with one fantasy gone?
Lily couldn’t remember her father at all. He had died when she was just a baby, a few months old. He had been off fighting, doing the duties of an auror, and now he was gone, without even leaving Lily a single memory. She knew a little about him-sometimes, when her mother wasn’t paying attention, she would sneak up to her mother’s bedroom and reach under the bedskirt to produce a box covered with dust. This box had given her more comfort than almost anything else-sometimes she would even borrow one of the love letters her father had written her mother, read it slowly, memorizing a few paragraphs a week, and then finally sneak the letter back into the box before grabbing another one. There weren’t very many and sometimes Lily accidentally read one twice-she would be anticipating the excitement of reading a new one and would end up disappointed when she opened it in the privacy of her bedroom and realized she had already read it. She didn’t dare stick around in the bedroom long enough to see if she had read the particular letter she chose or not-she was afraid of how upset her mother would be if she caught her looking through the box. It was already enough that she had been snooping around her mother’s room in the first place, trying to find evidence that her father existed, but that she had been borrowing some of the stuff as well? No, Lily knew her mother could never find out about her snooping.
At least she had seen pictures of him, although most of the ones she had seen had been at her Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron’s house, not from the box. Her mother’s relatives weren’t afraid of the past-they weren’t afraid to put pictures of people who had passed away up on their wall, no matter how much grief glancing at it brought them. Lily loved spending time at her favorite aunt and uncle’s-not only did she get to play with her two cousins-or three, if you counted the one on the way-but she also didn’t have to worry about her aunt and uncle keeping anything from her or rushing out of the room to cry. Sometimes, she felt a little envious that her cousins’ parents were so dedicated to them, but she could brush those feelings aside, pretending to be a Weasley for the day. She loved looking at pictures of her mother and father from when they were young and happy-her mother’s radiant red hair and kind smile were so different from the tight expression she usually wore, and of course there was also her father. Lily almost couldn’t blame her mother for tearing up so often-it sent a shiver down her spine seeing just how much she looked like her father. She had the same soft green eyes-the same messy, black hair…More than anything, even more than her old wish of getting something from her father, Lily wanted to jump into the moving pictures and join her parents in their smiling, happy time, before darkness had overtaken it.
Lily glanced again at the letter and she held it up to her ear and shook it, hoping the sound would give away the identity of the present. She was surprised when she realized that the envelope was empty. Curiosity overpowering her fear as her hand started shaking, she opened it.
Lily almost screamed.
It was him. It didn’t take a genius to figure that out-she recognized the messy black hair and soft green eyes that were so similar to her own. He looked down at her, floating in the air, and Lily, her heart pounding, couldn’t help wondering if he wasn’t real and she was only dreaming-after all, this couldn’t be possible, it just couldn’t be…
She became even more scared and confused when the vision asked her, “Lily?”
“Who are you?” she blurted out. Realizing that she had perhaps chosen the wrong words to ask, she hastily attempted to make herself clearer. “I mean,” she added, wishing she hadn’t seen the hurt expression on her-father’s face, “I know who you are-I just don’t know-what-how-”
“It’s all right,” her father assured her. “I don’t mind.” Lily nodded slowly and he continued. “I’m a memory,” he explained. “I had a feeling my auror training might take me away from you and your mother, and I didn’t want that. I thought, that if I wasn’t able to be here with you-” He added, regret filling his voice, “Of course, I didn’t know just how it would turn out…”
Lily nodded, as if she understood. She still could not believe she was actually standing here, looking at the memory of the father she had never known. Her heart was still racing and Lily’s mind began to travel back to the earlier events of the day, wondering when she could have fallen asleep. Still, Lily knew she should make the most of this experience so she nodded, a thousand questions forming in her mind.
“If you’re-well-a memory,” Lily asked, remembering everything she knew about Voldemort’s horcruxes and how her own mother had been taken advantage of by one of them, “then how do I know you’re not-well-”
“Dangerous?” her father finished and he smiled at the expression on her face. “I’m fine,” he assured her, “just fine. It’s true dark magic does create memories, but there are more ways to create memories than killing people.”
There was an awkward silence between them. “I don’t know what to say,” Lily found herself stammering, wondering how this was possible, as she had imagined meeting her father for so long. She suddenly had another question. “How long will you last for?” She was a little fearful of the answer, afraid she had already wasted the majority of their time together with her questions.
“I’m not sure,” he admitted thoughtfully. Lily’s heart sank. “I’ve been in the envelope for a little over eleven years, but since I wasn’t sure how to enchant anything more than a twenty-four hour spell, this might only last for a few hours or half of how long the normal one was supposed to.” Lily knew that she wouldn’t be able to take a single second for granted, and she was determined to use it up as best as she could. “Just ask me whatever you want,” he urged, answering her first question. “Believe me, this is odd for me as well, so if you don’t mind answering some questions too…”
“I don’t,” Lily assured him and then she was faced with the dilemma of what she was going to ask him. There was so much she wanted to know-how he had spent his free time, what being an auror was like, how he and her mother had gotten together…to actually have this opportunity was the best present anyone could give her.
But instead, what came out of her mouth was a different sort of question. “What was Mummy like?”
“What do you mean?” her father asked in surprised and Lily found herself explaining. “I mean,” she said, fingering her hair nervously, “I’ve known Mummy since I was born. But sometimes, I feel like she only sees my resemblances to you and not me as well, me, a separate person. She hasn’t really gotten over your death, you know,” and the words sounded strange, spoken to her dead father. “So I was just wondering,” she added awkwardly, “what about Mummy did you fall in love with?”
