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Chapter 6 : Home for the Holidays Part 2
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Furious with myself for depending on Remus, Pettigrew, Black, and Potter, I started to rouse myself to go back upstairs and unpack my things. However, just as soon as I took one step out of the room, a loud crash sounded from within it. I dashed back inside to find that none other than Sirius Black had just exploded from my fireplace and had broken my mother’s heirloom china.
“Ow! Bloody bugger it!” he yelped grievously. He started to regain his composure and made to stand up again when a second Marauder – James as it turned out – came flying out of the grate and onto his companion.
“OW!!! BLOODY BUGGER IT!!!” he reiterated upon finding himself flattened by his best friend. “GEROFF ME, PRONGS!” he commanded loudly.
There was much shuffling and swearing as I watched from the doorway with crossed arms and a death glare waiting for the remissive trespassers. Once the two of them finally made their way around to standing back up again, a third, considerably more graceful figure emerged from the fireplace. Remus surveyed the scene before him with an un-surprised dismay. With a seemingly experienced sweep of his wand he righted the overturned room before turning to me with embarrassed apology apparent on his face.
“I am so sorry about this, Lily,” he told me sheepishly. “I really can’t take them anywhere. The china is as good as new, I promise.”
“Have you any idea what time it is, Remus?” I demanded stonily.
He winced, ashamed. “Yes, we’re all sorry about that one. The flu network was being difficult about connecting your fireplace. James’s parents were absolutely livid. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Colleen quite like that, even with all of the mayhem that these two buffoons generally cause. It took a great deal longer to accomplish than we had originally planned, and well, here we are an hour late.
“And you couldn’t have let me know this?” I asked, feeling mostly assuaged but wanting to give the boys just a little more grief.
“If we’d sent my owl to you, we would’ve made it to you before he did anyways,” James answered. “We’re really sorry, but we’re here now!”
“Mostly,” I observed. “Where’s Peter?”
“He stayed behind with my parents,” James replied. “We didn’t want to over-crowd you…Or at least, Remus said we shouldn’t.”
“And I was absolutely right.” Remus sent the other two a disparaging look. “I shouldn’t have let these two come along as it is. They can’t seem to refrain from causing mayhem for even five minutes.”
“It’s a gift,” Sirius claimed with a nonchalant shrug.
This made my stiff demeanor crack and I laughed just a little bit. “I’d call it more of a curse if you were to ask me,” I said.
“Yes, Lily darling, but nobody did ask you,” Sirius told me. I scoffed. “Let’s be off then!”
“Ladies first,” said James, taking my things from me. “We’ll be right behind you,” he assured me.
“I was afraid of that,” I muttered, stepping into the grate.
“Correction,” Remus interjected, “I will be right behind you.”
“Actually, Remus, I’d appreciate it if you came last, you know, to make sure that James and Sirius don’t break my house.”
Remus chuckled. “Maybe that is a good idea,” he agreed.
“Peter and my parents will be waiting for you on the other end,” James informed me. “We’ll see you in a few minutes.”
“Yes, that’s all well and good, but I haven’t any flu powder,” I said, just realizing this hitch in the plan myself.
James and Sirius exchanged a frantic look. “Did you –“
“No, I thought you –“
“Neither of you, obviously,” Remus stated dryly. “Once again,” he added to me, “I can’t take them anywhere. We’ll have to apparate back.”
“Er, why didn’t you just apparate here in the first place?” I inquired.
“None of us have ever been here before, so it wasn’t really safe to apparate. We can apparate back with no problem. You’ll just have to go side-long with one of us,” Remus explained.
At the last part of Remus’s statement, James shoved my things into Sirius’s arms, or rather, his stomach. Sirius barely caught my luggage before it tumbled to the floor, and sent a glare in James’s direction.
“Side-long appariton is really easy. All you have to do is hold my hand. And don’t let go,” James told me eagerly.
I regarded James skeptically for a moment before looking to Remus for verification. “Best just to get it over with,” he told me. “Unless you’d rather I went with you, but then I couldn’t guarantee that you’d find your house in one piece when you come back.”
