"I'm sorry, guys, but what the hell is the Order of the Phoenix?" Mary asked, shaken up noticably more than the others. The students were seated in the Room of Requirement, choosing not to go back to classes after the interesting talk that they just had.
"It's a group of people he wants to fight against Voldemort," Sirius said darkly, being the one most well versed in that particular subject. Sirius wrapped his arm around the blonde Gryffindor, Dorcas, and kissed her head protectively.
"I got that," Mary said, a bit testily. "It's just, what are we supposed to do?" She looked around at the group of teens, who didn't know how to answer that. "We're just kids," she said sadly, her eyes scanning everyone in the group.
"Dumbledore used to be just a kid," said James, whose fingers were still laced with Lily, the red-head.
"Yeah, but that's Dumbledore! I mean, we're just, so normal."
"She's right," Peter said, a bit squeakily. "I mean, sure, you guys are all fine and dandy with a wand," he said, motioning to the others. "But what about me? I barely passed Herbology," he said, leaning his head in his palm.
"You'll be fine, Pete," Remus said, clapping him on the back. "Think about it. We've known each other for seven years. We know how to work together, and we really care about each other. Dumbledore chose us for a reason." Mary looked down again.
"But I don't," she said, looking up and glancing at Marlene quickly. "After everything that's happened," she trailed off, sneaking her eyes towards Sirius. "Why would he pick me?"
"He must trust you," Marlene said, taking Mary's hand. "I know I do."
"But how can you say that," Mary said exasperatedly. She stood up in frustration, leaving her wand where she was sitting previously. "I'm friends with Emmeline, and Samantha," she said, rattling off some names of Ravenclaws in their year. "You don't hear the name Mary associated with Lily and James." She sat back down, this time her tears falling from her eyes.
"Do you remember Alice and Frank," Lily said, inching closer to Mary, leaving James reluctantly. Mary nodded yes, her head now faced down, her hair swinging in front of it.
"They're part of the Order now, Mary. Them and three others from their year." She looked up at Lily in disbelief. These people were only a year older than her. They used to be just like her.
"We can do it, Mary. Who else do you know that are more loyal than the eight of us?" Remus asked, helping Lily coax Mary into even thinking about joining.
"I guess that's true," she said, a small smile reaching her face. "We should go though," she said, her voice returning to it's more serious note. "Classes, and all."
"And today, at the end of our years here at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I want to talk about a word." The crowd tittered a bit at that, but silenced soon again, thanks to Lily Evans' calm exterior. "I want to talk about the meaning of the word commencement. It doesn't come up too much, believe it or not, in all of the essays I've written in these past few years. It did, however, intrigue me from the moment I first heard it. I was at my sister Petunia's commencement ceremony, as they call it in muggle England." She swallowed deeply, as she heard some of the grumbles of disapproval that a muggle born had been chosen to make the class speech.
"Commencement means a beginning. It seemed a bit silly when I first rushed home to search my dictionary to find the meaning. A beginning, I thought. But, they just graduated! They just finished their years in education." She cleared her throat, clearly a bit nervous.
"But, the more I thought about it, the more it rang true. We do leave here today, in boats, the same way we arrived. But we also begin a new life, with new opportunities. We get to meet new people, and experience new things. So, fellow classmates, if there's one thing you remember about Lily Evans, I want it to be that she taught you the word commencement. And I want you to know," she said, turning to the sea of parents, "that we are ready to commence. To begin," she said, finishing with a relieved smile. The clapping came fast and very loud, and one face could be spotted from her place at the podium. Well, from her perspective, it was the only one she could see. James Potter.
"Thank you Miss Evans," Dumbledore said, coming up to the podium and shaking Lily's hand. She departed back to her seat in the first row, reserved for the Heads and Prefects.
"And now, we shall commence," he said, pausing to allow a bit of laughter, "the ceremony of diplomas." Dumbledore was well through the A's before Lily started listening again. She was focused on the love of her life that happened to be sitting right next to her.
"James," she said excitedly.
"Yes, love?" he asked, turning away from Dumbledore's eyes to meet hers.
"We're almost done! It's almost over," she exclaimed.
"Did I hear wrong, or did you not just make a speech how this was a beginning?" he asked, a smirk on his face and somehow in his voice.
"Oh shush, James," she said good-naturedly. "You know what I meant," she said, punching his arm softly.
"I do know," he said softly, pushing her hair behind her ear as they grew closer. "I love you Lily," he whispered, hesitating only for the reciprocation.
"I love you James," she said, not even saying James' name fully before his lips crashed onto hers.
Two of the usual eight were missing that night. Peter had been with his mother, who had grown sick with cancer. She was not doing as well as Peter had hoped. Mary, however, had declined the invitation extended to her in May of that year. The rest were all laughing over some Firewhiskey. Finally laughing again, at least.
"Hey Evans, is this the first time you've had alcohol?" Sirius asked mockingly, throwing his head back in laughter again.
"Don't you mean, hey Potter?" Dorcas asked, laughing along with her boyfriend. Lily rolled her eyes, but leaned into James, only further proving their point.
