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Chapter 3 : Chapter Three
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In which Lily argues with Severus and runs into a distressed James
“Are you sure you don’t want us to come with you?”
“No, no, it’s fine. You go on, I’ll catch up later.”
Lily waved goodbye to her friends in the entrance hall as they headed out to Hogsmeade for a full day of Christmas shopping - starting the holidays out right, as they said - then turned and started up the stairs towards Gryffindor tower. Much as she loved to walk around Hogsmeade when it was snowy and as perfect as a Christmas ornament, she had most of her shopping already done and had promised to write to her father. If she was lucky she would be able to join her friends for lunch, and enjoy the rest of the day with them.
As she came up the stairs she looked around at the castle’s decorations, admiring the glittering beauty of it all. Usually she went home for the holidays, so it was a rare treat for her to see the castle all done up and take it all in without having to worry about hurrying to class or to the library to get her homework done, or her duties as Head Girl. Or, for that matter, having to tolerate the Head Boy with whom she shared the majority of those duties.
‘Tolerate’ was perhaps not the right word any more, she mused as she came up to the third floor. While her heart had initially sunk after finding out just who the Head Boy was, to his credit James did seem to have grown up over the summer. He spent less time boasting about his Quidditch prowess and getting up to mischief with Black, and more time studying and setting an example for the younger students. Yes, his ego had definitely shrunk, and he was fulfilling his role as Head Boy well - even admirably. What hadn’t changed was the constant teasing, and flirting and trying to persuade her to go out with him.
The flirting had started at the beginning of third year, but both Potter and Black flirted with most of the girls in their year so she hadn’t taken him seriously. Then, at Hallowe’en, he had asked her out for the first time. Just casually, grinning, ‘Want to go out with me, Evans?’, as if it were the simplest thing in the world. She had blushed, snapped ‘No!’, and walked off. And somehow that had become their routine. He kept asking, every chance he got, and she kept turning him down. Even if he hadn’t been a flirt and a troublemaker, his conceit and bullying ways had been enough to put her off.
Over time she had noticed that he had paid less and less attention to other girls, and more to her. The other girls in the year bemoaned the fact that he had stopped dating anyone else. It didn’t matter, Lily told herself. It didn’t matter that he seemed to be serious about her. It didn’t matter that she had begun to notice that he was, in fact, quite handsome. He was still an arrogant toerag that she wanted nothing to do with.
Then, in fifth year, both she and Remus Lupin had been made Gryffindor Prefects. It had always puzzled Lily how the thoughtful, intelligent tawny haired boy could be best friends with people like Potter and Black. She used their forced time together as Prefects to try and figure it out. To her surprise, listening to Remus talk about them, it seemed that despite their faults Potter and Black were good and caring friends. It made her look at them a bit differently - though not enough for her to forgive their picking on students not lucky enough to be their friends. But James kept asking her out, all through their OWLs and all through sixth year. Every time she saw him it seemed he had thought of another reason why she should give him a chance. It frustrated her beyond belief.
It might not have been quite so irritating if not for that damnable, charming smile he always wore around her, and the way her heart involuntarily seemed to speed up whenever she saw it.
And then there had been the last few months. When James had appeared on the train sporting the shiny, silver Head Boy badge, quiet despair had washed over her. But working alongside him, seeing him in the role ... she could see he had matured and that, as Remus had said, he was at heart a good person. They weren’t friends, exactly, not yet, but she could honestly say she respected him now. And it was getting harder and harder to think of reasons why she shouldn’t give him a chance ...
Lost in her thoughts, she had walked straight into someone on the stairs up to the sixth floor, and their elbow had clouted her on the head. Rubbing the sore spot, she took a step back.
“Sorry, I didn’t see you --”
Startled, she looked upwards. The boy she had bumped into was tall and thin, pale skinned with a hooked nose. His black hair fell lankly to his shoulders, and he was staring at her with intense dark eyes.
She stood awkwardly, not sure what to say to her former best friend. It wasn’t often they spoke at all these days. After she had avoided him in the hallways and ignored him in classes the previous year, he’d finally started leaving her alone. Now he looked equally lost for words, shifting nervously from foot to foot, finally muttering, “I thought you normally went home for the holidays?”
“Not this year.”
