Chapter 6 : Broomsticks And Broken Promises
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“What are we doin’, James?” Lily asked breathlessly, brushing her long red hair behind her ears. She had never been quite this far away from Nana’s before, and although she was thrilled that her older brother wanted to hang out with her, she was kind of frightened.
James grinned, whipping around and throwing up his arms. “What does it look like, Lily-billy?” He gave her a cheeky grin with the use of her baby nickname, and he added excitedly, “I’m going to teach you to fly!”
Lily raised her eyebrows, a trick she had learned from her mother, and put her hands on her hips. “And how are you s’posed to do that, when we don’t got any brooms?” She knew that you had to have brooms to fly; her daddy did it all the time with James, Albus, and Uncle Ron. Daddy had promised her to teach her to fly her toy broomstick today, but they had come to Nana’s instead. Uncle Georgie and Nana were sad, Daddy said.
James grinned; getting a mischievous look that Lily knew started trouble. Her mummy said so all the time. Her daddy just laughed and muttered about padfoots and moons, but she wasn’t quite sure what he meant by it. “We do have brooms, silly Lily. Teddy told me about it; this used to be a Quidditch field!” He held out his arms, displaying the large field of grass, and his expression was one of pure excitement. Lily was not impressed. She crossed her arms.
“But it’s not now, Jamie,” Lily reminded him patiently, shaking her head. She had been so excited; she’d waited forever to learn to fly. She’d had to endure watching her older brothers and her daddy fly without her while she had had to be left with mummy, inside…
“But there’s still a broom cupboard!” James exploded, a wide grin stretching from ear to ear. He pointed to a building that could possibly have been a broom cupboard… once. It had fallen into disrepair, and looked quite shabby. James saw her assessment and his excitement dimmed a little. “I know it looks a little bad, but look! There are still brooms in there!”
“How do you know?” Lily asked skeptically, a crease forming between her brows. It didn’t look like there could possibly be anything in the decrepit building.
James rolled his eyes, grabbing his sister’s hand and pulling her along. “’Cause I do,” he said superiorly, pursing his lips. “Teddy told me, and he knows. Dad tells him stuff, and he goes to Hogwarts.” Lily nodded, her brother’s logic making sense. Teddy’s word was law to them; he was fifteen and he was a Gryffindor. The children worshiped the boy who was their almost-brother.
“How are we gonna get in there, James?” Lily pestered, frightened at the prospect of walking through the door that looked like it was holding up the whole shack.
Her older brother laughed, throwing off her worry as if it was nothing. “I’m going to go in, of course,” he said bravely, smiling at her. He bumped her hip with his. “Chill out, Lily- I’ll be fine.” Lily pursed her lips worriedly, but said nothing as her brother wandered toward the broom cupboard, pulling on the door handle. With one final jerk from James, the door burst open, and James grinned toothily. “See, Lily? It’s fi-” But James stopped abruptly as his baby sister began to scream. He felt some dust falling, and he looked up, horror in his eyes as he saw what was about to happen- the whole building was falling down on him, and he was frozen to the spot-
But then it wasn’t. Suddenly there was no building; just some brooms standing straight up, debris surrounding the small concrete slab that had once been a broom cupboard. Stunned, James turned to face the only other person there, his five-year-old sister. “Did… Did you do that?” He whispered.
Lily nodded slowly, her teary eyes wide with disbelief. “Y-yeah,” she hiccupped, wiping her eyes. She bit her lip, looking at the destroyed broom cupboard. “Do… Do you think Mummy and Daddy will be mad?”
James’s mouth stretched into a big grin, and he jumped on his baby sister, throwing his arms around her and lifting her up- or, trying, anyway. “Man, your heavy, Lil,” James commented teasingly, before saying happily, “No, Mum won’t be mad! Lily, you just did magic! We’ve got to go find everyone.”