Her father had a concerned expression on his face and Lily found himself remembering how Uncle Ron had mentioned that her father always felt responsible for others’ misfortunes or deaths, sometimes to an extreme. Could some of that be transferred in a memory? “It’s my fault,” her father muttered, “I should have been more careful, I shouldn’t have left you two…”
“It wasn’t your fault,” Lily tried to reassure him, desperately wanting her question answered before it was too late. “You couldn’t control those things. Please tell me.” All too soon, she realized that her father wasn’t the only one who blamed himself too much; didn’t she blame herself as well, for her father’s death and her mother’s grief…?
Her father’s expression softened. “I can see you were brought up well. When your mother told me the news that she was pregnant, I was thrilled of course, but also afraid that because the two people who had been the most fatherly to me-Sirius and Dumbledore-were dead, I wouldn’t be able to handle fatherhood. But Ginny reassured me and I can’t tell you how much I wish I could have be apart of your life.”
Tears glistened in his eyes. Memories could cry? Lily was especially surprised when he did nothing to try to cover up his tears like her mother would have. It felt good that he didn’t mind crying in front of her.
For the next few hours, Lily and her father talked about how he had fallen in love with Ginny, his time at Hogwarts, and what Lily was up to. He gave her some tips on Quidditch, since she also was a gifted Seeker, and she told him about her cousins. Her father spent most of the time telling her about the Ginny he had known-spunky, prickly, brave, and beautiful…“You remind me of her when she was at Hogwarts,” he said and, as Lily was considering these words, without warning, he began to fade.
“No!” Lily cried. She had never felt so angry that something was over and she could tell that her father felt the same way. How could it just end like this, just as they had begun to truly connect? She felt tears rolling down her cheeks and although she normally hid them like her mother did, she was inspired by her father to show them.
“Lily,” her father began, trying to speak, even though he was getting weaker and weaker as he was fading, “Lily-listen. There’s something I have to tell you. I know things aren’t perfect now, but just remember that-just remember that I love you and that I’ll always…”
But he couldn’t finish. Her father was gone and had left just as quickly as he had come and now she was only left with his envelope where the memory had been stored in as evidence it had happened in the first place.
The reality that she would never see her father in any way, shape, or form ever again hit Lily harder than anything else she had ever experienced. She couldn’t get herself to stop sobbing and she felt angrier than she could explain. She had liked him! She really had! Now she understood the stories she had heard from her relatives-she really did have some similarities to her father, beyond their physical resemblances. She had only got to meet him once-once before he disappeared from this earth entirely. It was almost worse that she had only been given one chance-now that she actually knew what her father had been like, she knew she would end up longing for him even more than she had before. Deep down inside, she knew that it wasn’t her father’s fault she felt this way, especially since he had made the memory before he knew he was going to die, but she still felt a little angry-sad and angry. Aloud she cried, “It isn’t fair!”
A voice from outside replied, “I know.”
Lily’s eyes grew big as her mother entered the room. She stared at her incredulously. Had she been outside all this time? She suddenly remembered that she had heard footsteps outside, but had been so caught up listening to her father that she hadn’t thought much of it. She realized that if her mother had been outside, she must have heard her father speaking too.
Her mother opened her mouth, perhaps to say something, but Lily cut her off. She ran into her mother’s arms and buried her head in her robes, fresh tears falling from her eyes. Her mother began to stroke her hair in an affectionate way and Lily found herself remembering everything good her mother had done for her-coming to her Quidditch games, reading her bedtime stories, and trying, perhaps not succeeding, but trying, to overcome her grief. Perhaps she was not perfect and had a long way to go, but Lily knew deep down inside that her mother loved her. She just wasn’t always sure how to express her love but now Lily knew what she could do to help.
No spoken words were exchanged between them, but the unspoken ones were more valuable than any they had exchanged before. They stood there, in a tight embrace, her mother beginning to cry as well. Although her heart ached painfully, Lily could think of no place she would rather be.
Finally, Lily lifted her head and looked at her mother before asking, “Do you think I should have met him?” Although she did not explain exactly what she meant, Lily knew her mother understood anyway.
“I don’t know,” her mother admitted thoughtfully, moving a stray hair out of Lily’s eyes. She paused before adding softly, “You’ll always have your memories, anyway.”
Lily’s eyes spilled over once again, but she knew what her mother meant. Memories could be dangerous, especially if one was only dwelling on them and not on the future, but they could sometimes be blessings as well. Sometimes remembering a certain day could be both comforting and distressing, but it was up to her to decide whether she wanted to remember this day as a sad one or happy one.
Hugging her mother tighter as she sobbed one last time, Lily Ginerva Potter knew that she would always remember this day, her eleventh birthday, for two reasons-it was the day she discovered how powerful memories truly were and the day her life was turned around. Both were outcomes of her father’s incredible gift.
A/N: Thanks for reading everyone! I promised myself I wouldn't be too pushy about reviews, but I kind of sort of wish that more people would.... thanks everyone who has! I know bribing isn't a good thing, but I'm going to do it anyhow...if you review, I will try to r&r at least one of your stories PLUS send you a cookie via review. I'm stealing this idea from tjwhermione-if you look at my reviews, you'll see what she did, so don't if you want the surprise-but I really love feedback! I promise to try and send you each a different cookie!
If you do review, I am aware that Harry and Ginny are perhaps a little OOC, but they are older, and even though Ginny is a tremendously strong character in HP (especially in HBP), even people who are brave and have strong personalities sometimes still have trouble facing their pasts later. The grammar probably isn’t perfect either and I rush it a little at the end…read my summary for my banner request and I hope that especially Quibler found this story enjoyable. Thanks for reading-read Quibler’s original if you haven’t already and have a great day! :-)
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