Chapter 8 : Dark Realizations
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Maggie and Emmeline were sprawled almost sloppily across the large couch, while James poured smoking shot glasses full of fire whiskey. The three of them were apparently being entertained by an incredibly elaborate story that Sirius was telling about the giant squid at school, some fireworks, and an ice-covered lake.
Lily smiled sadly to herself before marching quietly over to the door and pulling on her coat, boots, and knapsack, now filled with her heavy healing books. She slipped out the door quickly, before anyone would notice that she was gone.
Lily paused in front of the door across the hall, considering knocking on it and asking Remus to let her steal his living room for the evening. Then she thought of the possibility of Sirius and Maggie returning in a drunken kissing frenzy.
“I’d rather not,” she whispered to herself, before turning on her heel and disapparating to the one place where she knew she could get a bit of quiet.
“Hullo Tom,” a dry voice sounded from beneath a black hood. “Mind if I get a table and a butterbeer in the back?” The toothy bartender smiled widely.
“Of course sir,” Tom said cheerfully, reaching beneath the bar and pulling out a butterbeer. “You can head on back as usual.” The hooded man nodded and took the butterbeer, turning and heading towards a large wooden door that led to the quieter back room of the bar. The room was filled with several small round tables, only a few of which were filled. Tom reserved that back area for the usuals when they needed some quiet.
At one of the tables sat a frazzled looking red-headed woman, her hair was wild, and held back with a yellow ribbon. Her table was covered with books and scattered papers. Her nose was only inches from the book nearest her, a highlighting quill in hand. She glanced up quickly at the hooded man that had just entered, and snorted loudly.
“Good evening Severus,” Lily said with a smirk. “You here to kill me?” She sat back in her chair in a haughty way, crossing her arms. Severus Snape pulled back his hood and took a seat across the table from the red-headed woman calmly.
“Don’t be ridiculous Lily,” Severus scolded, looking around the room suspiciously. “Am I not allowed to get a drink? Maybe say hello to an old friend?” Lily scoffed at this.
“I can hardly remember a time when you weren’t calling me a mudblood Severus, let alone a time when we were actually friends,” she seethed, leaning forward in her seat threateningly. Severus rolled his eyes and took a large sip of his butterbeer.
“Yes well I can hardly remember a time you weren’t shouting at Potter in the corridors, and yet you now are attached at the hip,” Severus said dryly. “Speaking of Potter, why isn’t he following you around like a lovesick puppy?” Lily snorted at this angrily and looked back to her work.
“Potter is drinking with Sirius and a couple of girls at our flat,” Lily said harshly, rubbing the scar along her neck furiously without thinking. “He’s a bit too distracted by a leggy brunette at the moment to be following me around London like a lovesick puppy, don’t you think?” She froze suddenly, realizing how much she was revealing to her enemy. She glanced back up at him with tear tinged eyes.
“You going to tell the Dark Lord my weaknesses now Severus?” she whispered sadly, still rubbing the scar along her neck. Severus watched her do this and flinched involuntarily, his face softening dramatically.
“Lily, if I could’ve done anything to stop what had happened to you,” he said softly, “I would have.” Lily rolled her eyes and looked to the wall clock.
“No,” Lily started as she flicked her wand, gathering her papers, books, and quills and sending them flying into her knapsack. “You wouldn’t do a thing Severus, because you are a coward.” She smiled meekly at this as she threw her knapsack over her shoulder. “Enjoy your butterbeer.” And with that, she disapparated, leaving a lonely cowardly man to ponder his actions.
Lily reappeared down the corridor from her front door. She winced slightly in disgust at the tangled couple currently leaning against her door. Lily cleared her throat loudly and averted her eyes as Sirius came up for air.
“Ssssorry Lils,” Sirius murmured out in a slur. “We were just on our way to Maggie’s. I’d wait a bit before going in there. James may be a bit preoccupied in the living room.” Maggie giggled and stumbled forward into Sirius, seemingly accidentally disapparating them both. Lily bit back tears, both from her encounter with Severus and her frustration with James, though she didn’t know why she was so frustrated. They weren’t together, so what did she care what he did with other women. Lily shook these thoughts out of her head and knocked lightly on the door across the hall from her own, knowing Remus would hear it. She heard some rustling from within the flat.
“Remus it’s Lily. I know about your furry little problem. Please just let me in,” Lily breathed out quickly, prompting Remus to swing open the door.
“Is everything alright Lily?” Remus asked with concern. Lily nodded quickly and slipped through the doorway.
