Chapter 1 : Family Farewell
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“Lily, you can’t sit around in bed all day,” James said, leaning against the door frame with his arms crossed, and an amused grin on his face as his wife replied “Watch me.”
“C’mon, Lils. It’s not the end of the world.”
Lily sent him a glare that suggested it might as well have been and stood up. “Well how come Sirius got to go? I can understand everyone else, but Sirius is supposed to be the one stuck here with us in this… this shithole.”
“You know, I thought I was going to be the one to say that,” James said thoughtfully, causing Lily to roll her eyes and sit back down. “It’s not like I got to go either,” James said caringly, sitting down next to his wife.
“Well last I checked, dear, stags don’t prance around the streets of London.”
James smiled as he brushed Lily’s fiery red hair off the side of her face to kiss her cheek. Even though Lily and James had escaped the hidden lair of Lord Voldemort (which had, according to Albus Dumbledore, since been abandoned by Voldemort and his followers), Dumbledore still insisted that they lie low at Grimmauld Place. This meant that they were confined to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black while the majority of the Wizarding World believed them to be dead.
It wasn’t the worst situation, but after being locked up for so long, the Potters had hoped for some freedom, even if was minimal like Sirius’; he was at least allowed to leave the house in his Animagus form to walk Harry to Platform Nine and Three-Quarters.
Harry was the real reason the couple wanted so much to get out of the house. As long as they were all together, they didn’t really care where they were, but Lily and James wanted to be able to do things with their son that they had missed out on doing for the past fourteen years, like seeing him onto the Hogwart’s Express.
Lily sighed. “I just want a chance to be his mother, James…”
James put his arms around her and pulled her close. “What are you talking about? You’re a great mum, Lils. Harry thinks the world of you. And not every mother would die for her son.” Nor would every son die for his mother…
The last part James refused to say out loud; Lily had only heard Dumbledore’s accepted version of what happened the day they rescued her, which was that Harry had only been injured. And as far as James was concerned, that was all she needed to hear. After “conducting further research”, the aged Headmaster concluded that there was no way Harry could have, in fact, returned from the dead; but James didn’t believe that. He knew Jasmine wouldn’t have said Harry was dead unless he was dead. Still, if Dumbledore said Harry hadn’t died, then that’s what Lily would hear, he wouldn’t burden his wife with what he “believed” had happened.
“James?” Lily asked, pulling him out of his thoughts.
She looked as though she were going to say something when a loud crash downstairs set off the screaming portrait of Mrs. Black, which in turn set off Sirius.
“I think they’re back.”
James nodded and stood up. “Well, shall we then?” he asked playfully, extending his hand to his wife.
She rolled her eyes, but took his hand.
“Hey, Padfoot, next time you decide to grace us with your delicate tones-”
“Oh, you heard that, did you?”
“-how about you just don’t?”
“Well that’s nice,” Sirius said sarcastically with a hint of hurt in his voice.
“I don’t why you’d be upset with that, Pads; it’s a point I’ve been trying to drive home for months,” Jasmine said, causing Sirius to flip her off in return.
Displeased with the action (Sirius was the only one she was really concerned about forgetting to kept language and gestures clean when her son – or other children – was around), Lily cast a charm that made Sirius’ finger poke Sirius’ eye. (“Ouch!”)
“I can’t believe I’m going to have to put up with you all year,” Sirius said, rubbing his sore eye.
“Me?!” Lily asked, raising her wand.
Jasmine nodded. “That’ll cost you,” she said, raising her own wand.
“All year?” James thought the moment might have been a good time to help his friend out. “I thought you were going to Hogwarts.”
“If I had known at the time who was going to get the Defense position, I wouldn’t have declined the offer to teach it, but I was done dealing with snot-nosed, twitchy brats when I graduated Hogwarts,” she told him.
“Wasn’t your method of ‘dealing’ with them hexing them until they cried?” Remus asked, somewhat amused.
“You could say that, but it wasn’t my fault they cried. They wanted to provoke me, they brought it upon themselves. They wanted to be in Slytherin, they brought it upon themselves. But really, come on, we were growing up during a war, they needed something that would at least start to prepare them for the world outside the school.”
“That’s horrible,” Lily said, trying to suppress a grin.
Tonks left the kitchen after a moment of silence, remember that she still needed to feed her pet gerbil. Her aunt called after her, saying she didn’t know why she would bother with the rodent, it was a chubby little thing and the only gratitude it ever showed was biting the hand that fed it. Tonks chose to ignore this.
On the way, she bumped into the coat rack, causing Remus’ cloak to fall onto the floor, and something to fall out of the pocket. She hung the cloak back up and picked up the object, making to put it back in the pocket, but stopped when she saw what it was: A ring.
Was Remus going to propose to her? Her heart raced with excitement, and a smile lit her face as she slipped it on, all thought of the ingrate gerbil forgotten. It was beautiful.
Tonks heard someone coming, and – in case it was Remus, who she figured would want to surprise her – she pulled off the golden band, and regretfully placed it back in the pocket. However, before she let go, her hand felt something else in there, and curiosity caused her pull whatever it was out. It turned out to be another wedding ring, a man’s.
What was this for? Did guys usually buy their own wedding ring before proposing? Somehow Tonks didn’t think so.
“Hey, we heard something fall; are you okay?” Remus asked her.
“Yeah,” Tonks said. Figuring it’d just be best to say something than wait to find out, she said, “These fell out when I bumped into, uh, when the rack fell over.”
Remus looked curiously at the small objects in her hand, and realization dawned on his face. “Oh, I’d forgotten about those! They’re James’ and Lily’s; I found them with their wands.”
“Oh.” Tonks tried not to show her disappointment as she handed the rings to Remus. Until that moment, she hadn’t realized just how much she was hoping her boyfriend would propose to her. She was probably trying to push things, but she didn’t think that way. She was ready to take the next step, even if—
“Dora!” Remus tried again to get her attention.
“What?” she asked with a jump, being snapped out of her trace.
“Finished feeding the gerbil?”
“Yeah, he’s fine.”
He smiled and took her hand as they walked back into the kitchen.
Immediately upon entering, James managed to catch both their eyes and subtly shake his head, as if to tell them not to bring attention to something. Seeing an oblivious and bald Sirius told them all they needed to know.
“Prongs, can I talk to you out in the corridor?” Remus asked, trying to keep a straight face and any hint of laughter out of his voice.
Once out of the kitchen, Remus handed the rings to James. “I found these and thought you might like them back.”
James looked at the two rings and smiled. “Thanks, Moony.”
“No problem; I would have given them to you sooner, but with the battle and everything, I guess it just slipped my mind.”
James smiled one of his famous Marauder’s grins. “Mr. Prongs believes Mr. Moony has an acceptable reason for his tardiness.”
“Mr. Moony is pleased to hear that Mr. Prongs understands his reasoning.”
Both wizards laughed as though they were back at Hogwarts again, even more so when they heard Sirius scream.
James still couldn’t believe life could be so good, or that the growing threat of Voldemort could be pushed so far back in his mind.