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Chapter 32 : Lily's New Family
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Lily's New Family
After her rather enthusiastic and heartwarming welcome from her new guardians, Lily was exhausted, and she put her head down on Astoria's shoulder and fell asleep. "Poor little thing! She's worn out," her new guardian murmured to her husband.
"I guess coming through the Veil really takes it out of you." Draco said softly. He pulled off his cloak and wrapped it around Lily.
"It does," Severus chimed in. He had been so shocked at returning and then at seeing Sirius and realizing Lily was not there that he hadn't felt the exhaustion until much later. "It's the most exhausting thing ever, and she probably was a medium for . . . for some higher power too, that's how she knew about your baby and the reason why something like that happened."
"You'd know if anyone would, Sev," Draco nodded. He smiled down at his new daughter. "We'll take her to our quarters for tonight. I can't wait to see how Cory reacts to his new sibling . . . or my parents. Or your mum and sister, Tori."
Astoria had lost her father two years ago to a heart attack, so she now only had her mother and sister.
"I'm sure Daphne will be thrilled," Astoria said. "And you know my mother, the more the merrier." She cradled Lily close and looked blissful. "I can't wait for us to go shopping and decorate a room together! I remember when my sister and I shared a room and we were always arguing about what went where and what colors we liked and who left their dirty socks and dishes under the bed when we were supposed to clean. " She smiled reminiscently. "Sometimes we fought like cats and rats, but we always made up after a few hours. I hope she gets along with Cory . . . though I don't see why not."
"I think our household will never be the same," Draco predicted. "In a good way, that is." He had a wistful expression on his face. "You know, I prayed for a daughter when I found out Tori was expecting and I guess I got what I wished for, though not how I expected. But that's all right. I'm happy either way."
"I will never forget the one I lost," Astoria said softly. "But I will always be grateful for Lily being a part of our family. And maybe someday . . . there will be another baby in the nursery at Malfoy Manor."
"I think there will be, Tori," Ginny said, smiling gently at her friend. "I think we need to go home, Harry. Just experiencing that made me tired." She looked down at Severus, who also was yawning. "Sev, you look all done in too."
He leaned against her side. "M'tired," he murmured. "But I'm also real happy." His smile flashed in the darkness like a star glistening.
"So are we all," Harry agreed, then he bent and lifted Severus in his arms. "C'mon, buddy. It's late, you need to go to sleep before you aggravate that cold, and I need to sleep too because I have class in the morning."
Then they all Apparated to Harry's house and Flooed back to their respective quarters at the school. It had been a very rewarding evening.
Despite his joy at having Lily back again, it didn't take Severus long to fall asleep that night, for he had had a full day before her UnVeiling, going trick-or-treating with his brother and cousins, and celebrating part of Jamie's birthday. His sack of candy was in the main room of the Potter quarters, he and Alby were not allowed to eat any sweets until Harry and Ginny inspected it first for anything harmful. Right then, Severus was too tired to worry about sweets, he quickly changed and fell asleep on the double bed he shared with Alby in moments.
Harry went to the Lupin quarters to get Alby, who was sound asleep on their couch. When he came inside, Remus asked softly, "Did she return?"
Harry nodded. "Right on schedule."
"Is she staying with you?" asked Dora.
"No. She chose Astoria and Draco to be her guardians. Or God and the angels did, because of their recent loss," Harry explained. The Lupins' eyes widened.
"Well, I'll be a monkey's uncle!" exclaimed Remus. "Who would have thought the pureblood set would be playing host to a Muggleborn witch!"
"Maybe that's why she was meant to go to them." Harry speculated.
"Does she know who you are?" was Remus' next question.
"No. There's a . . .kind of bond between us . . . we both felt it when she hugged me . . . but she has no memories of anything beyond fifth year, I think. I think the Powers That Be planned it that way. Otherwise, think how awkward it would be between us, Remus. Me, her son, is now trying to raise my own mum! It's crazy! This way, she can be a child like Sev and Sirius along with all the other kids and she won't question my authority. It's much better this way. I mean, I hardly remember anything about either of my parents, and now I don't have to feel guilty if she gets into trouble and I need to punish her."
Remus sniggered. "And do you think she's the sort of kid who gets into trouble a lot?"
Harry shrugged. "I don't have any idea, but I guess we'll find out. Just wait till you meet her. She's sweet and honest and . . . absolutely adorable!"
