After we finished breakfast, I picked the berries on the shrubs in the back and Remus left to meet up with the order. I filled up a bowl and went back in the house, trying to decide what I should make with them. I flipped through the recipe book that I had found on Remus’ shelf. I assumed it was his mother or grandmother who had penned all the recipes in a beautiful, tiny cursive. I settled on attempting the blackberry pie and set about locating all the ingredients in the cupboards.
I was kneeling on the counter, trying to reach the flour when someone knocked on the door. Immediately, I dropped to the floor and scurried beneath the kitchen table. More knocks. Who would possibly be coming here, especially since everyone I know is a part of the order. I edged closer towards the couch and rushed behind the arm.
I crouched by the arm, who could possibly be coming here? Was it Alice, maybe skiving off their jobs today and wanting to know if I did live here or not? I doubt it, she didn’t strike me as nebby, but maybe? Or maybe it was my family, they had somehow gotten through the charm and found me. Doubtful. But were they looking for me? That wasn’t the question. I took a deep breath and tried to slow my heart. Lily’s charms were keeping the house out of sight of muggles. Remus did not know of any wizards living nearby, so it was unlikely that whoever was here had just discovered it. That left only a few possibilities. It was either one of Remus’ friends or it was one of the bad wizards, looking for Remus. I opted for the scarier option, seeing as Remus’ friends always just came in.
But would a bad guy knock? No. Dummy.
I cursed at myself and decided to answer the door. I stood up and looked out the window to see Lily waving sheepishly at me on the other side of the pane. I breathed a huge sigh of relief and pulled the front door open. I could tell Lily wanted to scold me for not confirming her identity, but when she went to open her mouth, she started crying instead. I pulled her through the threshold and shut the door, walking her to the couch.
“What’s wrong, Lily?”
She just shook her head in response, I went and got a glass of water for her, set it on the table then sat down next to her, awkwardly hugging her around the shoulders. “Lily, what’s wrong?”
She wasn’t audibly crying, just had tears streaming down her face and her shoulders shaking. No unflattering gasps or wails escaped from her. Lily rotated a little on the couch and hugged me in return. I pat her on the back, not knowing what to do then opted to rub circles on her back to calm her down, as though she was one of the children that I was watched. “If you don’t want to talk, that’s fine, Lily. But last time I saw you you were a wreck and I thought you were fine early this morning when Remus talked to you, weren’t you?”
I could feel her nod in my shoulder. “So what brought this up again? Is it James? Because if he shows up here, I’ll smack him for you, you know I will.”
“That wouldn’t help.” Came the muffled reply into my arm.
“So it is James? Well, I can’t do much outside these walls, so I have to wait for the prey to come here. And I can’t do much until I know what has you so bothered, either.”
She sighed in resignation and sat back up, “It’s not entirely James, it’s more that James isn’t listening well to me on this topic. You know, why I was so upset last night.”
“I don’t know why you were so upset last night Lily, so just start at the beginning.”
“Oh Holly, if I start at the beginning, I’ll be telling you my life’s story.”
“Then tell me, I’m dreadfully bored here.”
Lily nodded, “So you know that I’m a muggleborn. But unlike other muggleborn witches, I found out years before I got my Hogwarts letter that I was a witch.” She held up her finger to shush me before I could even vocalize my question, “Shush, I’ll get to it. My sister and I often played in a park near our house, which was frequented by another boy my age. He told me all about Hogwarts and the magical world. We were incredibly close… and when Petunia scorned me, we grew even closer. He was my best friend in the world.” She audibly sobbed and buried her head in her hands.
I inched closer to her on the couch and pet her hair, “Shh, Lily, you don’t have to talk if you don’t want to talk.” She shook her head, her face still covered by her hands.
She moved her legs up onto the couch and wrapper her arms around them, her chin resting between her knees. “He was my best friend. Not even being sorted into different houses could have changed that. We were uncanny, a Gryffindor being friends with a Slytherin was unheard of, especially in these times. Unity between houses, not just among them, is rare.
“We hung out all the time, but each subsequent year, that amount of time was less. I spent more time with Alice and other Gryffs and he spent more time with the other members of Slytherin. That’s where we hit a snag, in fifth year, we fought several times about our other friends.
“I don’t know what it was like where you went to school, but I assume these kind of people extend all over. You know, those kids that just reek of trouble? No, trouble isn’t the right word. They’re dark.”
I shook my head, there were kids that were trouble or up to no good. But I don’t think that I could have went through my class roster and picked a single kid I considered to be ‘dark.’ But I did know what she meant, which I let her know before she continued.
“The Slytherin house has a bad reputation of having a great many alumni who go bad. But with everything going on about Voldemort, it was happening earlier than graduation. There were students in school with me that were already bad. And Se- my former friend, he was hanging out with them. I didn’t like it, and each time I told him my feelings about those wizards he would snap on me, comparing them to the Marauders. Saying they were no worse than the boys you know how.
“The final straw was at the end of fifth year. James – he was a right dick in school that year – was taunting my former friend. I went to have him knock it off, seeing as James was showing off for me. See, James loathed him, still loathes him.