Lily brightened, her tears drying. Magic? Is that what she did? Daddy said that she wouldn’t be able to do magic for a few more years yet. Albus had only just shown signs of his own magic last year, and Al was seven. “Okay!” She took her brother’s hand, feeling much safer now that James was proud of her. Though, that didn’t always mean Mummy and Daddy would be happy… Lily remembered an incident in which James had encouraged her to paint on the kitchen walls, insisting that she made beautiful pictures, and their parents would wholeheartedly agree. Needless to say, they didn’t approve. But Lily was sure that they would be happy about her doing magic; they had nearly cried with happiness when Albus had regrown his hair overnight a year ago. But then, Al hadn’t destroyed a building that belonged to Nana, Lily thought worriedly, gripping James’s hand a little tighter. Suddenly, she stopped. James looked at her strangely, frowning. “What’sa matter, Lily?”
“What about flying, James?” Lily’s lower lip protruded, and she gave her older brother his own patented Get-Out-Of-Trouble look, and James sighed, shaking his head. He regretted the day that he had taught it to her, not only because she’d had it down the moment he showed her, but also because he knew that if she ever used it on him, he wouldn’t be able to say no. He also had a soft spot for the little girl that was so like him; not rule-abiding and studious like Albus, but trouble-making and mischievous, with a yearning to fly that James had felt himself before his father had taught him to fly.
“Well, fine, we’ll fly,” James said amiably, putting an arm around Lily’s shoulders and crouching down to her level. “Now, you gotta listen to me, okay? I don’t want you gettin’ hurt.” He remembered the many times that he fell off of his broom because he had gone up too far, wincing. “Now, let’s go get the brooms, okay?”
“Okay,” Lily chirped, taking her older brother’s hand, smiling. She was going to learn to fly! Then she would be able to show Daddy and he would let her fly with him, James, and Albus. She would be one of the boys, too.
James picked up a broom that had fallen over in Lily’s explosion, while Lily snatched another one. He read the inscription on the side and his eyes widened; these were old. But maybe that was good, James reasoned, looking at his little sister with worried eyes. If they were old, they shouldn’t be able to go too fast, so Lily would be perfectly fine. “Okay, Lily, watch me first,” James instructed, straddling his broom and gripping it tightly. His baby sister watched dutifully, her yearning clear in her brown eyes. “First, you kick off, like this,” he demonstrated, shoving off with the tips of his toes, trying to show how you do it very gently, and he began to hover, the familiar excited tingle spreading through his body as he became airborne, “then you just… fly.” He zoomed around in the air, enjoying the breeze that ruffled his hair, before returning to the ground beside his sister. “Now, you try.”
Lily frowned, biting her lip, and James grinned. “Don’t worry, I’ll help.” He showed her how to hold the broom, and helped her get into a comfortable position. “Now, kick off, real gentle…” Lily’s brows pulled together in concentration, and she curled her toes in her flip-flops nervously. In her mind’s eye, she saw her brother kicking off into the air perfectly, and she sighed, squeezing her eyes shut and mentally preparing herself. She could hear her brother’s sigh, and she knew his already-short patience was wearing thin, so she did the only thing she could think of. She dug her toes into the dirt, bent her knees, and she jumped.
When she opened her eyes, she was at least ten feet above her brother, wind whipping her long red hair across her face and shoulders. She gave a nervous laugh, exhilarated, until she heard James shouting her name. “What’s wrong, Jamie?” She giggled, leaning forward and gripping the broom handle tighter as she began to soar. “This is easy!”
James’s eyes widened as he watched his sister fly higher and higher, farther away from him with every minute, and he couldn’t stop her. “Lily, you’ve got to hold still!” He screamed shrilly, whipping around to grab his abandoned broomstick.
Lily looked down, intending to scoff at her brother for being so protective, but instead she froze. She was so high; James looked like a little speck. “J-J-Jaaames!” Lily screamed, her voice rising about three octaves. He had never told her how to get down.
