“He is at home in bed. Says he’s sick, a tummy bug by sounds of it.” He replied with a yawn.
“Oh and by the way Moony...” I said punching him in the arm lightly “That was for not telling us your friend in Cokeworth was Lily Evans”
“Oh no you found Lily... Prongs tell me you guys didn’t stalk her. Or bother her. Honestly it’s her own home for fucks sake is she not safe anywhere?” He sighed shaking his head.
“Hey... We were very well behaved thank you moony. We looked after Evans actually. Had a bit of a rough life that girl hasn’t she Prongs?” Sirius defended
“Ol’ Prongs here has managed to get himself quite chummy with Evans. I walked into the kitchen to find them canoodling”
Remus’s eyebrow skyrocketed into his hairline.
“We were not canoodling Sirius I was merely giving her a hug.” I grumbled.
“Turns out she’d been spilling her life story. Prongs was the first one to ever hear it too. Took a little bit to get out of them what was going on. Did you know she had an uncle who committed suicide?”
“I was aware she had an uncle who passed away yes. I wasn’t entirely sure of the circumstances of his death.” Remus admitted.
“Can we please drop the subject of Lily now please? The moon will be up soon” I sighed. They nodded and we got ready for the full moon.
By the end of the night we were all shattered. We each collapsed wherever we landed and fell asleep. I was woken by the sun in the early hours of the morning. I groaned and stretched rolling onto my back. Padfoot and Moony were still dozing in the grass.
I wandered over to Sirius and shook him gently. He opened his eyes hazily.
“You alright with Moony?” I whispered.
“You going to see Evans?”
“Yeah we’ll be fine. Get her to fix you up when you get there. I’m too tired at the minute.”
“Alright will do. I’ll probably bring her around later in the afternoon.”
“Alright mate” He replied and rolled over to go back to sleep.
I knew it was early but I figured the Evans family were early risers. I wasn’t mistaken either. I could see a light on in the house already. I walked up and knocked on the front door. This time it was Mrs Evans who answered.
“Oh... Morning James dear. You’re early aren’t you? I’m afraid Lily is still in the shower... Jim’s in the kitchen. Sorry but I really have to get going. See you later?” She said hurriedly.
“Oh... Um.. Yeah probably.”
She scooted past me and walked briskly up the street. I let myself in and wandered into the Evans’ kitchen.
“Ah James... Just who I thought it would be.” Mr Evans said smiling looking up from his paper. He was still in his pyjamas.
“Morning Sir. No work today?” I asked. Mr Evans smiled sadly.
“I’m afraid not son. I was let go yesterday.”
A wave of guilt washed over me.
“Oh I’m so sorry Sir.”
“Ah nothing to be sorry about, James lad. Not your fault, I wasn’t the only one. They just can’t afford it anymore. This place isn’t what it used to be. Jobs are scarce. Hell I’d move if we could sell the house but no one wants to buy in a market or place like this... I haven’t told Lils yet.” He added
“So what are you going to do now Sir?” I asked taking a seat.
“Not really much I can do now lad. No one’s going to hire me in this condition. I’m afraid Chrissy and I are going to have to ride this one out.”
“Your condition?” I asked meekly.
“Now I know you’re no idiot Mr Potter. Your friend Sirius certainly wasn’t. I’m not very well James. Not at all. Lily knows this... just not the extent of how ill I am. I don’t have the heart to tell her. I’m terminal James. Lung cancer... although being a wizard I don’t suppose you know what that is. The point is it’s spread. I’ve been going through treatment for a little while now but nothings working. I’ve got about 6 months if I’m lucky.”
I was frozen. I didn’t know what to say. He just said it with such a calmness. This man knew he was going to die, he accepted it and it didn’t seem the least but afraid and worst of all his own daughter didn’t even know.
“When are you going to tell Lily?” I asked quietly. It was all I could think to say. I’m sorry didn’t quite cut it.
“When she goes back to Hogwarts. I can’t bare tell her now. It’ll break her heart. She’ll refuse to go back to school. She’s stubborn my girl she’ll want to see it through with me. But I don’t want my baby to see me like I’m going to get. James cancer is one bitch of a disease, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. I’m not going to let her watch me suffer and neither will you yes?”
“That’s why you told me all that stuff the night I brought Lily home isn’t it? You’ve known for a while you’re going to die. You wanted me to be prepared for Lily’s reaction. To understand...” I replied realising. The man opposite me smiled.
“See I knew you were no idiot James Potter.”
“You told Sirius too when Lily and I were playing pool...”
“I did indeed. I know my Lily. She’ll try to block people out James. She’ll drive herself mad with despair if she does. She’s lost her uncle, her best friend and her sister and she’s about to lose her dad. She needs friends like you boys to love and support her. When I’m gone I need someone to take care of her. You seem just the young man to step in and take my place. I’ll rest easier knowing she’s got you. But promise me James... You won’t mention a word of this to Lily... not yet.”
“Yes Sir...” I replied numbly. I barely knew Mr Evans and I wanted to break down, cry, beg him to tell me that this was some cruel prank. But I would tell by the sincerity in his voice and the soft look in his eyes that he wasn’t lying. That this was real and it was happening.
“There’s a good lad. I can hear her coming down the stairs now.”
“Morning Daddy... Oh hi James” She said with a smile walking into the kitchen. I plastered a smile on my own face.
“No work today Dad?” She asked taking a seat at the table with us.
“No, no I’ve got the next few days off love. Just a cruise day today. Who knows I might even go back to bed for a bit.”
“Oh okay then...” she replied as her father got up to head back upstairs.
“Hey Lils... I was wondering do you wanna come over to Remus’s this afternoon?” I asked in an attempt to distract her from her father’s odd behaviour.
“Will he be up to it?” She said softly.
“Of course he will. I’m sure he’d love to see your face” I smiled. She laughed.
“Oh alright then, so long as your sure. What are we going to do until then?”
“Well I was thinking we could go play another few rounds of pool, or go for a walk or visit Diagon alley or something...”
“Well obviously our school lists won’t be here for another few days but I’m dying for an ice-cream from Florean Fortescue’s”
“Sounds like a plan then Lily flower.”
“Sweet! I’ll just run upstairs and grab my coat and some money...”
“No money Lils... this ones on me...”
“No don’t be silly James.”
“No Lily don’t you be silly. This is my shout okay? On one condition... You buy me a butter beer first Hogsmeade trip...”
“Done deal” She smiled racing up the stairs. But I couldn’t help wondering how long that smile was going to last...
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