"She always was," Remus chuckled. "Does she remember me and Sirius?"
"Yes, she sure does. But she remembers you as the Marauders and some of what she had to say about you wasn't . . . complimentary."
The werewolf grimaced. "I wouldn't think it would be, considering what we did and who we did it to back then. I'll tell Sirius not to mention the fact that she was your mum and married to James in her previous life. There's no sense in letting that particular cat out of the bag."
"I can't wait to see Lucius' expression when Draco tells him about his new granddaughter!" Dora giggled. "Tell Tori to take pictures. Molly told me that she never laughed so hard in her life looking at that other picture of Lucius drunk and doing a tabletop dance."
"Excuse me!?" Harry goggled. "How come I didn't see that?"
"Don't know where you were, Harry, but we all almost passed out." His friend started sniggering.
"Must have been when I was with Draco down at the Hog's Head or something. Where's that picture now?"
"Not sure, but Molly could still have it," Dora mused. "Tell Ginny to ask her mum."
"I will, that sounds hysterical." Harry grinned, then he bid the Lupins goodnight and went back to his quarters, Alby snoring softly over his shoulder.
When they got back to the PotionMaster's suite of rooms, Astoria and Draco placed Lily on the couch, after Transfiguring her drape into comfy pajamas and shrinking a set of Astoria's slipper socks to fit her. Tomorrow, Astoria said she was going to take the child to Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade for clothing and a few toys, books, and games. But for now, this would do. She gently covered Lily with a green blanket and kissed her forehead.
Draco firecalled Neville, and asked if Cory was awake and if he wanted to come back to his suite. The little boy was sleeping next to Frankie on a bunch of huge pillows in front of the fire, they had fallen asleep trying to count how much sweets they'd gotten. "Is it all right if he spends the night?" asked Draco. "I can come get him if you want, Neville."
"No, leave him here. He's comfortable, and it's not like he' never stayed over before. So . . . did Lily return?"
"Yes, she did."
"How much does she remember?"
Draco told him approximately what he thought Lily remembered and that he was now her guardian.
Neville whistled. "Merlin, is that a surprise! How do you feel about it?"
"I . . . I'm glad, Nev. She's a sweet little girl, and Tori's just over the moon about it. I think it was sort of . . destined, according to what Lily said to us." Draco told him.
"Well, congratulations on your new addition, Malfoy. I'll have to bring Frankie by to meet her soon. She'll be tickled pink to finally have another girl to play with besides Rose."
"I have a feeling they'll be best friends," Draco predicted.
"Now why does that sound like trouble?" Neville chuckled.
"You never know, Nev. When Cory wakes up tomorrow morning, you can Floo him here. I want him to have breakfast with his new sister." Draco said.
"Will do. Goodnight, Draco."
"Good night, Neville."
When Draco climbed into bed that night, he found a radiant Astoria waiting for him. She beckoned him to her and he went eagerly into her arms. They had not made love since the miscarriage and Draco was happy to pleasure his wife again. It seemed that Lily was, indeed, the answer to his prayers.
When Lily woke, it was around seven AM, and the sun was shining through the false window in the Potion Master's quarters. The "window" was charmed to reflect the weather outside, and included a view of the path leading to Hagrid's hut and part of the grounds, including the Whomping Willow. She yawned and rubbed her eyes free of sleep, then glanced about.
The Malfoy quarters were a bit more posh than they had been when Severus was living in them. Draco was a bit of a hedonist and liked his creature comforts. The sofa where Lily had been sleeping was a thick emerald plush with fancy gold, silver, and green striped pillows accenting it. The floor of the dungeon was carpeted in a thick Berber carpet with patterns of leaves, trees, and a lake. A low teakwood table was set in front of the couch.
There was a matching recliner and a duvet. A twisty wrough iron lamp was next to the recliner, which also had a designer teak end table. The mantle was decorated tastefully with a gold filigree egg, a handsome German mantle clock, and some pictures in silver frames of Draco, Astoria, and Cory. A potions cabinet stood off to the left of the fireplace, and a bookshelf was against the opposite wall.
Lily got up and wandered over to the bookshelf, discovering that though she was physically five, she could still read like a sixteen year old. She ran her finger over the spines of some of the books, they were advanced spellbooks and Lily knew instinctively she would not be able to use them until she was older. She examined the potions in the cabinet, noting they were all standard remedies and drafts any wizarding family might need. She tried the door and saw the cabinet was locked.
