Chapter 5 : It's Just a Bloody Date
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Harry fell with a thud onto the crumbling floor and lay motionless for a few moments. It had been odd to watch his mother and father like that. He was amazed in a way that his mother had agreed to date him. He knew that they would eventually end up together, or else he wouldn't be in existence, but it was still odd to him considering what he had witnessed in Snape's Pensieve in the previous year.
He looked again to the jewelry box and without thinking, grabbed another letter and quickly opened it, subconsciously bracing for the lurching feeling he knew was going to come.
"Lily, I am so sorry-
He felt himself being ripped from the present and tossed again into a memory of the past. His head slammed into another hard glass pane but he did not find himself on the Knight Bus. He was in Honeydukes and there were students swarming all around him, picking candies and sweets from the bins, laughing, and generally acting as students do.
He looked around for anyone he recognized and to his delight he quickly spied his mother's deep auburn hair and hurried over to her, unaware in the mayhem of the swirling mass of students that he had dropped the letter.
"It is way too crowded in here!" she shouted over the din of laughter.
Harry looked around to see who she was talking to and immediately spied his father trying to squeeze past a few students to get closer to her.
"Do you want to get out of here?" he shouted back to her.
She screwed up her face and shot James a rather disgusting look like he has just said something suggestive.
"No I don't want any beer!" she shouted back, obviously having misheard James' statement, which made Harry snicker.
"No!" said James laughing. "I asked if you wanted to leave here!" he yelled just as a girl hit him in the back of the head with a box of Every Flavor Beans.
"What!" Lily shouted, still unable to hear him properly.
James finally pushed his way past the rampaging students and grabbed onto Lily's wrist and guided her from the shop.
"What was that you said about beer?" Lily asked, completely bewildered.
"I asked- oh nevermind. Did you think I wanted to get you drunk on our first date or something?"
"Well, it is you…" she said laughingly. "Oh, and since when is this a date? I thought it was just a Hogsmeade trip…"
"Well, then I suppose it's not a date then…" he said with a shrug of his shoulders.
"Everywhere is so crowded," she said, clearly trying to change the subject "I never knew Hogwarts had so many students… let alone so many immature students…" she said reproachfully, eyeing two boys who each had a girl sitting on their shoulders that were chicken fighting on the edge of the fountain.
James watched the students playing on the fountain's edge with a wistful look, clearly wanting to join them, but looked back over to Lily.
"Well, that place just opened up a month ago I think." He replied, pointing to a tiny little shop hidden behind a row of short, stubby trees.
"Madame Puddifoot's?" Lily questioned. "Yeah, sure, why not?"
They walked into the little tea shop and looked around suspiciously. Harry slinked in just behind them and also glanced about the room warily. The name of Madame Puddifoot's held bad connotations with him, for he remembered all too well the scene with Cho back in February.
"It looks like a flamingo threw up in here." Lily remarked bluntly.
James eyed the abundance of pink and seemed to be thinking the same thing.
"Well, at least there aren't that many people here. It would be worse at the Three Broomsticks or at the Tipsy Tavern."
"Fair point." Lily remarked and they sat down in a small booth next to the window facing the fountain, and Harry snuck over to a table just behind them to be able to watch and listen.
"What can I get for you m'dears?" asked Madame Puddifoot, who Harry couldn't help but notice was a lot thinner than when Harry had last seen her.
"I'll take a coffee with two sugars please." Lily said politely.
"I'll have the same." James answered, not even looking over to her.
They sat in a comfortable silence for a little while as they waited for their coffee to arrive. They watched out from the window as students played in the crisp late winter air from the comforts of a steamy little coffee shop until at last their coffee arrived.
"Here you are. Let me know if you need anything else."
"Thanks." They both replied in unison.
As Lily was reaching over for the cream, she knocked her cup of scalding hot coffee into James' lap, causing him to jump in pain.
"Yow!" James howled.
"Oh!" Lily cried "I am so sorry. Let me-"
She didn't even finish her sentence before she began to try and wipe the hot coffee from his lap, her face growing a deeper and deeper shade of crimson as she scrubbed his robes with the little tea towel sitting on the edge of the table.
It was James' turn to blush furiously. Harry laughed hard at what he said next.
"Are you trying to get fresh with me Evans? I thought you said this wasn't a date…"
Lily jumped back in mortification, realizing she had just been scrubbing his lap. Harry began to feel weak from laughing so hard and was grateful that he was a void to the real world around him, but he also felt embarrassed for his mother.
"I-I-I…" she began, her face reddening to the likeness of a tomato.
"I'll be back. I'm just going to the bathroom…" he said, blushing deeply himself.
