Chapter 1 : View from the Sidelines
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Anyway, this story came to me after I was reading through some Harry Potter forums in which the question was posed: who would James and Lily want Harry to be with? The general concensus was that Lily would prefer Hermione (James was a mixture of Ginny and Hermione). Anyway, the line, "Lily Evans Potter did not like being dead," suddenly popped into my head, and voila. A humorous one-shot (yes, you heard, right - a humorous one shot, not an angsty one shot). Anyway, I hope you enjoy this!
Lily Evans Potter did not enjoy being dead.
She conceded that there were few who actually enjoyed this rather depressing phenomenon, but she hated it more than any other dead person in the world.
And that was that.
She had spent the past sixteen years watching over her only son. The whole dying at the tender age of 21 thing had sort of impeded on her “two kids, a white picket fence, and a house with a yard” dream. Not that that had been her actual dream (she had been too driven when she was alive, and that drive certainly hadn’t left her just because she no longer had a corporeal body), but the fact remained that when you’re dead, dreams are a bit difficult to come by.
And so she had settled on living vicariously, in every sense of the word, through her son, Harry James Potter. Her husband, James, had usually joined her in her daily Harry check-in, but since the arrival of his best mate, Sirius Black, James had been catching up on old times. Truth be told, Lily was a bit relieved that she had been left to her own devices today. She loved her husband dearly, especially now that he wasn’t a complete prat, but when his old personality was drudged up…suffice it to say she would rather spend her days knitting than with James, and she had never been that talented with a needle…or yarn for that matter.
Today Lily was a bit (a bit meaning very) upset with her son. While she adored her son, as most mothers did, she couldn’t deny that sometimes his obliviousness mixed with the stubborn nature he had inherited from both of his parents led him to act in a very foolish manner. At the moment, Harry was telling one of his best friends, Hermione Granger, that for the past few months he had felt that something was off about his relationship with one Ginevra (called Ginny, apparently) Weasley.
“I know I like her,” Lily could hear Harry tell Hermione, “I mean I must, right? I pined for her all of sixth year, and we kissed, and I never felt anything like that in my entire life, and…”
Lily wanted to reach down and slap her son. Of course there was something “off” about his relationship with Ginny. For one thing, and this scared Lily more than anything else, his girlfriend looked exactly like his mother. While Lily was pleased that Harry clearly missed her, she felt sticking his tongue down Lily Version 2.0 was going a bit too far. His life was complicated enough without an Oedipus complex added into the mix.
And here was the lovely Hermione Granger, a sweet, caring, clearly-in-love-with-her-best-horribly-blind-friend young woman, and he was just sitting there rattling off reasons why Ginny must be the greatest woman in the world.
Granted, Lily understood that Harry couldn’t discuss a possible impending break up with his other best friend, Ron, given the fact that he was Ginny’s older brother, and it wasn’t as if Harry had another friend to confide in other than Hermione, but for the love of Merlin could he let up on the whole “Ginny is the prettiest girl in the world” thing? She hadn’t raised – or rather pretended to raise – a son who valued a girl due to her looks. And for Merlin’s sake, so Hermione wasn’t a raving beauty! That girl had a soul, and unlike certain redheaded girlfriends, she didn’t go around encouraging Harry to hex people just for the hell of it. Lily hadn’t much appreciated when the redhead girl accused Hermione of wishing Harry dead simply because she scolded him for almost killing another student. Such rash, proud, and careless actions had been the reason why Lily originally disliked her husband, and she couldn’t imagine her shame if at the next Dead Mothers Society meeting she had to report that her son officially had a history of attacking fellow students for the fun of it.
“Anything wrong, Miss Evans?” rang a clear, male voice.
Lily turned around, startled, and found herself facing her old headmaster. “Professor Dumbledore!” she exclaimed, regaining her ability to breathe. “You surprised me. And it hasn’t been Miss Evans for years, Professor.”
“Forgive an old man for his bouts of nostalgia,” Dumbledore smiled gently. “Now, what is bothering you, Miss Evans?”
Lily sighed. “It’s my son, Professor. He…”
“Is blind as a bat?” Dumbledore finished with a raise of an eyebrow.
“Yes!” Lily exclaimed, throwing up her arms. “I’m sure Ginny Weasley is a lovely woman, truthfully I know very little of her as I only observed my son’s life, but I wish Harry would hurry up and recognise that his soul mate, for lack of a better and less clichéd term, is sitting right across from him!”
“Ah, well, I’ve found that all young men and women have trouble appreciating what has been there all along. But I think you have little to fear, Miss Evans.”
“It’s just so frustrating, Professor. I had such high hopes back in his fifth year when he was unconsciously choosing Hermione over that crying Cho girl. I thought for certain he’d come to his senses after the whole ministry debacle, no offense, Sir,” Lily added.
“Oh, none taken, Miss Evans. Debacle it was.”
“But then he comes back for his sixth year and suddenly he’s chasing after that Ginny Weasley girl like a sick puppy! And above all I really do want Harry to be happy, and if Ginny is the right woman for him, then I’ll let it go. But…” Lily bit her lip and sighed. “I’m just so sure that she’s not right for him. She’s feeding his ego and letting him forget about his past, but he needs someone who will balance out his rash tendencies and will help him cope with the tragedies that have occurred, not help him ignore everything.” Lily shook her head. “I only wish there was something I could do.”
“Miss Evans, how long have you been up here?” Dumbledore asked, eyes twinkling.
“Well sixteen years, I suppose,” Lily answered offhandedly. “Why?”
“We’re all allowed to break a rule or two every once in a while,” Dumbledore answered vaguely. “I think no one would begrudge you for doing so now. Not that I condone interfering with the lives of the living, but alas, I have no control over your actions, Miss Evans.”