It was true, she usually did return home from the holidays. Usually she and her father decorated the tree together, laughing, and hung up the stockings, while her sister stiffly provided dinner and some stilted conversation. This year, however, Petunia had moved in with her fiancé and, to celebrate, they were hosting Christmas at their house. Lily’s father had gone to stay with them for the few weeks of the holidays. For their father’s sake Petunia had extended an invitation to Lily, but had made it quite clear neither she nor her fiancé wanted her there. Lily had therefore tactfully declined, claiming she had a lot of studying to do and could get more done at school. She had promised to write her father, though, and it was for that reason that she was now headed to Gryffindor tower.
Stepping forward, she started to move past Severus. “I should go.”
“Lily --” He put a hand out as though to try and stop her, but Lily shook her head.
“Lily, please --”
“No, Sev. We’ve been through it all before.”
She quickened her pace, determinedly not looking back so he wouldn’t see the few tears she had to blink from her eyes. Even after two years, it still hurt her to be so callous towards him - he had been her best friend for years, since before they had started Hogwarts, and despite everything she would always care what happened to him. But it had become harder and harder to be his friend as they grew older and he fell deeper into darkness. She had tried so hard to pull him out of it, but he just wouldn’t let her.
And then had come that awful incident at the end of their OWLs, and he had made the decision for her. It was time to let go.
As she reached the seventh floor she heard footsteps hurrying up the steps after her.
“If you would just listen!”
“I have listened!” She whirled round to face him, eyes blazing. “I’ve done nothing but listen - to your apologies, your excuses. When are you going to start listening to me? My mind hasn’t changed!”
Wanting just to get away from Severus, she turned and started walking along the seventh floor corridor. For a brief moment she thought he had given up, then she heard his footsteps behind her again and soon his long-limbed stride meant he had caught up and was walking beside her. Fuming, angry and upset, Lily did her best to ignore him.
“Go away, Severus.”
“Please what, Sev?”
Lily stopped abruptly in the middle of the corridor, turning to face him. He stared down at her with an expression of mingled despair and longing, and she felt a surge of anger that he was putting her through this again. That they were having the same argument, which would never have a different ending. That she was forced to be cruel and feel like the mean one, again.
“Please will I watch while you pal around with Death Eaters who do evil things to people, and not say anything? Please will I let you say awful things about muggleborns like me, and pretend that because it’s not me that it’s okay? Please will I watch you join the ranks of You-Know-Who and still be your friend? I can’t do that, Sev!” She saw the pain in his eyes, but couldn’t bring herself to feel sorry for him. Not this time. He had made his choice, and she had made hers. “You won’t change. And neither will I.”
A heavy silence fell between them, in which they stood staring at each other, or glaring, in Lily’s case. Several times Severus opened his mouth as though he was about to say something, then seemed to think better of it. Finally he simply looked down at the ground. Lily watched him folding her arms so he wouldn’t see her hands shaking. She had nothing left to say to him, but she needed him to walk away first this time. She needed him to let go.
However, a sudden, anguished shout from a room nearby made them both jump.
“I SAID NO!”
Lily whirled around to see a door, which she was almost positive hadn’t been there before, slamming open, and James Potter striding angrily out - only to stop dead when he saw her. He looked as if he had received terrible news. His was face was pale, his body trembling slightly. All his usual confidence seemed to have seeped out of him. But it was the shock and distress in his eyes as he looked down at her that frightened her the most.
“James, please, it’s probably not real --” Remus had followed him, but broke off when he saw Lily. He, too, looked stunned and upset. Behind both of them, she could also see Sirius still halfway inside the room, expression as black as his name.
“Evans ...” James’ voice was hoarse.
She took a tentative step towards him. “Potter? What’s wrong?”
He opened his mouth to speak, but Sirius’ voice cut harshly across. “Prongs. Come on. It’s not real, mate.”
James looked over his shoulder at his friends, both of whom beseechingly shook their heads. Watching, Lily frowned, wondering what on earth could have shaken James so badly and why the other two would be begging him to keep it a secret - especially if, as they said, whatever it was wasn’t real. Then, abruptly, James head snapped back round to her as if he had made a decision. There was a sudden, strange anxiety in his face that made her feel nervous.
“What’s your sister called?” he asked, urgency in his voice.
Lily stared. “What?”
“Your sister. What’s her name?”
“Petunia. Why --”
“Does she have a boyfriend?” James cut across her question.
Utterly confused, Lily just looked at him for a moment. Behind him, she noticed Remus and Sirius edging closer, watching her intently as though her answer was of the utmost importance. She looked between the three of them, then slowly nodded.
“A fiancé, actually ... they’re getting married in the summer.”