Lily stood there white as a ghost and thankfully she didn't seem to be aware that the few people who were in the shop were pointing and snickering at the scene they had just witnessed. Harry could sense that his father was embarrassed for his mother too, but for what happened next, James clearly had his own problems to be embarrassed about.
As he was walking to the bathroom, he wasn't paying much attention to exactly where he was walking because he was trying so hard not to laugh, and he slammed face first into the pole at the end of the bar.
Everyone who had been staring at Lily turned to see James hit the floor. He stood up very self-consciously and Lily shot him a look of humiliation which he thankfully didn't see. Harry watched with awkward laughter as James went into the bathroom and shut the door.
His mother stood by the abandoned table for a few moments before she tried to clean up the bit of coffee that had spilled onto the floor. Only then did Madame Puddifoot seem to notice that anything had happened at all and rushed over to Lily, scolding her for trying to clean up the mess when she could take care of it.
Harry watched her step back, refusing to stop apologizing for the mess she had made despite Madame Puddifoot telling her that it was alright. She continued to watch her clean up the mess for a moment before turning to the bathroom door. She walked over cautiously, as though afraid the door would burst open and was slowly about to knock on it, seemingly to ask if he was alright when James suddenly opened the door, slamming her hard in the face.
She squealed in pain and grabbed her face. The look on James' face was one of absolute horror. Harry knew that it was clear that his intention hadn't been to walk her around Hogsmeade and beat the tar out of her and embarrass her, but that was exactly what was happening.
"Are you alright! I am so sorry-" he gasped as Lily continued to clutch her face. "Let me see…" he gently pulled her hand away to expose her quickly bruising nose and cheeks.
Her nose was gushing out blood and James carefully tried to keep it from dripping on her with his hand. She was very near the point of tears and he tried to embrace her in a soft hug, but she seemed to go faint when she saw exactly how much blood was pouring out into James' hand.
"Hey, it's going to be ok. I've broken my nose loads of times. We'll just have to get you back to Hogwarts…"
"But you play Quidditch you idiot. You practically sign a piece of paper stating that you want your nose broken…" she wailed.
James reached into his pocket and tossed a galleon onto the bar and looked down at Lily who was still silently sobbing on his shoulder.
"Come on…" she let go of her to grab her purse sitting still in the little booth where the coffee had been spilled and a few napkins from the table, and then helped her walk out of the shop.
Harry followed quickly behind and trailed them to a small bench beneath a secluded tree.
He handed her the napkins and she began to gingerly wipe the blood from her face, looking disgusted and distraught as tears continued to pour down.
"I didn't mean to hit you in the face… I am so sorry." He pleaded.
She gave him a pained half-smile and said "Well, I did pour hot coffee in your lap. I guess I had it coming. I am so sorry about-" she cut off, too embarrassed to speak further on the subject of accidentally groping him.
He snickered. "It's ok. Happens all the time…"
"Really?" she sniffed.
"Well, no… do you want to catch one of the early carriages back to Hogwarts? Your face is looking pretty-"
"Don't say it." She laughed through her tears.
"Ok. I won't. Come on."
He grabbed her things and helped her to her feet and she smiled weakly at him. They were walking back to Hogsmeade station when they passed a group of very unpleasant people indeed, people that not only Harry recognized and loathed, but people that James more than obviously did too.
"Nice purse Potter." Snape sneered at the small bag in James' hand.
Harry looked anxiously back over to his father, unsure of what James would do. Surely he wouldn't start a fight right then and there with his mother standing nearby?
"Thanks…" he snapped back with a sarcastic and biting tone.
It clearly was taking everything he had to restrain himself from whipping out his wand and hexing the lot of them. Harry looked at his mother and she seemed impressed that James had contained himself so well.
Just as he was helping her into one of the carriages, Remus, Sirius, and Peter appeared from Zonko's, loaded down with packages.
"Hey, where are you two going? The day just started!" Sirius called out.
"We're going back to Hogwarts…" James called back.
Sirius eyed Lily's still darkening face and shouted "What'd you beat her up for?"
Lily rolled her eyes and was about to tell Sirius off when James motioned to her to sit down and not strain herself. Harry climbed into the carriage and sat on the opposite side of them. Lily had curled up in James' arms and rested her head on his shoulder, and James, while he did seem a little bit surprised by it, didn't seem to mind in the least.
She soon fell asleep to the rhythmic motion of the swaying carriages and Harry watched James look out the window at the passing snowy countryside and smile, seemingly lost in his own thoughts.
He pulled out his wand and again conjured up a slip of parchment and a quill and began to write as carefully as he could. Harry knew that his time in the memory was over as he spied that James' message began:
"Lily, I am so sorry-
The familiar jerk behind his navel struck him once again, and he was lost to the past and arrived again in Godric's Hollow with a clearer understanding of his father.
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