"We're not even married yet, Dorcas."
"Married, engaged, what's the difference anymore Potter," Sirius said between spurts of laughter. Him and Dorcas were not of sound mind as of about half an hour earlier.
"Oh shut up, you two. I've got a massive headache already," Marlene said, her and Remus in the same boat.
"Don't be jealous, Marls," Dorcas said, hanging off of Sirius, and turning back to kiss him very sloppily.
"No one in their right mind would be jealous of that, Doe," she said, taking another gulp of her drink, her eyes flicking around as Lily glanced at her skeptically.
"No fighting tonight, everyone," James said smoothly, stroking Lily's hair in habit. "Otherwise Lily and I are going to go home right now and have sex." Everyone laughed at that, but Lily turned red automatically.
"Don't be so crude, James," she said, slapping his chest. "That definitely won't be happening now." Everyone cackled again, mostly at James who had finally submitted to Lily's fiery temper, and realized that most of her threats were relatively empty.
"We should get going anyway," Remus reasoned, putting down his glass. "We've got to get up early and meet with the rest of them tomorrow." Everyone turned silent, and the laughter died down slowly, the smiles fading. They had forgotten the real reason that they had been together so much lately for a moment. Sirius and James took another gulp from their own glasses, and everyone began to get up.
"I'll see you tomorrow, mate," Sirius said, slapping Remus on the back, and throwing down ten galleons for the Firewhiskey they had purchased.
"Make sure you get home safe," Marlene said, straightening Dorcas' jacket and hugging her goodbye.
"I'm going with Sirius to his uncle's house. We'll be safe," she said, smiling at Marlene again, who sighed at that. She kissed Lily on the cheek, and told her the same.
"Don't worry Marls. We are staying with his parents until they get Godric's Hollow settled, so we'll be safe. Will you be getting home alright?"
"Remus said he'll walk me to my building. He's such a gentleman, isn't he? They all really are," she said, looking back to the three men who were talking seriously with each other in the corner.
"Is there something going on there? Lily asked, eyeing Remus with a raised eyebrow.
"Don't be silly, Lil," she said, glancing back at Remus for a second. It would be so much easier if she liked Remus. "We're just friends."
"Alright, whatever you say," Lily said with a hint of laughter in her voice. "See you tomorrow," she said to Marlene and Dorcas as James took her arm, and began to lead her out of the bar.
"Let's go Dorcas," Sirius said, wrapping his arm around her and kissing Marlene on the cheek. Marlene touched her cheek absent-mindedly, and said a distant goodbye in return to the happy couple, who were swaying in time to their own melody.
"You ready to go," Remus asked, holding Marlene's elbow as she watched other two leave in high spirits.
"Yes," she said, as if coming out of a sleep, still a bit hazy. He held the door, and she ducked under his arm to head outside.
"So, Marlene, how have you been?" He took her hand, and they began walking down Hogsmeade's main road towards Marlene's flat.
"I'm fine, Remus," she said tiredly. "Just a bit scared, if I'm being truthful."
"I know. If we're being truthful, so am I," he responded with a laugh that was almost adolescent in tone.
"You've been through so much, Remus," she said, looking up at the tired werewolf.
"How can you be scared?"
"It's different than that, Marlene," he said, as they turned the corner to a side street and off the main road. "I've always known that I'd be okay in the morning. You know, once it's all over and I'm back to normal I'll be normal and it'll be a regular day again. But now..." he said, trailing off.
"You don't know what's going to happen next," she finished for him.
"Exactly," he said, a comfortable silence settling between the two. The street lamps lit the street dimly, and the air was sticky in the heat of August.
"I should go in now," Marlene said, stopping in front of the building's door. He pulled her in for a hug, and they stayed there for a bit.
"Hey," he said, pulling away and looking into her eyes. "Talk to Mary again, will you?" She sighed, but nodded in agreement. Marlene had the closest ties to Mary, and was the only one who had spoken to her since the end of school.
"Of course, Remus. I'll try again. You talk to Peter, okay?" she asked, biting her lip in anxiety. "He's not as brave as you all, you know." He nodded back, a sad realization washing over his face.
"We'll be fine, Marls. We just have to get through this. It'll be fine soon, I promise." He smiled at her, and walked back down the few steps to allow room for Marlene to open her door.
"I know," she said laboredly, hanging on the now ajar door. "See you tomorrow," she said, waving to him sadly.
"See you," he said to Marlene, after already turning back to apparate home in the darkness.
"I won't tell you," she said, her hair whipping to the side in the salty wind.
"You think that now," the wicked, smooth voice said, his body seemingly unaffected by the harsh conditions as her's was. "But when we're done with you you'll not only tell me where they are, but how to get there," he said, leaning in close to her and emphasizing the last couple of words. She spat in his face, but wasn't able to speak as her airway cut off not a second later.
"Stupid girl," he said, the pale feet walking away. The girl struggled against the bonds, but there was no use. He would be back later anyway.