“What’s his name?” His brusque tone surprised her. Usually James was nothing other than charming around her.
“Her fiancé?” He nodded. “Vernon.”
James shook his head. “What’s his last name?”
“Dursley.” Annoyance had begun to creep into her tone, and her expression made it clear she wasn’t going to answer any more questions until she started getting some answers of her own. “What’s going on, Potter? Why are you suddenly so interested in my sister’s love life?”
But James wasn’t listening. He, Sirius and Remus were all staring at each other as if sharing some sort of private revelation, one which seemed to have unsettled them even further. None of them seemed to hear as she asked again what was wrong. Already exasperated and on edge from her confrontation with Severus, the frustration Lily felt finally began to boil over.
“POTTER!” she shouted, causing James to look around at her in shock. He seemed to have forgotten she was there. “What is going on!?”
James hesitated, then glanced at his friends. “She should know ... she has to know.”
The other two boys looked at each other, then at her, seeming to be silently debating something. Lily drummed an irritated tattoo on her arm as she waited for them to decide whether or not she could be trusted. Then, finally, Remus slowly nodded, but held a hand up when James opened his mouth to speak.
“In here.” He indicated the still open doorway.
James nodded, and they retreated back into the room they’d come out of. Lily rolled her eyes, but, curious despite her, followed. The room, she found, looked something like a common room, neat and cosy. She was sure she had never seen it before. As she came through the door Sirius glanced over and a look of mingled disgust and anger came over his face.
“What are you doing here?”
Lily blinked in surprised, and was about to offer a sharp retort when she realised Sirius was looking not at her but behind her. Turning, she realised Severus had followed her inside.
“They’re acting strangely,” he said bluntly, not bothering to lower his voice. “I don’t think you should be alone with them.”
Sirius scoffed. “Right. Because she’ll be much safer with a muggleborn hater like you, Snivelly.”
Severus flushed angrily.
“I would never --” he started, but James cut across him.
“It doesn’t matter. Let him stay.”
Both Lily and Severus stared at him in shock. Whatever it was that had upset him, it was clearly something big, if he didn’t care about Severus’ presence. Lily couldn’t even fathom what it might be. She stepped forward, looking at him questioningly. He didn’t say anything, but reached down to pick up a slim book she hadn’t noticed on the floor and held it out to her. Hesitantly she took it, and when he nodded in encouragement she looked down to read the title.
“‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’?”
“Look at the publishing date.”
Curious, she opened the cover and traced her finger down the first page to the publishing details. Severus had come up behind her shoulder, so she held it out so he could see.
“Nineteen ninety seven? Surely that’s just a mistake?”
“We ... don’t think so,” Remus answered. Lily looked up at him, frowning. He looked serious, and he wasn’t the type to believe in something like this lightly. “It seems to be about the future. Our future.”
Looking at the three Gryffindor boys, Lily couldn’t decide if she believed them or not. This might just be another one of their elaborate jokes. A book from the future ... there was an element of the ridiculous to it. She was dubious, to say the least. “So this Harry Potter ...?”
“Is my son,” James said softly.
Severus, who had been watching James, narrowed his eyes. “And I suppose Lily’s his mother?”
It was on the tip of Lily’s tongue to scold Severus, but the words died as James blushed a brilliant shade of crimson. His eyes flashed angrily as Severus’ lips curved into a scornful, self satisfied smile.
Lily felt herself flushing with a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance. So James and his friends had found a book about their future, which coveniently said she was married to him? It must just be another one of their idiotic jokes, then. She was surprised Remus was playing along, though.
“It says that my wife, that Mrs Potter,” James said, voice tight and hands clenched into fists by his sides, “has a sister called Petunia Dursley. Look!”
He snatched the book back out of Lily’s hands and flicked forward several pages. Then he shoved it back at her, pointing at one of the paragraphs. Lily slowly looked down, but was unable to make sense of the words she was reading. Mr Dursley ... Petunia ...
“I suppose it also says you marry Lily and live happily ever after?” Severus spat, face contorted with hatred.
“IT SAYS WE’RE DEAD!”
The silence that descended over the room was dreadful. James looked as if he wished he could bite his tongue off, and Severus turned as pale as the other boys. Not that this was noticed by Lily, who was staring, horribly transfixed, at the book in her hands. She felt as if there were tight bands about her chest, making it difficult to breathe. When she finally managed to lift her head to look at them, her green eyes were narrowed to suspicious slits.
“Is this some kind of sick joke?”