Then she tiptoed over to the bathroom door and went inside. The bathroom was as nicely appointed as the living area. It was done in shades of aqua and cream, with a wave motif on the walls and fuzzy aqua rugs and a dark oak cabinet. There were shells and some marine creatures decorating the counter and Lily quickly used the toilet and stood on tiptoe to wash her hands.
She sighed when she caught sight of herself in the mirror. Her hair was a mess, all tangled and wild, she looked around for a brush but couldn't find one. When she walked out of the bathroom into the living area, she saw a house elf bringing a heavy silver tray and placing it onto the enlarged teakwood coffee table.
"Hello. I'm Lily. What's your name?" she greeted the elf. She recalled the house elves from her schooldays.
"Zia is being my name, little miss," said the elf, bowing. "Zia serves Master Malfoy and his family. Are you being his family too?"
"Yes. He's my guardian and I'm going to live with him," Lily informed the elf.
"Very good, miss. Zia shall be waking up Master and Mistress and Master Cory to eat." She bowed again then blinked away to wake up Draco.
Once Draco, in a green dayrobe with small snakes on the hem, and Astoria in a midnight blue dayrobe with stars and moons on it, had come to sit down for breakfast, Draco sent Zia to tell Neville that Cory needed to come home.
Cory was a bit reluctant to leave, he liked sleepovers with Frankie, but then her dad told him Draco had a surprise for him, and he couldn't wait to leave. He practically rushed through the fireplace. "Mummy, Daddy, I'm hungwy!"
"I'm sure you are, son," Draco laughed. "But first . . . we'd like you to meet someone, Cory," He gestured toward Lily. "Scorpius Hyperion Malfoy, meet you new sister, Lily . . . err . . . what's your full name, Lily?"
"Umm. . . it's Lily Samantha Evans," she answered, standing up to shake Cory's small hand. "Hi, Scorpius!"
"Hi! Are you really my sister? I thought you'd be littler," Cory said, eyeing her. "And just call me Cory, everybody does, unless I'm in trouble."
"Oh. Well, you see, I . . . err . . . your parents adopted me. . . ."
"Like Uncle Harry did Sevvy and Uncle Remus did Sirius," Astoria explained.
"'Cause the other baby died?"
"In a way. Lily just lost her parents, so we wanted to let her come and live with us. You remember how you always wanted a sister? Well, here you are!" Astoria said brightly.
Cory examined Lily closely, thinking. He had been hoping his sister would be smaller than him, so he could teach her things, like Severus taught Alby. But Lily didn't seem that much older and maybe she knew different things. He smiled. "I like having a sister! How old are you?"
"I'm . . . five," she answered. "How old are you?"
"Four." Cory took a seat next to her. "Do you like flying? I love it, 'specially when Uncle Harry or Aunt Ginny teach us. How about Quidditch?"
"I like to fly, but don't play Quidditch. I like reading, brewing potions, and inventing Charms. I also like animals and growing plants and having tea parties."
"Do you like oatmeal or scrambled eggs with bacon and toast for breakfast."
"Both, I think," replied his sister.
"Cory, relax, son, and let Lily have a chance to eat her breakfast," Draco said, smirking at his son.
He removed the silver cover off the tray to reveal a plate of buttered toast with assorted jam, a platter of bacon and another of sausage, a dish of scrambled eggs, another dish of poached eggs with muffins and Hollandaise sauce, mini pancakes with syrup, plus coffee, tea, orange juice, pumpkin juice, and milk.
Lily chose a bit of everything, and asked for half tea and milk with sugar. She could remember drinking that with her mum and Sev on winter mornings.
Cory heaped his plate with pancakes, eggs, and bacon. He preferred pumpkin juice.
Draco enjoyed sausage, eggs, and toast with jam while Astoria like eggs Benedict and both liked coffee.
While they ate, Draco explained how he and Tori were both professors and lived most of the year at the school with Cory and now Lily also. "During the day, if both of us are teaching, we'll bring you to either Gran Cissy or Grandpa Luc, my parents, and you can stay at Malfoy Manor until we're done teaching. Sometimes you'll be with me, since Astoria might be sleeping and I don't have class till the afternoon. Some days you might also go to Mrs. Molly Weasley or my cousin Andromeda and then you can play with other kids your age, like your cousins the Lupin brothers, or Severus and Alby, or Rose Weasley and Frankie Longbottom. The boys outnumber the girls, I'm afraid, but don't let that stop you."