“Or I could go with you,” Sirius offered.
“Oh, that’s all I need, for something to go wrong and then end up stuck to you again,” I protested. Sirius chortled. “It’s alright, Remus. It’ll only take a second, and I’m more concerned about my house’s well-being than that of my own.”
“You’re just so trusting, Lily,” said James sarcastically. “Come on, you.” He held out his hand for me to take. After only a slight hesitation, I crossed to him to accept his proffered hand. “Hold on tight,” he ordered with a big grin before he turned on the spot and dragged me into nothingness with him.
I very rarely apparated and/or disapparated, so I was still fairly un-accustomed to the discomfort of the whole ordeal. I could feel myself slipping away from James, so I tightened my grip on his hand. He squeezed mine in response.
It seemed ages – though in reality it was just a few seconds at most – before the nauseating pressure alleviated and I found myself standing in a rather large sitting room. Three people were crowded vigilantly around a grand fireplace. One of them I recognized: Peter. I assumed that the other two were James’s mother and father.
At our arrival, they turned to us. The man, James’s father, raised a suspicious eyebrow. “I was under the impression,” he said, “that you would be coming from that general direction.” He gestured casually to the grate behind him.
“So were the rest of us,” James told her, “but Sirius forgot to bring the flu powder along, so we adopted plan B.”
As if on cue, Sirius and Remus popped into existence at our sides.
“You were in charge of taking the flu powder along, James dear,” the woman, James’s mother pointed out matter-of-factly.
“Ha!” Sirius exclaimed triumphantly. “I knew it was your fault, Prongs!”
“Er, Lily, why are you trying to squeeze James’s hand off?” Peter asked curiously.
I suddenly realized that I had not yet relinquished my death grip on James’s hand. Mortified, I immediately let go. Not as quick to drop my hand, James smiled down at me before pulling me forward by it.
“Mum, Dad, this is Lily Evans. Lily, these are my parents Adam and Colleen,” James introduced us.
James’s father pulled my hand from James and pulled me into a crushing hug. “Welcome, Lily! We are so pleased to finally meet you,” he greeted me exuberantly.
Before I could stammer out a response, I found myself being passed to a far gentler grip. “James has nothing but good about you, and he certain hasn’t spoken of much else all day,” James’s mother informed me, holding me at arm’s length in order to look me over.
“It’s nice to meet you, too,” I told them both. “Thank you for having me.”
“Oh, it’s no trouble. No trouble at all,” Adam Potter assured me. He reminded me quite strongly of James in the way he spoke and held himself.
“Certainly not,” Colleen agreed. “I just hope that my boys didn’t give you too much trouble. They’ve surly given you plenty of grief at school as it is.” It surprised me more than a little that she referred to Sirius, Remus, and Peter so casually as her own sons. What a selfless, undiscriminating woman she must be. Having gotten to know James a little better lately, I was sure that he had learned his unfailing loyalty from his mother.
“Well, James and Sirius did partially demolish the parlor when they exploded out of my fireplace, but Remus managed to put everything back in order,” I admitted.
“Why does this not surprise me?” Colleen wondered aloud. She turned to James solemnly. “The five of you will stay on this level of the house while Lily is here with us. Do you understand me?”
“Yes’m,” he replied strangely humbly. It tickled me to know that there was a woman in existence that could make James Potter behave.
“Very well then. You kids have fun. Adam and I will be…around,” she told us before she left the room hand in hand with her husband.
“Wow,” said Sirius. “They adored you,” he told me.
“They adore all of you,” I replied. “I like you parents,” I told James.
“And, as Padfoot already said, they liked you as well. Now let’s go wreak some havoc!”
I don’t know how they did it, but somehow, those boys talked me into playing truth or dare. I, of course, added my own stipulations: I refused to kiss any of them, take off any article of clothing other than my socks, describe any undergarments I was and/or was not wearing, and many other restrictions.