“Do we look like we’re laughing?” Sirius asked.
All of them, it was true, looked distraught. The frown line in Remus’ forehead had never been more pronounced and Sirius looked as if he wanted to punch a hole in the wall. As for James, he looked so thoroughly miserable that, for a brief moment, Lily felt the insane impulse to put her arms around him and hold him. He was expecting her to throw the book at him and walk away, she could tell, and part of her wanted to. Part of her desperately wanted to believe this was another stupid joke or attempt to win her, so she could at him with contempt and walk away as she always did, content to sort-of-but-not-really hate his guts.
After all, what was the alternative?
“You expect me to believe this?”
“No ... I don’t expect anything.” James shook his head and sighed. “Please, Lily. Just read it.”
The use of her first name threw her. So did his tone, softly hopeful, so different from Severus’ pleading. It struck a strange chord with her. For reasons she couldn’t quite fathom, other than a need to try and understand what it was about this small book that had unnerved and distressed him to such a proportion, she turned back to the start of the book and began reading. She felt Severus leaning slightly over her, and knew he was reading, too.
When she reached the mention of the Dursleys’ son, she drew in a surprised breath. “Dudley ...”
“Dudley. Petunia always said if she had a son she’d call him Dudley.”
She looked up at James. How could he or the others have known that? Petunia had only told her once, when they were much younger, in one of the rare moments when they were getting along. Was it possible that James and the others had just made a very, very lucky guess? The odds were astronomical. More than that, though, something in their faces made her instinctively believe they had nothing to do with this book. But she wasn’t sure she could bring herself to believe it was real.
“Why?” She blinked at Sirius, nonplussed. He shrugged. “Well, it’s kind of a stupid name. I just wondered why she wanted to name him that.”
For the first time since she had run into Severus, a very faint smile tugged at the corner of Lily’s mouth. “She has a thing for Dudley Moore. He’s a muggle actor and musician,” she added at the others’ blank looks. “Can’t say I ever understood why.”
Looking back to the book she carried on reading. Despite herself, she was becoming absorbed. She couldn’t deny that, names apart, Mr and Mrs Dursley sounded very much like her sister and her fiancé. So like them, in fact, that Lily was hard pressed to find any dissimilarities. And there just was something about it ... something that made a small but strong voice whisper in her mind: This is true.
But to believe that ... the implications made her head swim.
Severus had not said anything, but she could see the same thoughts battling in his mind as they read on. His expression became more and more closed off, until they learned of Voldemort’s defeat when a strange light flickered in his eyes. Lily barely noticed, too busy absorbing the information herself.
“He ... goes. We beat him,” she whispered. “How?”
“How? It doesn’t say. How do we win?”
The three Marauders shared an awkward look, and it was Sirius who finally answered. “Er. We don’t know.”
“What do you mean, you don’t know?” Lily asked in disbelief.
“We don’t know,” Sirius repeated, shrugging. “We didn’t get to that part. Pr - James threw the book down after we found out you ... after we found out about you, and refused to read any further. So we haven’t found out.”
Feeling herself flush a little, she glanced over at James, but he just shrugged and looked down at his feet. Not knowing what else to say or do, Lily began reading again. Her lips thinned a little as her sister re-entered the story, and a quick look at Severus told her he was equally unimpressed. But then, Sev had never liked Petunia to begin with. She wasn’t his family.
When Dumbledore and McGonagall appeared, a hard knot in Lily’s stomach told her this was where things would begin to get serious for them. Anticipation made her pulse begin to speed up and, though she smiled a little at Dumbledore’s sherbet lemons, she was anxious for an explanation. Above her, Severus’ breath had become shallower, telling her he was also waiting on tenterhooks.
And then, there they were, the words that had caused James so much distress: Lily and James Potter. Dead.
“Oh ...” The word escaped her lips in a soft, stunned sigh.
Without really meaning to she looked up, her eyes seeking James’. He was watching her, and when their gazes met she could tell that he understood what she was feeling, that he felt it too; the feeling that the entire world had just shifted under their feet. Her hands trembled on the book.
“It really says that.” Severus’ voice startled her; she had forgotten the others were there. “It says you die.”
“How?” Remus asked, “What comes next?”
Lily lowered her eyes to the page, but James’ voice, low and harsh, brought her up short.
“No!” They all looked towards him. His expression was uncharacteristically grave and determined. “Don’t. I don’t want to know.”