"I don't mind playing with boys and girls. As long as the boys don't play stupid pranks on me."
"If they do, you either tell an adult, or prank them back. I know Sev and Alby would never prank you, but sometimes the Lupin boys do, though they know better than to be mean."
"If Siri an' Jamie try anything, I'll . . . I'll knock 'em down," Cory threatened.
"Cory! For Merlin's sake, you're too little to knock anyone down!" Astoria reproved. "If Sirius and Jamie are misbehaving, you go and get an adult, and don't try and fight with them. Clear?"
"Aww, but Mum! Now I'm a brother and I'm 'post to beat up boys that're mean to my sister."
"You tell her, Cory!" Draco applauded.
"Draco!" Astoria shot him a death glare.
"Tori, he's a boy, you can't wrap him in silk. He's right, that's a brother's job, to defend his sister." Draco pointed out.
"I don't want him becoming a . . . a hooligan!" Astoria protested.
"He won't be. He'll be a gentleman until he has to protect the family honor." Draco said firmly.
"Men! Why do you always need to settle things with your fists? Or a wand?"
Draco arched an eyebrow. "Because it's more satisfying that way, dear."
Astoria snorted. "You're all barbarians."
"Hey, I seem to remember a certain lady who made Pansy Parkinson's nose green because she was looking at me."
"That's not how it was, Draco! She wasn't just looking at you, she was eyeing you up like you were the main course at a feast when she knew you were my boyfriend and then she tried to kiss you! She's lucky all I did was turn her nose green!"
"Why didn't you try and reason with her, milady Greengrass?" her husband teased.
"I did. I told her point blank that she should keep her wandering eyes to herself, that you were spoken for. She didn't listen, so I had to put it in a way her tiny little brain could understand."
Draco began to laugh. "Oh, Tori! You are priceless! I'm so glad I married you." He leaned over and kissed her.
Cory rolled his eyes. "Not that again!"
Lily just giggled.
Draco smirked, then said, "Oh, before I forget, we need to go over Malfoy House Rules. I don't have too many rules, but the ones I do have I expect you to follow, Lily. The first one's the usual, be respectful and polite towards us and any adult, including the teachers here at school. The second is no leaving the castle or the grounds without permission, and if you want to visit a friend, you need to ask us first—no trying to Floo yourself anywhere. No flying brooms without permission or wandering off in the castle. The castle, as I'm sure you know, can be dangerous, so you need to let us know where you are at all times. And, it goes without saying, no risking your neck for any reason. Also no lying to us. The same rules apply at Malfoy Manor. I'm missing something . . .oh, no fighting with other kids . . . unless they start something with you. Then you can defend yourself."
"What happens if I break one of the rules?" Lily asked softly.
"Well, you get in trouble, of course. There's only one major rule that will earn you a spanking from us, and that's risking your neck, which could also including wandering somewhere you're not supposed to. The rest of them . . . well, you'll get a time out, yelled at, or be restricted to your room, or not be allowed to have dessert, or have a friend over, or clean up the mess you caused."
"Or have your broom taken away," Cory added.
"Right. That's pretty much it. Think you can live with them, Lily?"
"Yes. They're fair and the same as my mum and dad used to have for me."
"Good. Now that's out of the way, you can enjoy yourself," her new father said. He rose to his feet, and Summoned his black Potion Master's robes and put them on. "I have to go, my class is in half an hour. I'll see you later." He bent and kissed his wife and son, and then kissed Lily too.
She wrapped her little arms about his neck and hugged him tight. "Draco, what should I call you?"
"My name's fine for now. If you want to call me something else, like Dad or Papa, that's fine too. Whatever makes you comfortable, Lily."
"That goes for me as well," Astoria added, though she would love to have the child call her Mummy. But she didn't want to pressure the little girl. It was a big adjustment, coming back from the dead and having a new family to deal with. "Bye, love. See you at dinner." Astoria called as Draco went out the door. He usually worked through lunch. She turned to her children. "Now then, how would you two like to go shopping at Diagon Alley this morning? I need to get Lily a whole new wardrobe."