Suddenly, James was zooming upwards, his skills on a broom impressive for an eight-year-old. His expression was one of fierce determination, and Lily, though still scared silly, was a fraction less scared as she saw her brother coming for her. James wouldn’t let anything happen to her.
“Lily, are you okay?” James yelled, stopping beside her. “Lily, it’s okay; I’ll get you, okay?” The little girl nodded slowly, tears streaming from her eyes.
“Jamie, I’m scared,” she whispered.
“I know, Lils,” James said softly, a comforting smile pulling at the corners of his lips. “It’s gonna be okay, I promise. Now, I need you to trust me, ‘kay?” At his sister’s nod, he explained, “You’ve gotta take my hand, and swing over onto my broom. It’ll be easy; I’ll have hold of you. Just grab onto me. I won’t let you fall.”
Lily clamped her jaw shut, and her resemblance to her mother was striking. She nodded, taking her brother’s outstretched hand and carefully maneuvering one leg over James’s broomstick, and then the other. Her arms wrapped around James’s middle, and while her broom fell to the ground, her whole body slumped with relief. In only a few minutes they were landing safely on the ground, and James was shocked to see his parents, along with the other adults.
“James!” His mother shrieked, clutching her chest. Ginny Potter ran to her two children, pulling them to her breast and squeezing them tightly. “Oh, I thought I’d lost you like Freddie,” she sobbed, kissing the children’s heads.
Harry placed a hand on his wife’s shoulder comfortingly, his green eyes sad. Ginny straightened, wiping her tears away, and she then rounded on the two stunned children. “What on earth were you two doing out here? Why didn’t you tell us you were leaving Nana’s yard?”
Harry crouched down to James and Lily’s levels, and he looked at them seriously. “Now, kids, why did you run off without telling us?”
“Lily was real upset,” James began earnestly, trying to catch his father’s eye to try out his get-out-of-trouble look, but Harry, who by now knew James’s tricks, avoided him.
“Daddy, you promised you’d teach me to fly today!” Lily interjected, sniffling. Her father’s attention turned to his daughter, and she smiled. “Jamie said he’d teach me since you and Mummy were too sad. And…” She trailed off, frowning. She knew there was something else that she had wanted to tell her father, but she couldn’t remember quite what it was.
Fortunately, James did. “And Lily did magic!” He yelled, grinning and pointing to the now-destroyed broom cupboard. “It was fallin’ on me, and she made it… well, she made it go away!”
Harry and Ginny exchanged surprised looks. George was the first to speak. “Well, come give Uncle Georgie a hug! Your first magic, Lily!” He gave the girl a real grin, and the family was shocked. May second was a bad day for all of them, even after all of these years, and George was never worse than on this day. This was the first time he had shown any emotion all day. He hugged his niece and spun her around, laughing and ruffling her red hair. “You’re a true Weasley, all right,” he complimented, with a sly grin in Harry’s direction. “No offense to Potters, Harry.”
“None taken,” Harry replied with a grin.
“Maybe we should start using the field again,” Ron commented softly, his expression thoughtful. He took his wife’s hand and smiled sadly at George. “I think he’d want it, George. He’d want to know that his nieces and nephews are learning to play Quidditch on the same field that he did. Lily here even did her first magic here, just like he did.”
The adults smiled sadly in remembrance, while Lily and James looked confused. Lily looked at her brother questioningly, but James just shrugged it off; it was probably just some odd grownup thing. Their uncle George took a deep breath. “That’s best, I think,” he agreed, showing a bit of a smile. He set down his niece and slipped an arm around his wife’s waist.
“Daddy,” Lily implored, tugging on her father’s pant leg. At her father’s glance, she asked, “Does that mean we aren’t in trouble?”
Her father chuckled, patting her head. “No, Lily, you aren’t in trouble. I guess this is my fault for breaking my promise.” He bent down, looking her in the eye. “Now, how about I teach you how to fly?”
Hello! I would love to hear from you about this chapter (: Also, if you review, i'm taking ideas for what the next Weasley/Potter escapade should be! (:
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