The Marauders didn’t mess around when playing truth or dare. They broke out the Veritaserum, and everyone was charmed so that they would suffer some unsightly consequence should they refuse to complete a dare. Finally, after all of my restrictions were in place and we’d all had a dose of the truth-telling potion, the game began. The boys mostly attacked me, and I tried to retaliate as best as I could.
“Remus. Truth or dare?” I asked.
“…Truth.” It was his typical response. I had been working up the courage the entire game to ask him what I was about to.
“Are you…Are you a werewolf?”
There was complete silence. I knew the answer before he said anything just because of the unprecedented caution that had flooded the room. I had wondered about Remus’s condition since our first year at Hogwarts, but I had never had the courage to confront him about it.
“I think you already know, Lily,” he finally answered cautiously.
I couldn’t think of anything to say to his evasive confirmation, so I simply crossed over to him and hugged him.
“Thank you,” he whispered to me. I squeezed him just a little tighter in response before letting him go.
I didn’t have to ask whether or not the others knew. That would’ve been a waste of Veritaserum. So instead, I let the game continue and waited for my next turn.
“James. Truth or dare?”
“Dare.” He said definitively.
“I dare you to switch to your animagus form,” I said, taking a gambol.
All of them stared at me blankly for a moment. “How did you –“
“A guess,” I replied, cutting him off. “The four of you disappear together once a month, and it seemed the only viable way that the three of you would come back alive. Plus your nicknames are somewhat telling.”
“Lily,” James began very unnaturally soberly, “you can’t tell anyone about this. You know that, right?”
“Of course,” I assured him. “Now show me, Prongs.”
The next thing I knew there was a stag in my face. It crossed my mind briefly that he was very pretty, and I almost reached out to stroke my hand down his nose. I managed to stop myself before I could do so. “Very impressive, James.”
I used my next two turns to demand that Peter and then Sirius display their animagi. Sirius was the latter of the two, and after turning from his dog form back to a human, he said, “Am I the only one who thinks this game is getting just a little too serious? Let’s liven it up a bit. Lily. Truth or dare? Don’t say truth!”
“Um…dare?” I said uncertainly, instantly regretting my choice.
“Excellent. I dare you to drink a bottle of firewhisky!”
I’m not one hundred percent sure what all happened after I finished struggling through my bottle. I’m certain that I was a very bad drunk, and that I was very drunk indeed. I vaguely remember singing “Auld Lang Sine” very loudly and obnoxiously at the dawning of the new year. Then I grabbed a hold of the nearest Marauder – it just so happened to be Remus – and planted a smacking kiss on his mouth.
Other than that, no, I am not one hundred percent sure exactly how I heralded in the new year.
It wasn’t very long after a very drunken Lily’s mouth attacked a very sober and surprised Moony’s that she passed out cold. It didn’t take me very long to decide whether or not I was jealous of Moony for kissing – or rather, being kissed by – the love of my life. It surprised me that I actually wasn’t. For one thing, I was certain, judging by Moony’s astounded expression, that he was not interested in the slightest. For another, Lily was so drunk that I doubted she would clearly remember the event. Whenever I got around to kissing Lily, I was determined that she would remember it.
I took Lily home myself and immensely enjoyed having the privilege of seeing Lily’s bedroom. After setting a vial that Remus had given me of hangover relief potion and a note explaining what it was, I took a moment to just watch my Lily sleep.
I was making progress. I wondered to myself why I hadn’t thought to change tactics sooner. We may not have been together yet, but we kept getting closer. Sooner or later, we’d mean enough to each other that I would be able to convince her to give me a chance.
A/N: Thanks sooooo much to all you die-hards who have been putting up with my extreme writer's block and sticking this story out with me. At least I didn't wait a whole year to update this time :/ Did you like it? Hate it? Either way, I'd like to know. I THRIVE on criticism!!!
Thanks for reading!
P.S. Sorry about the "truth or dare" cliché :/
Disclaimer: It's J.K. Rowling. It's ALL J.K. Rowling. Not me.
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