"Can we go to the toy store too? Or the ice cream shoppe?" begged Cory.
"We'll see. If you behave and don't whine or cry," Astoria told him.
"Can we ask Sevvy and Alby along?" was Cory's next question.
"If Aunt Ginny says it's okay. Let me send her an owl." Astoria scribbled a note and sent it off with her owl, Cassy, short for Cassiopeia.
Lily clapped her hands. She loved spending time with Severus, and was glad Cory had asked Astoria if he and his brother could come along. She didn't feel very comfortable yet asking for privileges.
Ginny sent back a note that it was fine for Severus and Alby to go to Diagon Alley, and she would meet Astoria in the Entrance Hall with them. As it turned out, Luna and Frankie decided to come too, she needed to buy Frankie a new coat and mittens, as she was outgrowing her old one.
As Draco had predicted, Frankie and Lily hit it off right away. When Frankie learned that Lily too had lost her parents, she hugged her and said, "You must miss them an awful lot. But at least you have a nice cousin to go to like Aunt Tori and Uncle Draco."
"Yes. I'm glad they let me live with them," Lily said sincerely. Astoria had explained her presence in the Malfoy household by telling Frankie that she was a distant cousin and no other relatives would take her in.
"Not even your sister?" asked Frankie, puzzled.
Lily shook her head. "Tuney never got on with me because I have magic and she doesn't. She used to tease me and call me a freak. She's older and I'd never want to live with her."
"That's terrible!" Frankie exclaimed.
"That's Tuney for you," Severus remarked. "She's horrible, she used to scream at us whenever we did magic by accident."
"You knew her sister?" Frankie asked curiously.
"Sev used to live next door to me," Lily said. "He's my best friend. He taught me all about magic."
"Cool! Uh . . . Lily, you can have more than one best friend, right? Like a boy and a girl?" Frankie queried worriedly.
Lily smiled. "Sure I can! We can all be best friends together."
"Like me, Cory, and Rosie are best friends," Alby stated.
Now that was settled, much to the three mothers' amusement, Astoria led the five children down the path to Hosgmeade, where they could use the Floo in the Three Broomsticks to get to Diagon Alley.
Lily skipped along, it was a beautiful morning, and she grabbed Severus' hand and said, "Come on, Sev! Skip with me."
"Lily I . . . I haven't . . . done that in . . . a long time . . ." Severus half-protested.
"So? It's like riding a broom, you don't ever forget!" she grinned mischievously at him.
And it was then that Severus decided he could try and enjoy being a child again, for Lily's sake if nothing else. So he took her hand and skipped along with her.
Soon Cory, Frankie, and Alby were skipping too, and singing a silly song about a cat with mittens.
Astoria smiled at the joyous sound and felt wonderful again. Luna laughed as well, she loved little children.
The first place Astoria went to when they arrived in Diagon Alley was Madam Malkin's. Madam Malkin was an old friend of the Greengrass family and Astoria always shopped there. There weren't many customers in the shop at this hour of the morning, it was a few minutes shy of nine o'clock, and Madam Malkin spotted Astoria immediately and came over to say hello.
"Astoria, darling! It's been so long since I've seen you!" the elderly witch exclaimed. "How are you, dear girl? I was talking with your sister the other day and she told me about your terrible accident. Tori, dear, I'm so sorry!" She pressed her hand against Astoria's and her eyes welled with tears.
"Please, Ruth, I . . . I'm managing now," Astoria began. She still felt the loss of her baby deeply and sometimes the mere mention of it brought her to tears. "You see, a distant cousin of mine on my mother's side recently passed the Veil and she requested that someone from my family look after her little girl there," she indicated Lily. "And since Draco and I were . . . wishing for a little girl to raise, we agreed to take her in. Her name is Lily Samantha, she is such a sweet child, and very strong in magic . . ."
Ruth Malkin smiled at Astoria. "Oh, Tori, how fortunate! It's almost like fate . . .now what do you need from my shop today?"
"Well, I need a small set of robes for Lily, nice ones, but not too formal. And my friend Luna here needs a coat and mittens for her little girl, Frankie." Astoria began. Madam Malkin specialized in outerwear as well robes.