Lily’s eyes widened as she began to comprehend what the professor was saying. “You mean I should…”
“I mean nothing, Miss Evans,” Dumbledore replied as he walked away. “It is all in your hands.”
Lily frowned. Dumbledore couldn’t mean what she thought he did, could he? Banishing the thought with a shake of her head, she returned to her son.
“Think about it, Hermione,” Harry was saying now. “I mean she’s great at sports, Quidditch especially, she certainly knows how to have fun, she’s got a – how did you describe it before? – spitfire personality, and she’s— ”
“The carbon copy of you?” Hermione asked with a raise of her eyebrow.
“No she’s not!” Harry exclaimed, and then he stopped and thought on this comment for a moment. “Is she?”
“Oh, Harry,” Hermione said with a sigh, reaching over to squeeze Harry’s hand gently. “Yes, she is. She’s a wonderful girl, you know I think highly of her, but…”
“She’s the female version of me,” Harry finished, realisation dawning on his face. Hermione nodded sympathetically, letting go of his hand and leaning back against the couch. “I just…I mean…she is, isn’t she?” Harry asked incredulously. “I’ve been dating…me. How sick is that?”
“Well I was personally always more disturbed by the fact that she looked so much like your mother,” Hermione offered offhandedly. “I suppose the Oedipus myth always gave me quite a fright as a young girl.”
“Oh Merlin, she does look like my mother!” Harry cried, quickly becoming overwhelmed.
“Well, save for the eyes, of course,” Hermione said quickly, hoping to calm Harry’s nerves. She gave a small laugh and then added, “Which is a bit ironic, isn’t it, given the fact that you—” Harry’s glare cut off Hermione, who quickly suppressed her smile and looked down at her hands. “Er, sorry. I suppose that was going too far.”
Harry groaned, burying his face in his hands. “What am I going to do?” came his muffled voice.
“What do you think you should do?” Hermione asked gently.
Harry picked up his head and stared at Hermione. “I know, I know,” he answered in reply to Hermione’s intense stare. “It’s just…”
“Not easy giving up something so comfortable?”
Harry nodded sullenly.
“I’m sure you’ll figure it out,” Hermione assured him, offering him a comforting smile. She looked down at her watch and screamed. “Oh Merlin, I’m going to be late for Ancient Runes! Oh, Harry, I’m so sorry. We’ll talk more on this later, all right? You have free time before dinner, don’t you?”
Harry nodded once more as he watched Hermione race through the portrait hole. As he glumly looked around the room, Dumbledore’s words repeated in Lily’s mind. If he was right…if she could really get away with interfering… But the trouble she could cause, that she could get in… Oh, screw the consequences! She had to do something about her son.
“Why isn’t Ginny right for me?” Harry asked no one in particular. “I mean I know why she isn’t, but…why?”
Lily leaned down until she was just above her son’s head. Placing her hands around her mouth she said in a loud whisper, “Because you don’t love her.” She prayed that this would work.
Harry frowned as Lily’s voice permeated his thoughts, and Lily gave a sigh of relief. Clearly she had succeeded. “But she’s perfect. Every guy loves her. Why can’t I just love her too and be done with it?”
Lily couldn’t help but roll her eyes. It was nice to know that her son was such a romantic. Nevertheless she leaned back down and told him, “Because you’re in love with Hermione Granger.”
Harry blinked a few times, trying to understand this notion. “I’m…what?” he asked the empty room, wondering why his sub-conscious had decided to reveal this incredibly important piece of information now.
“You’re in love with your best friend,” Lily repeated, a little urgently. The butterflies were starting to flutter across her stomach. Please let this work. Please.
Harry laughed. “That’s just ridiculous. She’s Hermione, for Merlin’s sake. I mean…she’s Hermione!”
Lily sighed. Clearly this would take a little more convincing. “At the end of the day, which girl do you want there by your side?”
Harry considered this question. “Well, Hermione,” he admitted. “But that doesn’t mean I’m in love with her does it? Just because I’d rather be with her than my girlfriend doesn’t mean I have feelings for her.”
The words, “Yes it does,” was on the tip of Lily’s tongue when Harry beat her to it.
“Oh Merlin,” he said, eyes suddenly widening in understanding. “I…I’m in love with Hermione Granger! I’m in love with Hermione Granger!” He jumped up and commenced pacing nervously across the common room. “How is this possible?” he yelled up at the ceiling.
Lily could only smile. Sure, her son would spend the next few days examining every little aspect of his relationship with Hermione and wondering if she felt the same way, but at least now he was on the right road, a road that would ensure him happiness…and save his poor mother from suffering a post death coronary.
“How was you day, Lils?” a familiar voice asked. Lily’s grin widened as she felt her husband stand behind her and wrap his arms around her.
“Wonderful, actually,” Lily replied. “I think I finally straightened out Harry’s life.”
“You finally convinced him that he should stop with the seeker nonsense and become a chaser?” James asked hopefully.
Lily turned around and gave James a light slap on the arm. “No, I did not, you prat. I made him see what was always right in front of him.”
James stared blankly, and Lily sighed. “Never mind,” she said in a resigned voice. “What were you up to all afternoon?”
James’s face lit up like it was Christmas. “Oh, Lily, it’s brilliant! Padfoot and I are planning a huge celebration for when Moony finally gets off his lazy arse and joins us up here.”
It was Lily’s turn to stare blankly. “I love you, James,” she told her husband, “but sometimes, and I mean this in the kindest way, sometimes you make very little sense.”
James shrugged. “I suppose it’s more of a marauder thing.”
“Suppose indeed,” Lily agreed, and she turned her attention back to her son, who was still agonising over his newest revelation. She couldn’t suppress her smirk.
Yes, Lily Evans Potter hated being dead. But she had to admit, every now and then it had its advantages.