Chapter 8 : Good Bye
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Needless to say, I spent the next few days going around in a completely muddled haze, wondering why on Earth Malfoy had discovered his hidden knack for bravery. But nothing I could think of got me an answer and so my torture went on.
I attempted to talk to Delia about my confusion but, as usual, she continued with her bloody optimism and always tried to cheer me up instead of listening to my puzzle. No, she’s not as annoying as she sounds but let’s just say I’m not the optimistic type.
Albus studied and James spent every living minute on the Quidditch pitch, both of them hardly ever talking to me. Although, it wasn’t like I expected to talk to them. We never did hang out much at school, to tell you the truth.
The only one who seemed to get my problem was Hugo, who gets everything about me.
One evening, when we were sitting in front of the fireplace after a particularly rigorous practice, I decided I would tell him the whole story. Not just the story but the whole story.
“Hey, Hugo,” I said, nudging my cousin in an effort to capture his attention from whatever pointless thing he was doing.
"Mhmm,” he muttered, not bothering to take his eyes from the newspaper in front of him and listen to me like a normal person.
“Hugo, look, it’s a hot girl!” I exclaimed pointing to a random spot on the wall.
Instantly, his curly head was up from the paper. “Where?”
I sat on the couch beside my girl-obsessed cousin, cracking up. “You are hilarious,” I told him, patting him on the back.
“Haha.” He stuck his tongue out at me in a most mature manner.
“Ah, Hugo... but seriously, can you listen for a minute?”
“Oh, seriously, why didn’t you say that?” he asked me, his voice full of sarcasm as he dropped his paper on the floor and turned his somewhat undivided attention to me.
I sighed at his strangeness and began my tale. “Well, it all started when Malfoy saved Delia and me from Makayla Wright,” I explained.
I continued from there and told Hugo the entire story while he listened, clinging raptly to my every word. And the teachers say he has ADD...
“Wait a second. So Malfoy has been helping you... helping as in, help?” he asked, looking utterly bewildered.
“No helping as in hurt,” I replied, sarcasm dripping from my words like water out of a broken bucket… sorry, bad analogy, but you get the point.
“Not funny,” he pointed out helpfully.
“Whatever. The point is, yes, Malfoy has been helping me, and that’s why I’m confused.”
“Lily,” he began, and I knew from his tone that he was done joking... at least for the moment. “Look, I know our families have this whole prejudice thing and we’re supposed to be rivals with the Malfoys and all that jazz. But you know, if he’s nice to you, and you’re nice to him, great! Have the time of your life for all I care. You know me, I don’t care about that stuff. I care about the important things like you being happy and everyone in our family being safe. Unless Malfoy being nice to you makes you unhappy or harms you, I don’t see any problem. As long as you don’t, like, start dating or anything, but I doubt that would ever happen.”
See, I told you he always understands me. “Thanks, Hugo. And, no, we’re not going to start dating,” I told him sincerely, although a picture of Scorpius’ tall, wiry frame popped into the back of my mind as I spoke. I shook it away quickly. None of that, Miss Potter, I told myself firmly.
“No problem. Now can I get back to my newspaper?” he asked, looking put upon.
“Go right ahead.”
As soon as Hugo’s head was buried in his paper again, I picked up my Transfiguration book and attempted to try and understand our homework.
I had finally managed to grasp the concept a tiny bit when a voice called my name. “Lily Potter, please come with me to my office.”
Oh no, what did I do this time? I thought as Professor Longbottom strode towards me, looking as gloomy as I ever remembered seeing him.
“Hugo, you may come too, if you wish. Where is your sister?”
Hugo glanced up from his newspaper. “Um, she’s probably off doing her stupid girly things with her stupid girly friends. And thanks anyways, but I don’t really need to come and watch Lily get in trouble... again.”
Thanks, Hugo, always such a big help...
But Professor Longbottom still looked solemn. “No, I think you might want to come, Mr. Weasley. And we do need to find Rose.”
Hugo looked almost disgusted that the Professor was asking again. “Since when did I become the girl police?”
I stared at him as he slowly realized the irony of his statement.
“I get it!” he exclaimed, laughing as he realized how funny he had sounded. “But you know what I meant; I don’t keep tabs on all the girls at school.”
I smothered another laugh.
“Okay, fine, maybe I do...” he muttered under his breath.
"Miss Potter, do you know where your cousin is?” the Professor asked me, ignoring Hugo's grumblings.
I really didn’t understand why he’s so in to everyone watching me get yelled at for something or other. But before I could reply, a voice from behind me announced, “I’m right here.”
“Ah, thank you, Miss Weasley. Now, please you three-” but the Professor was cut off by my brother, James.