"Of course! Right this way, ladies, I have several new items and patterns in stock, hopefully you shall find something to suit . . ." Ruth led the way towards the back of the shop, where fittings were done, to show Luna and Astoria and the little girls different models of robes and coats and the patterns, colors, and styles they could choose from.
Madam Malkin laid out some books with fabric and styles in them and Lily, Frankie, and their mothers sat on some cushioned chairs to flip through them. Alby and Cory went to examine some scarves and hats, and Severus hovered over Lily's shoulder.
Lily frowned, she had never really been good with picking out clothes, that had always been Petunia's bailiwick. She studied the various styles of robes, some were cut with a square collar, others with a V-shaped one, and some had buttons and trim down the front, while others were plain. She looked up at Severus. "I . . . don't know what to choose, Sev. Could . . . could you help me?"
"Uh . . . I'm . . . well . . . sure . . ." He peered at the pattern and fabric book, wishing now he had gotten robes in more colors than black. He saw one that had a scooped neck and flared out at the waist with sleeves like a medieval lady's gown tapered and then flaring out like wings. "How about that one? I like the way the sleeves hang." He pointed to it.
"Me too! They look sort of like wings," Lily said. "Now, what about the fabric?"
Astoria turned and nodded, "Yes, that's very pretty, Lily. How about a light satin, it won't be too hot or too heavy."
"What's your favorite colors, Lily? You can get this robe in two tones."
Lily considered. "Uh . . . I like green of any shade and pink or mauve or turquoise. Or lavender."
"Hmm . . .we could do a mauve robe with lavender trim, or green and turquoise or lavender and light green . . ." Astoria mused.
"How about the light green color and this trim with white and lavender flowers and cats?" Lily pointed to a pretty trim of gold organza with the lavender and white flowers and cats between them. "Would that look good?"
Frankie and Luna peered at the pattern Lily wanted. "Oooh, I like that one!" Frankie squealed. "Kitties and flowers, how cute!"
"It is very pretty!" Luna said, and she smiled at Lily. "I think it'll look beautiful on you, Lily."
"I like it too. The green matches your eyes," Severus added.
"Then that's what I'll get," Lily decided.
"Good, now we need to let Madam Malkin measure you, and fit the robe to you," Astoria said, leading Lily over to the fitting stand.
It took only five minutes for Ruth to do a fitting on the little girl and she too agreed the robe would look perfect with Lily's bold coloring.
Next it was Frankie's turn. She chose a pretty pink coat with butterflies and a white kitten on the front. It had a soft hood of faux white fur and she picked matching pink mittens with the same fur on the cuffs. The coat had a little half cape on the back and Astoria said it made her look grown-up.
Frankie was so proud she kept twirling about in her new coat until she lost her balance and fell over. Everyone laughed, even Frankie.
"She's my daughter, all right," Luna grinned. "I was always tripping over my own feet." She helped her daughter up.
"Would you like to wear your coat out, sweetie?" asked Ruth.
"Yes, please!" Frankie said, beaming. She hugged Luna. "Thank you, Mum! It's the best coat ever!"
"I'm so glad you like it, hon," said Luna, paying for the item. She blinked when Madam Malkin told her the price. "But that's . . . err . . . is it on sale?"
"It is for you, dearie," Ruth whispered, winking at her. "Any friend of Tori's gets the family discount."
Luna looked surprised, but then she laughed. "Thanks! Tori, you and I will have to go shopping more often."
"I'll have the robe ready in a few hours, Tori," Madam Malkin said.
"You needn't rush, Ruth."
"Nonsense! It's not like I have too many orders to fill today," the older woman said. "Come pick it up after one, dear. Will there be anything else?"
Astoria and Lily picked out a scarf, hat, mittens, and boots as well, which Madam Malkin boxed and said she would place them with the robe on hold.
After that, they went down the street to Twilfit and Tatters, a high end wizarding clothing store, and Astoria and Luna had loads of fun helping Lily pick out clothes for everyday, everything from shirts, dresses, pants, jeans, pajamas, and underclothes. Frankie picked out some cool trainers with pink piping and a flower logo on the side. "Mum, can Lily and I get these? Then we'll match. Please, Mum, please?"
Luna, who normally didn't pay much attention to fashion, looked at the shoes and then at her daughter, who usually never asked for clothes, and agreed. "All right, I think they'll go well with your coat, Fran."
"Yippee!" Frankie yodeled. "Now we got matching trainers, Lily! We're the coolest!"