From the looks on Remus’ and Sirius’ faces, it was clear they had already had this conversation and none of them were giving any ground. With obvious trepidation, Remus stepped towards his friend. “James, please, think about --”
“I’ve told you.” James looked determined. “No.”
“Mate,” Sirius started, but stopped dead at the look his best friend gave him.
Finally all eyes turned to Lily. She had just as much right to decide if she wanted to know her fate, and both Remus and Sirius were privately thinking that if anyone had a chance to convince James’ stubborn mind otherwise it was Lily. Taking a breath, she looked towards him and held his gaze, quietly trying to reassure him.
“James. I think - we need to know. I think we need to read this.”
She couldn’t say why she felt that way. Without even realising it, she had started believing that this was real. Somehow, as she was reading, the feeling had just come over her that they needed to find out what happened. And she knew, though she couldn’t say how, that James had the same feeling. She could see it in his eyes. Learning about their deaths was deeply unsettling, and she understood now why he had seemed distraught, but that didn’t change the conviction in her mind that they needed to read this book. Not mention her own quiet curiosity about the boy that was, apparently, her and James’ son.
James didn’t look quite convinced, but both Sirius and Remus nodded when he looked at them. Remus would no doubt see the practicalities and possible benefits of learning about their future, beyond his own personal desire to know. And, despite the dark expression on his face, there was an unmissable spark of curiosity in Sirius' eyes. Even Severus looked like he wanted to know what would happen. James looked like he wanted to protest still but, with a sigh, sank down onto one of the cushions.
“Alright, alright ... we’ll read it.”
Satisfied, the others settled themselves down as well in a rough circle. Lily, Remus and Sirius sat on the red and gold striped cushions, but Severus found a silver and green Slytherin coloured one that appeared to have been tucked into one corner.
“Okay.” Lily took a deep breath, and then let her eyes drift back down to sentence proclaiming her and James’ death. This fact was quickly confirmed by Dumbledore, much to McGongall’s apparent distress.
James was able to give a very faint smile. “I knew she liked me really.”
It wasn’t enough to lighten the mood entirely, but it did somehow make things seem not quite so awful.
At least until Lily read out the next paragraph, which finally explained how Voldemort had been defeated. The four listeners were all holding their breath as they learned that Voldemort had tried to kill the baby, Harry, but had been unable to, and because of that his powers had somehow broken.
Lily’s grip tightened on the book, and her voice shook a little as she read. A muscle twitched in James’ jaw, and a look of disbelieving fury entered all the Marauders’ eyes. Some small, rational part of their minds had told them Harry would somehow survive, given that the book bore his name as a title, but that didn’t prevent them from feeling incensed. It angered them just to think that Voldemort would try to kill a baby, any baby, but it enraged them to think he would try to kill James’ and Lily’s son.
Severus lowered his eyes, only wishing he could feel surprise that the Dark Lord would attempt such evil.
“But how?” Lily whispered the question in a broken voice, some strange maternal instinct coming to life inside her. “How could he survive that?”
“I don’t know. Let’s just be grateful that he does,” James said, then added hesitantly, “What will happen to him?”
Fitting the pieces together with a sinking feeling, Remus began to suspect that he knew. And he didn’t like the answer he was coming up with one bit, and he was sure the others would feel the same. Lily didn’t seem to have realised yet, shaking her head and suggesting they keep reading to find out.
Unfortunately, Remus was all too soon proved right; Dumbledore was bringing Harry to the Dursleys, as they were all that remained of his family.
“The hell they are!” Sirius snarled, suddenly animated, dark eyes flashing. “What about me and Moony, eh? We’re family!”
The abrupt outburst brought a surprised, touched smile to both Lily and James’ faces. Even Remus looked abashedly pleased by the declaration, though he rubbed the back of his neck with awkward uncertainty and murmured something about not being sure he was the best candidate to take care of a child. Severus, on the other hand, gave a quiet, derisive snort.
“Charming sentiment, Black, but you’re not a blood relation. Legally, you’d be nothing.”
“Yes, he will,” James snapped angrily. “Sirius will be godfather, and Harry’s guardian. I wouldn’t leave my son with anyone else.”
Even though he had effectively asserted the same thing, Sirius still looked a little taken aback by James’ pronouncement. He blinked, then grinned at his best friend and looked triumphantly at Severus. “Yeah, Snivelly.”
The Slytherin boy arched an eyebrow. “Oh? Doesn’t the boy’s mother get a say?”