“James has company and I was just hoping I could camp out on your couch for the night. I’ll be out early, I have an exam tomorrow,” Lily said quickly, biting her lip. Remus could clearly see that she was upset but didn’t interrupt her. “I just can’t listen to that all night.” She tilted her head to one side as a few stray tears streamed down her face. Remus nodded with a frown.
“Of course Lily,” he said comfortingly. “You don’t even have to ask. Let me just go grab you a few extra pillows and blankets.” Remus rushed from the room quickly, leaving Lily to sit alone in the dimly lit living room. She could only focus all of her energy on stopping her tears from flowing.
The door snapped shut, leaving James alone with this girl he hardly knew. Emmeline walked over to him sloppily, her heels long since broken and left astray somewhere in the dark room. She twirled one long piece of her dark brown hair around her finger and giggled, falling heavily into James’ lap. He never really liked brunettes.
“Looks like we’re allllll alone!” she breathed, leaning forward and kissing James’ neck. He could smell the firewhiskey on her breath. James shook his head roughly. He was a bit drunk, but not so much that he would resort to this particular temptation.
“Listen Emmeline, I really think I should get you home,” James said roughly, standing up quickly and placing the now pouting Emmeline back onto the couch. She crossed her arms in a huff.
“I don’t think you’re in any condition to apparate me anywhere,” Emmeline said haughtily. “I’m happy to stay on your couch instead.” James waved a dismissive hand in her direction.
“Fantastic, I’m off to bed then,” James said sleepily. “G’night.” He stumbled down the hall and stopped before Lily’s doorway in confusion. She never left the light on, or her door cracked open. James peered in and realized instantly that her bed was empty. He would have further worried considerably about this and tried to find her, but apparently too much firewhiskey finally caused him to black out quite suddenly.
Lily clutched her very large, nearly empty, cup of coffee as she trudged up the stairs heavily to her flat. Her exam had gone considerably well, despite her tremendous lack of sleep and concentration. She had hoped for a perfect score, but could settle for a ninety-seven percent. As she reached her corridor, Lily noticed a quite hungover looking Emmeline Vance leaving her flat just as she was reaching for her keys.
“Rough night?” Lily asked kindly, as Emmeline held open the door for her before she left. She laughed lightly at this before turning to head down the corridor.
“You have no idea,” Emmeline mumbled, before the door snapped shut behind Lily. She sighed deeply, dumping her knapsack on the nearest armchair and eyeing the messy living room. Butterbeer bottles were scattered across the floor and coffee table, along with two empty bottles of firewhiskey. Lily flicked her wand lazily, instantly returning the living room to its usual clean state, before heading down the hall for a much needed shower. Within ten minutes she was dressed in yet another set of pajamas, freshly showered, and rustling through the kitchen pantry for a piece of fruit.
“Lily you’re alright!” an even more hungover looking James groaned, leaning against the counter beside her. Lily rolled her eyes.
“Clearly,” she said sarcastically, deciding on a Clementine and exiting the kitchen. James rubbed his eyes and started the coffee machine before following after her.
“What’s wrong?” James asked questioningly as he reached Lily’s bedroom doorway. Lily shook her head and popped a piece of Clementine in her mouth, meanwhile picking up stray pieces of clothing off her floor.
“Nothing James,” Lily said quickly. “I studied all last night. I didn’t sleep well. I took my exam this morning. I’m tired and I’m going to go get some sleep. I suggest you take a hangover potion.” James scratched his head in slight confusion.
“Where were you last night?” he asked with a frown. Lily shrugged.
“I studied for a few hours at the Leaky Cauldron and slept on Sirius and Remus’ couch. Went straight to my exam this morning,” Lily said simply, avoiding his eye. She went over to her cabinet and rifled through it for a moment. James looked at her in confusion once again, as Lily handed him a vial filled with a bright red potion.
“For the hangover,” she said with a small smile. James only continued to frown.
“Lily I know you,” James started. “I know that something’s wrong. Why won’t you talk to me?” Lily shook her head slightly.
“There’s nothing wrong James, just need some sleep,” she said quickly. “Go eat something and take that alright?” James nodded in defeat and was barely out of her doorway when Lily snapped her door shut right in his face, leaving him dumbstruck in the corridor.
The next two days were completely silent between the two. Lily was a rare presence, but managed to show up for every meal without a word. Remus and Sirius clearly could see the tension between the two, but never spoke up about it. Even Mary, who could be incredibly blunt, kept her mouth shut. James was just rather helpless.
The situation was no different at the bi-weekly Order meeting that Friday. Lily stayed occupied helping Molly Weasley in the kitchen and chasing around her children. Bill was very well behaved for a seven-year-old, sitting in an overly large armchair reading a book, and watching Charlie and Nymphadora, both only five, sprint around the room shouting at each other about a toy wand that one had seemingly stolen from the other. Little Percy, barely two, clung to Lily’s shoulders as she lifted him up and away from the chaos of the two hyperactive children shooting around the room, watching in fear as he nearly was trampled.