Lily grinned, Frankie's excitement was catching.
Of course, the boys were bored out of their minds by then, and Alby asked when they were going in the toy store.
"Right after we pay, boys," Luna said.
There were loud cheers at that statement.
Once Astoria had shrunk everything and put it in her large purse, they went to the toy store, where she said they might each pick out one toy or game, that was under five Galleons.
Alby scampered off to the trains, as usual, but then he halted and went back to where the stuffed animals were and started looking at them. "Bucky needs a friend," he told Severus.
Severus just nodded, recalling how he had gotten Mimic here. He turned to Lily. "Are you going to get a plushie to sleep with, Lil?"
Lily studied the array of animals. "I used to have a stuffed kitty I slept with."
"I have a raven. His name is Mimic, and he can talk to me," Severus confided to her. "Harry enchanted him."
"How awesome!" Lily said. "I wonder if Tori would enchant my animal?"
"When you pick one out, just ask her," Severus suggested.
Lily examined the row of cats, finally choosing one that looked like a real kitten, colored a pretty calico. It had green eyes and very soft fur. She picked it up and cuddled it. "Ooh! I like this one, Sev! It reminds me of a cat my mum had once. Remember?"
"Wasn't her name Bella or something?"
"Yeah! I cried for days when she got lost. Tuney left the door open and she ran away,"Lily recalled. She still thought her sister had done it on purpose, for she had never liked the cat, she said it shed all over and the litter box smelled. "That's what I'll call her. Bella!"
"That's a good name. Now let's go over by the potions kits," Severus tugged Lily's hand towards the display of childrens' cauldrons and other apparatus.
Soon he had picked out a small copper cauldron and a book called Potente Potions for the Aspiring Potioneer. "You still like to brew, right, Lily?"
"Of course! We used to be the best potion makers in our year, Sev. Remember the time we made the Draught of Good Dreams?"
Severus nodded. "That was the one that nearly got ruined by stupid Pettigrew spitting in it, the dunderhead."
"Ugh! You're right. And his mates, Potter and Black, were so dumb, they were laughing and rolling on the floor. I wanted to hex them good!"
"Why didn't you?"
"I didn't want to get detention," Lily admitted.
Alby tugged on Severus' sleeve. "Sevvy, I can't decide between a dragon or an ice phoenix. Which one would you get?" He held up both toys, one was a black dragon and the other a blue and white phoenix.
"Get the phoenix, Al. It's more realistic," Severus said.
"Okay! Now what do I call it?"
"How about . . . Boreas?" suggested Lily. "That means the North Wind in Greece."
"Boreas! Yup, that's a great name!" Alby ran off to show Cory his new plushie.
Cory chose a game called Marble Shooter, which you could play with two or more people, and Frankie wanted some cool colored paper, stickers, and scented chalk to draw with.
Astoria also allowed Lily to pick out some dolls, accessories, books, a potions kit, and drawing paper and crayons.
"Next stop, lunch!" Luna announced.
"Yay!" Cory said. "Merlin, I'm starving!"
A chorus of "me too" echoed him.
Luna treated them to lunch at a small café, where they could have chicken strips, fish and chips, or hamburgers. Astoria had a cranberry walnut salad and Luna a soup and salad combo. All the children ate heartily, and then they got sundaes from Fortescue's. Lily and Severus shared a triple banana split, Alby and Frankie had a coconut chocolate sundae, and Cory had a strawberry peanut butter milkshake.
It was after one when the small group backtracked to Madam Malkin's Robes to pick up the rest of Lily's things. After picking up her final purchase, Astoria was more than ready to head back to school and take a small nap. As they were heading out of the shop, the bell above the door chimed and a short witch wearing garish purple and black robes entered.
She had on three inch pumps that did nothing for her dumpy figure and her hair was frizzy and her eyes narrowed in dislike when she caught sight of Astoria. "Why, if it isn't Astoria Greengrass!" she sneered. She looked at all the children clustered beside the tall Astronomy professor and sniffed haughtily. "Playing nanny for a day, are you? I guess the stress of teaching got to you huh?"
"Pansy, fancy meeting you here," Astoria said coolly. "Are you here for a new fitting? That robe you have on looks like it's coming apart at the seams. Been eating one too many Cauldron Cakes?"