Four pairs of eyes turned to Lily. She flushed, but looked Severus evenly in the eye as she said, “He’s not going to my sister. I’m not leaving my son with someone who hates me and hates magic.”
Her words carried a finality to them, and when the others remained quiet she took that as her cue to continue reading.
It made them feel strangely better to find that McGonagall was equally outraged at the idea of leaving Harry with the Dursleys, but Dumbldore remained calmly confident in the letter he had written to explain things.
Even with only what they had read in the book as a guide, the three Marauders couldn’t help but feel deeply sceptical that a letter would somehow make the Dursleys accept what Harry would be. Knowing Petunia personally (and, in Lily’s case, Vernon Dursley), both Severus and Lily knew with heavy hearts that a letter would never be enough to make things right with her.
Resigned to what was apparently to be Harry’s fate, Lily continued reading in a monotone as it was revealed that Dumbledore and McGonagall were waiting for Hagrid to bring the baby. She broke off, though, when Hagrid appeared on a flying motorbike, as a low, strangled sound came from the back of Sirius’ throat, and he closed his eyes as though he were in pain. Lily glanced towards James with a concerned look, but he shook his head with a grin. “He’s just jealous. He’d love one of his own.”
“I’ve been saving up all year, and I’m still not even close!” Sirius complained.
Relieved, Lily laughed to herself and shook her head before continuing - only to discover that the bike had in fact been lent to Hagrid by ‘young Sirius Black’.
“What?” Sirius yelled, his voice going up about an octave. “That bike’s mine?”
“Guess all that saving’ll pay off, after all,” James laughed, clapping his friend on the shoulder.
Sirius grinned, punching the air triumphantly with one fist, but the next moment his smile faded and was replaced by a look of faint puzzlement as he looked around at the others. “But where am I? Why would I just let him take Harry, and not come with him?”
That was a question none of them could answer, and re-woke the feeling of slight uneasiness in their stomachs. Hoping there might be answers in the pages of the book, Lily carried on reading. As she came to a description of Harry, a mixture of emotions crossed the faces of all present.
A soft “Oh!” escaped Lily at the mention of the baby, and she blushed when James smiled at her. The maternal instinct she’d felt before was surging inside her breast when she thought of the little boy that was, impossibly but truly, her baby. That James was the father ... well, that was a thought she hadn’t yet wrapped her mind around.
“Black hair,” Remus commented. “Sounds like he’ll take after you, James.”
“Awww,” cooed Sirius with a mocking grin, “An ickle baby Prongs!”
A muscled twitched in Severus’ jaw, and his hand curled into a fist in his lap.
Lily glanced curiously over at James. She had noticed the nicknames the Marauders called each other before, but, with the exception of one, had never quite understood where they came from . It was something she had always wondered about, but refrained from asking lest James take it as her showing interest him. But given what their future apparently held, that was no longer an issue. “Why does he call you Prongs?”
“Oh, my Patronus is a stag, is all,” he said, “So, what happens next?”
Unable to quell the feeling that there was more to the story and he was skilfully dodging the question, Lily returned to the book. A faint time touched her lips as she read Hagrid’s sobbing reaction to giving up the baby.
“Aw, Hagrid,” James said, sadly affectionate. “He’s always been a good friend. Never told on us the couple of time he caught us sneaking around the grounds, just took us back to the castle and told us not to do it again.”
Lily nodded, feeling a little happier knowing that when he did eventually get to Hogwarts, that Harry would have Hagrid to look after him. He had been a good friend to her as well - in her fourth year, just after her mother had died, he had found her wandering in the grounds, crying. He had made her a cup of tea and listened to her talk, then he’d taken her a little way into the forest to show her a unicorn that had just given birth to a foal. It had brought a smile back to her face and was a sight she had never forgotten.
Swallowing to remove the lump from her throat, she continued on, lowering her voice without really meaning to as Dumbledore set Harry down on her sister’s doorstep and then he, McGonagall and Hagrid left. Even knowing that the rest of the wizarding world were celebrating her son’s name as their saviour, the boy who lived, couldn’t quite make up for knowing that he would grow up without her.
“ ... and that’s the end of the chapter.” Lily heaved a sigh, setting the book down in the her lap.
There was a collective hush, in which they all looked at each other, trying to absorb the enormity of what they were reading. None of them could say when, but at some point each and every one of them had come to the same conclusion: they believed the book was real, and, though it had fallen into their hands through some unknown magic, they felt the need to read it. To find out what the future held, though they all had different reasons for wanting to know.
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