“I’ve got you Perce don’t you worry,” Lily cooed tapping the toddler on his nose. He giggled loudly and grabbed at Lily’s cheeks with his little hands. Lily carried the little one back out to his uncles, who were each cradling six month old twins Fred and George. James watched her curiously, from his seat across the giant round table between Sirius and Remus. Emmeline was sitting with Maggie a few seats away and was blatantly ignoring him, but James really didn’t mind, or notice for that matter.
“Lily, would you mind helping me get the children herded into the back room?” Molly shouted over the noise. Lily’s room had been changed into the children’s play area during meetings once she had moved, making it a lot easier for Molly and Arthur to attend meetings with five children in tow. Lily nodded cheerfully and snagged the back of Charlie’s shirt as he attempted to run past her, in the opposite direction, again.
“You heard your mum Charlie,” Lily said pulling the struggling boy along with her. “Time to let the grownups chat.” Charlie crossed his arms with a pout.
“But Aunt Lily, Dora stole my wand!” Charlie whined. Lily sighed and snatched a cookie off a nearby platter.
“And now you have a cookie and she doesn’t,” Lily whispered, making Charlie grin widely and run off into the back room. James chuckled lightly to himself, not paying attention to the intense discussion Sirius and Remus were having about the Quidditch match that had been on last night. Lily was amazing with children, and the Weasleys considered her a part of the family without a second thought. She certainly had the red hair to match the lot of them. She’d make a good mum someday.
“Let’s settle down everyone!” Albus boomed, prompting the rest of the Order members to sit quickly in their seats. Lily stood leaning against the far wall, boring an intense gaze through the back of Peter’s head, which no one seemed to notice. “I’d like to start with status updates. Alice and Frank, how is it going in the Prime Minister’s office?” Alice stood from her seat with a wide smile.
“Frank and I are undercover in the Prime Minister’s office as interns,” Alice said cheerfully. “I am acting as an assistant to the Public Relations officer, and Frank is working as the Minister’s personal assistant. We just do coffee runs, make schedules. It’s not glamorous but it keeps us close. So far there has only been one occurrence. Apparently the Lestrange brothers thought it would be hilarious to blow up the Prime Minister’s car. Luckily, Frank caught sight of them and diverted his attention long enough to get him out of harm’s way. So far so good.”
“Thank you very much Alice,” Albus exclaimed cheerfully, clasping his hands together as Alice returned to her seat. “Next, Benjy Fenwick has a fascinating proposal regarding the Defense Department of Muggle Europe.” Benjy stood up anxiously and began to speak on tactics and weapons and so forth, but Albus heard very little of it. His abilities in Legilimens caused him to see, hear, feel any intense feelings another near him could feel. He knew when you lied, when you hurt so horribly, when you were terrified. His eyes briefly met the penetrating gaze of Lily Evans, causing him to instantly see all that she saw. Hear her voice mulling everything over. Flashes of the past.
My first day at Hogwarts. I was sitting at the Gryffindor table applauding my fellow first years as they were sorted. A squat boy named Peter Pettigrew waddled over to the table and introduced himself, laughing loudly in disbelief about actually getting into Gryffindor. That laugh. That laugh. That laugh.
Peter laughing at a Quidditch match the winter before graduation. Peter laughing at Sirius running through Diagon Alley in dog form. Peter laughing and laughing and laughing. The hooded death eater laughing at my pain. At my possible death.
He’s their friend. James. Remus. Sirius. Me. But he wants us all dead. He’s giving us up. He’s betraying us. He’s the spy.
Albus watched as Lily’s eyes flew back and forth, unfocused, glazing over. Her hands were gripped tightly together under her chin. She couldn’t believe the thoughts in her very own mind. She looked over to James and finally caught his gaze, after three long days of avoidance.
“I’m sorry,” she mouthed, her eyes still glazed over. James nodded with a small smile, but knew that something more was wrong. Something was horribly wrong.
“In conclusion, I plan to join the Defense Department and implement protective spells over major buildings, bridges, and landmarks, to protect more innocent muggle lives from Death Eaters,” Benjy finished, fidgeting anxiously. He was not one to speak before large groups. The rest of the room applauded lightly, prompting Albus to stand.
“Thank you very much Benjy, that was particularly enlightening,” Albus said, causing a few chuckles around the room. “Please speak with me tomorrow on this matter, so we can make arrangements for you. Peter are you still doing alright with your Department of Mysteries work?” Peter only nodded curtly. Albus sighed slightly and continued.