Pansy's eyes flashed daggers. "Actually, Astoria . . . I'm expecting!" she smiled cruelly at the other witch.
Astoria flinched at the venom in the other's tone. "Oh. Congratulations."
Pansy smirked. "Thank you. I always knew Goyle was more of a man than Malfoy."
"To each his own, I say," Luna interrupted before Astoria could lose her temper. "I wish you joy, Pansy, and hope the baby looks like it's papa."
"But out, Looney!" Pansy growled. She looked at the children and said, "So . . . let's see. You have Looney's kid here, takes after Longboob, and there's the Potter brats, your kid takes after the Malfoys and who's that little ginger-haired brat, one of the Weasleys?"
"She's a relative, Pansy." Astoria said coldly.
Pansy's eyes narrowed. "A relative? Of whose?"
"Never knew your line ran to redheads, Greengrass."
"You don't know everything, Parkinson," Astoria snarled, calling Pansy deliberately by her maiden name, ignoring the fact that she was married to Gregory Goyle.
Pansy glared. "At least I can carry a child to term, and don't have to take in charity cases. You must be desperate all right, Lady Malfoy! I'll bet old Lucius has something to say about you bringing redheaded foster children into the house."
"That's none of your business, Pansy!" Astoria snapped. "Now, get your revolting face and your corpulent ass out of my way before I stomp you flat." Her wand was suddenly in her hand.
Severus watched in alarm. He remembered only too well the rivalry between the two girls at school.
"They look like they hate each other," Lily whispered into his ear.
"They do," he whispered back. "Always have, since school."
"I don't like the fat one. She's ugly and nasty," Lily said, speaking loudly.
Pansy took a step forward, her wand also drawn. "Watch it, you little brat. Before I hex your tongue out!"
Severus stepped protectively in front of Lily. "Try it and you'll wish your father never met your mother." He gave Pansy one of his Snape glares.
Pansy backed up. "You better teach these brats manners, Greengrass! Or else I will!"
"Touch them, Pansy, and you'll be sorry you didn't go to Azkaban with the rest of your mates."
"I'm not afraid of you!"
"You should be," Astoria's eyes were blazing. "You should be very afraid . . . of me, Luna, and Ginny. Hurt our kids and we'll make sure you end up in a cell for nine months, with a Dementor to help you deliver your child."
"How . . . how dare you threaten me, you tramp!"
"It's not a threat, it's a fact," Luna said, coming to stand shoulder to shoulder beside Astoria, her wand out.
"You tell her, Mum!" Frankie shrilled, sticking out her tongue at Pansy.
"Yeah," Alby suddenly spoke up. "You look like a bird pooped on your head, lady."
"Or nested in your hair!" Cory cried, laughing.
"Did your face run into a lorry?" Severus added, sneering.
"When you were born, I'll bet the doctor smacked your mother," Lily taunted, that had been a favorite come back of Petunia's.
Pansy turned beet red. "You rotten little bastards! Just you wait! You'll get yours! Nobody make fun of me and gets away with it!"
Before she could say anything else, Ruth came over and said coldly, "Madam, you are causing a disturbance in my shop. Leave, before I call the Aurors."
"Wha-a-t! I've done nothing! Except get insulted by these rotten children! I demand you throw them out!"
"Madam, you aren't in a position to demand anything. Now march yourself out of here before I summon the Aurors to take you away," Ruth Malkin declared sternly.
"You—you can't do that!"
"I can and I shall. You have to the count of three. And be warned . . . once I deny you patronage, you won't find another modiste in this complex who will take your custom."
"You old hag!" Pansy spat, turning and marching out of the shop. "I'll fix you too!"
Astoria snorted. "The Dark Lord's gone, Pansy. So you have no one to run and blubber to now."
The shop door slammed and Madam Malkin said, "Good riddance to bad rubbish. Never liked that girl from the start, like her even less now. Heard she was Voldy's mistress way back when."
Luna wrinkled her nose. "I would think even he wouldn't stoop so low."
"Who cares?" Astoria sniffed. "My apologies, Ruth. We'd better be going, I need to rest up before dinner. Come along, children."
Astoria sailed out of the shop, doing her best lady of the manor imitation. Everyone followed her, and Astoria prayed that Pansy got run over by a bus, because she was a bitter and dangerous enemy.
A/N: well, what did you think?
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