“I went to go help former friend out, and what he gave me in return was to call me something terrible. I screamed at him, I don’t even remember what I said. Maybe I didn’t scream. I don’t know, but I didn’t think I’d ever be so crushed again.”
“What did he call you?” I asked, tentatively.
“A mudblood.” Lily spat the word out, its sting still poisoning her mouth. “It is the worst thing you could call a muggleborn. But it was worse than that.”
I sat there, absorbing her words. Lily continued talking, “It was worse because, I thought he was my friend. I thought that despite his other friends influence, I was different. When he spewed that venoumous, ‘I don’t need your help, filthy little mudblood’ every tie that held us together disintegrated. I could hardly talk to him again, he begged forgiveness but our friendship was never repaired.”
She had stopped crying, a stony resolution set about her features, only to crack once more when I asked, “But what has this got to do with last night? I know it stings, but that happened years ago, what brought it back?”
“Because he was the one that threw that curse at Peter.” Her curls falling into her face as she spoke.
“Oh. Oh, no, Lily, so he really went bad?”
She nodded, still looking down at her fingers, picking at the fabric on the couch cushion. “They wear masks, but I knew it was him. I don’t think that anyone realizes that we are fighting our classmates. I don’t think anyone notices just who the others may be.”
“Did you tell James what you think?”
“No! Merlin, no! And what I know, Holly, what I know. You don’t have to see someone’s face to know it is them, it’s their being you recognize. I know it was him. If I told James that, he’d just want to hunt him down, he hates him that much. And that’s fine, he’s a death eater now, he’s not my friend anymore. But James just wouldn’t understand why I was upset again.”
I was puzzled and Lily picked up on it, “Do you even understand why I was upset again, Holly?”
I shrugged, “Because it was your old friend?”
She shook her head, huffing out a bit, “No, because seeing him in that mask, hurling curses at us. It was like he was viciously turning his back on me again. He showed his true self, even if he was wearing a mask. My friend is gone. Replaced with a dark wizard.
“By fighting with the death eaters, he is harming –oh god, maybe even killing – muggles and muggleborns – “ Lily started crying again and I quickly stood up to give her a hug. Holding her until her breathing was even again. “I can’t reconcile the two people anymore. I can’t.”
“I’m so sorry, Lily. I don’t even know what to say. I just think that you have to look at now. Your friends now. You are all fighting to keep good in your world. They’re wonderful people, Lily. Look at James. I hardly see you two together anymore, but I know you adore each other. Please, move forward, Lily. Who cares about that prat? I know you do, but he doesn’t exist anymore, it’s a different person in his body.”
I let go of her, and went to make tea. From the kitchen I could hear Lily mumble, “is it that obvious?”
When I came back in, I answered the question, “Yes. It’s totally obvious.”
She jumped, “Holly, I am not used to people overhearing me like that. Remus never let on about any of his senses at Hogwarts.”
I laughed and we relaxed into a comfortable silence. Staring out the window, I wondered what Lily was thinking of. I was hoping it was James, and not that prat of a friend she had before. I remembered having a friend in primary school who told me my hair looked bad, and I had never talked to her since. It wasn’t the same, not at all. I couldn’t even come up with something to compare, to empathize.
I suddenly remembered my forgotten pastry in the kitchen, “You all cried out, Lily?” When she responded affirmatively, I pulled her into the kitchen and we chatted whilst baking the blackberry pie. Despite it coming out of the oven with a split crust, the afternoon was not wasted, I learned a lot more about Lily. Her favorite season was spring, she had grown up with cats but was partial to dogs, and she preferred to wear blouses with long sleeves. She gaped at me when I said I wished fall weather was year round, nodded in agreement when I stated dogs superiority over cats and then made me laugh hysterically when she told me I probably only felt that way because I was one now. They were silly, trivial things but we grew closer and I hopefully got her mind off of the betrayal that still stung.
Relaxing on the couch once more, the cabin smelling like a bakery, I looked up from my book to see that Lily was knitting. “What are you doing?”
“Making a baby blanket.” She replied matter-of-factly, continuing to wrap the yarn around the stick.
“Who’s having a baby?”
“I dunno, maybe Alice?” She grinned mischievously.
“Lily, hold the phone, is that why she’s getting married?”
“Merlin, no! Holly, calm down, I was joking!” she focused on the yarn for a bit, then looked back at me, “My grandmother taught me this last summer when I moved in with her. All I know how to do is make blankets, and I stop them before I mess up too bad,” She held up the yellow and white rectangle, “hence, baby blankets!”
“What does James think of your baby obsession?”
She dropped her work, “I am not.”
I laughed and went back to my book, “Sure you aren’t, Lily. By the way, I don’t feel like cooking, can the boys get take out or something?”
She nodded, and then waved her wand from which burst forth a beautiful silvery deer. She whispered something to it and then it dashed off and away.
“Whoa.” She looked at me quizzically. “That is so cool.”
A/N: I'm back to writing again! Sorry this chapter was short, I'm just trying to connect to the part that I've had written since the beginning!