“Right, well that should be it for tonight. I will, however, need Lily, James, and Sirius to meet me back here tomorrow at noon. Also, Dorcas and Remus, you will have to come in at the same time to fill out paperwork regarding last weekend’s mission.” The latter four nodded, but Lily was still lost in her own head. “Off you go then!” The deafening sound of chairs scraping against the floor drowned out Lily’s quick movement around the table, to her place right behind Albus, and the whisper in his ear.
“Sir, I need to talk to you,” Lily whispered fearfully, her eyes still unable to focus on anything. Albus did not smile, but the twinkle in his eyes was clear.
“There is no need Lily,” he said quietly, taking one small glance at her confused face before turning to collect his papers and leave. Lily, still in a large amount of shock, rushed suddenly to the back room, opening the secret filing cabinet, pulling out several huge files, and apparating directly to her front door without a thought.
James watched Lily disappear quickly, her face unreadable. In a panic, he bid a quick goodbye to his three best mates, dodged an invite for drinks from Emmeline, for the second time that day, and disapparated on the spot. He reappeared in his kitchen, standing on a pile of papers. In the middle of the massive mess that took up most of the kitchen, sat Lily, her glasses pushed up her nose and a quill stuck between her teeth.
“Lily, what in Merlin’s name are you doing?” James asked in confusion, looking around. Lily shushed him. James frowned at this and leaned down closer to read the labels of every folder. McKinnons: Attack. Bones: Attack. Dorcas Meadowes: Abducted. Malfoy Manor: Raid Details. Known Death Eaters. Affiliations with Death Eaters. Evans: Attacked. Peter Pettigrew: Personal File.
James looked back to Lily’s vacant expression. She was mumbling to herself, scanning over page after page, boring her emerald eyes into every single word. James took a step towards her, sitting before her and pulling papers away from her.
“Lily tell me what you’re looking for,” James pleaded, but Lily shook her head roughly, scrambling to take her papers back. Tears were now streaming down her face. James dropped the papers behind him and gripped both of Lily’s shoulders. “Lily tell me.” His voice softened. “Please.” Lily gulped fearfully. Her fear was not of Peter. Not of the Dark Lord. Not of what had been going on for the past four months. She was afraid of breaking James’ heart, telling him that one of his closest friends was the one that had given them up. Betrayed them.
“Peter is the spy,” Lily choked out. “He’s the one that has been giving Voldemort information.” James released his grip on her, his eyes widened in disbelief.
“How could you say something like that?” he whispered. Lily let out a sob at the look on his face. It was one of borderline disgust.
“How could you think it was Remus?” Lily retorted, now gripping her own face, her voice growing more frantic. “Remus couldn’t do any of this because he didn’t know.” James shook his head slightly in confusion, cause Lily to only sob harder.
“No one knew,” she choked out again. “The only people who knew my parents’ location were me, you, Sirius, Albus, and Peter. He was the only one who could have given them away because he was the only one who knew.” Lily broke completely into uncontrollable tears.
“He’s picking us off,” Lily continued. “The McKinnons, the Bones, almost the Weasleys. Every attack gets closer and closer to us James.” She stopped suddenly and looked around the room in a panic.
“He knows where we live,” she whispered fearfully. “He knows our schedules. He knows everything.” Lily began to breathe heavily, more tears continued to stream down her face. “He can hand us over to Voldemort at any second.” James looked at her blankly, still shaking his head.
“It’s not true,” he said in a monotone, standing slowly. “It can’t be.” He retreated from the room and walked down the corridor. Lily winced as she heard his door slam. After a few moments of silence, Lily melted down further to the tiled floor, shaking roughly as she sobbed alone, in the middle of hundreds of signs pointing to Peter, none of which James was willing to believe.
Albus Dumbledore looked out over the Hogwarts grounds from his office balcony. The air was cool, a light wind bringing the smell of rain through the headmaster’s nostrils.
“Headmaster?” a voice sounded from across the room. Albus turned quickly, his robes swishing around him gracefully. Before him stood a rather small teenager, with jet-black hair and familiar grey eyes. He eerily resembled a frightened rabbit being hunted down by a fox. He held out his hand.
“Sir, I have something for you.” Albus frowned slightly and took several steps forward, noticing the Dark Mark etched black in the boy’s skin. In his hand, he held a locket, or what used to be one. It was now a scorched piece of silver metal and chain. Albus looked back to the boy.
“There is much to tell you sir,” Regulus Black said with a half-smile. Albus’ eyes moved between the locket held in his outstretched hand, and his cold grey eyes.
“Very much indeed,” he said simply.
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