“No, Professor, it’s fine. I’ll tell her,” he said, in a voice at least seven pitches lower than his usual.
“Are you sure, James?” Professor Longbottom asked, laying a hand on James’ shoulder as my oldest brother nodded.
Okay, so now my brother's going to yell at me? What's going on here?
Right behind James stood Albus, looking more upset than I’d seen him in my entire life.
"Alright then, if you’re sure,” the Professor continued. He turned to go but before he had gotten more than two steps, he turned back to me and laid a gentle hand on my head then once again turned to leave the room.
"Bloody hell, would someone just tell me what’s going on!" I exclaimed, as soon as the Professor was out of earshot.
James came around the couch towards the three of us and sat down in a chair nearby. “Look, Lily, I don’t know how to say this,” he began.
“Just yell at me and get it over with, would you?”
James looked confused. “Yell at you? Oh, that’s what you think this is about. Honestly, you get in trouble so often you’re always convinced you did something wrong!” But even as the humorous words left his lips, his eyes filled with sorrow again.
“No, Lily, that’s not what this is about,” Albus broke in, sitting down on the other side of me.
“I just need to get this over with!” James exclaimed. “Lily, Mom - something happened. She was attacked at the Ministry and-”
Hugo's arm went around my shoulder. Rose gasped and walked towards us. But I didn’t hear another word. Mom was attacked! It can’t be. No, she can’t be -
Albus put a hand on my shoulder and shook me out of my stupor. “Lily, it’s fine, she’s not dead.”
“She’s not?” I managed to whisper.
“No, she’s at St. Mungo’s receiving emergency care. We are allowed to go see her tomorrow,” James explained, coming over to me, and kneeling in front of me on the ground. “She’ll be fine.”
But I didn’t want to hear it. I didn’t want to hear all the lies meant to make me feel better. I didn’t want to hear anyone tell me it would be okay. Because as far as I knew, it would never be okay again.
I stood at the side of her bed, looking down at her, wishing I could do something to save her. No matter how much anyone told me she would be fine, I knew now that it wasn’t true.
My father told me that she had been found on the floor of her office at the Ministry and investigators suspected that it was poison, a poison that just slowly sucked the life out of you.
My mother, Ginny Potter, the most beautiful, brave woman in the world lay there, her life slowly fading from her. And I had to stand and watch helplessly while my mother died. No, she wasn’t going to survive this I knew, she was going to die.
I knew as I stood there that I would soon be without a mom and perhaps without much of a family. We never were very close without my mother; she was the rock that kept us all together. My father tried but he had obligations to the wizarding world, obligations that often kept him from us. And although my brothers and I were there for each other, we weren’t exactly what you would call close, at least during the school year.
Thinking all this through, I watched as James spoke to her and I could see that he was trying to be brave, for Albus but more for me.
You don’t need to pretend! I screamed in my head. Stop treating me like a child!
Albus, too, was trying to look calm but I could see him falter as he said his final goodbye to her.
I caught a few words of what she said to my older brothers. “Take care of Lily for me, please. Promise me.” I still couldn’t believe she wasn’t going to be there forever to take care of me herself.
James put his arms around my mom and whispered, “I promise, Mom.”
I walked to the bed slowly, after my Aunt Hermione and Uncle Ron, and took her hand. “Mom..."
Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled at me weakly. “Lily,” she breathed, squeezing my hand softly but with what I knew was all her strength. “Lily, watch out for your brothers and your dad. And please, never forget me.”
I squeezed my eyes shut against the tears and willed myself not to let her see me cry; not to let anyone see me cry, ever. “I’ll never forget you, Mom, not ever, I promise.”
Suddenly, I felt a strong hand take hold of my shoulder. I glanced up to see James standing there, looking down at me with an almost unreadable tenderness in his eyes that I hadn’t seen there in a long time. I didn’t resist as he helped me up and gave me a brief hug before pushing me gently over to where Hugo and Rose sat, watching us all.
Rose’s blue-gray eyes filled with tears as I sat down between the two of them. “I’m so sorry, Lily,” she whispered as she released me.
I sat down on the rigid, white chair between my cousins as Hugo laid his arm across my shoulders and, without a word, pulled me against him comfortingly.
I watched, detached, as my dad took my spot beside my mom, my eyes full of tears I swore I would never let fall from my eyes.
He leaned over my mother and whispered something in her ear, words meant for her alone. In that moment, the great Harry Potter’s eyes filled with unshed tears, tears I knew would stay with him for the rest of his life.
My mother closed her eyes and with her final breath, whispered to us all, “I love you.”
Author's Note: I know this chapter was a bit AU but I hope you won't mind... it's very central to something that will happen very, very soon so hopefully you will then understand my need to kill off poor Ginny... please leave a review, as always, they are much appreciated!
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