Chapter 6 : The Aftermath
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Lily Potter lay in her bed, smelling her pillow. It still had some of his scent on it. She breathed in deeply knowing it wouldn’t be there forever. Her face was red and puffy through crying and her hair had started to look greasy and unkempt. Lily looked towards the window and grabbed her wand. The curtains flew open and light streamed in through the transparent glass. It was grey and cloudy outside, mirroring her mood. She sighed and shifted her position so her face was down in the pillow. She thought about James and like every morning since his death, began to cry.
Downstairs, Sirius Black was busy feeding his Godson. He picked up the spoon and began putting yoghurt into Harry’s mouth. Harry pointed to the bowl.
“More?” asked Sirius.
Harry nodded and smiled. He wasn’t quite speaking fully yet.
“You asked for it” Sirius grabbed the spoon and pretended it was a motorbike. He made revving noises as the spoon made its way towards Harry’s mouth and the boy laughed as he ate the yoghurt. Sirius sighed. He looked at the boy with black hair and felt a pang of sadness and depression. “He’s going to look just like James” he thought. The feeling welled up inside of him as he tried to hold back his tears. He took deep breaths and tried to slow his breathing down. An arm reached out and touched him. He looked over at Harry who had his arms raised. Sirius picked him up and hugged him, holding him closely.
“I’m never going to let you down Harry; I’m always going to be here for you. I made a promise to James and I will never break it.” The boy hugged him back and Sirius let him down to play with his toys.
The fireplace erupted with its normal green glow.
“Remus” Sirius said morosely.
“Sirius” Lupin answered back without emotion. He was also looking worse for wear. He was obviously not sleeping well and his eyes were betraying the amount he had been crying. He glanced over at Harry before turning back to his friend.
“How are you holding up?” Sirius asked.
“Terrible, in all honesty. I don’t know how to deal with any of this. Half the people I knew are dead, I killed people Sirius. No-one ever tells you about the nightmares, the screams that you hear at night” Lupin answered, his eyes almost empty of life.
“It had to be done Remus, there was no other way around it. It will get easier with time.”
Lupin slowly nodded.
“How’s Lily doing?”
“Not good, she hasn’t been out of the bedroom since New Year’s Day. She hasn’t even seen Harry. The boy is confused as hell. He hasn’t seen his mum and dad in days. He keeps asking after them.”
“She’s refusing to see him?” Lupin enquired.
“I think she knows how difficult it will be, he looks just like James.”
They both looked at the boy playing with his toy Hogwarts train. The boy looked over to the pair.
“Mum?” He asked with a smile.
“She will be here soon, Harry.”
“Dad?” The boy asked with a smile.
“Maybe” Sirius managed to choke back.
The boy returned to his train as Sirius and Lupin looked at each other.
“You need to get her to function again Sirius.”
“How can I do that? Think about how much she has lost”.
“We all lost something that night mate, she has something worth living for though, don’t forget that, she can’t abandon her son and stop seeing him.”
“She’s not willing to talk about it Red.”
“Then it’s time for some tough love, make her see that she still has a life, that there is still hope. She can’t spend all her time moping around. She needs to accept her loss to fully recover.” Lupin summarised.
“Maybe you’re right” Sirius looked at his friend, the two marauders that were left.
“I will talk to her later Remus” He went over to Lupin and gave him a hug, making sure he knew how much his friendship was appreciated. Sirius let go of his tight grip and stepped backwards.
“Is there any news about the service for all of the victims?”
“Yeah, they said it would happen a week after the battle. They want everyone who fought there to honour the dead” Lupin finished.
“Can’t wait” Sirius said sarcastically.
“Just promise me you will do one thing for me” Lupin asked.
“Talk to Lily, try to reason with her.”
“Alright, I will. God, you’re starting to nag like her” Sirius broke out into a grin, it felt like the first time he had smiled since the Battle.
“I’m ok with that, it’s for a good cause” Lupin smiled back at his best friend, transformed into a fox and went to play with Harry.
Sirius carried Harry upstairs for his afternoon nap and placed him gently into his bed. The child smiled as he gently dozed off. Sirius watched his little body rising slowly and gently with the patterns of slumber. He quietly opened the door and closed it with a small click. Sirius gently made his way down the hall to the master bedroom. He took a deep breath and edged open the door. He silently entered the room and made his way over to the lump that was nestled in the duvet. Sirius could hear heaving sobs as he approached and he sat on the edge of the bed. He placed a comforting hand on the shape and stroked through the duvet.
“Lily” he whispered slowly.
“Go away, Sirius. I don’t want to talk right now”.
“I understand that Lils, but I want you to get up.”
“What for” Lily replied with a hint of depression resonating in her voice.
“For Harry, and more importantly for you.”
Lily shifted her position and pulled the duvet away from her head, her eyes sparkled and glistened with recent tears. She looked Sirius directly in the eyes.
“I can’t do it Sirius, I just can’t” she looked heartbroken “If you think I can look at him, spend time with him and pretend everything is normal, then you are asking me for the wrong thing.”
“He needs you, he keeps asking for you. Harry’s confused.”
“I can’t I look at that black hair, Sirius? One look and I will crumble.” She pulled the duvet back over her head, disappearing under a heap of blankets.
“Think what James would want”.
The duvet quickly revealed her anger. She was now red in the face, with a look of thunder on her features.
“HOW DARE YOU, SIRIUS BLACK” She screamed at him with hatred “HOW DARE YOU USE JAMES TO MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY” she was breathing heavily.
“HOW DARE I?” he asked rhetorically. “HOW DARE YOU USE JAMES AS AN EXCUSE NOT TO SEE YOUR OWN SON. I HAVE NEVER HEARD OF SOMETHING SO SELFISH. HOW COULD YOU LEAVE HARRY COMPLETELY?” Sirius hollered back, getting his feelings of his chest and giving as good as he got.
“YOU DARE CALL ME SELFISH, YOU ARROGANT PRICK. YOU HAVE ALWAYS BEEN THE SAME. IT MIGHT HAVE SLIPPED YOUR NOTICE, BUT MY HUSBAND DIED YOU INCONSIDERATE BASTARD” She lunged herself at him and raised her hands hitting his body continuously trying to inflict pain and hurt him. He gently held her arms and wrapped her into a hug. She was an emotional wreck and fell into his chest crying loudly. He let her rest and regain her energy. He then held onto her arms and took a step backwards.
Sirius locked his eyes onto hers and they flashed dangerously. He took a deep breath and spoke with a slow and clear tone, voice slightly raised but not shouting anymore.
“You think you’re the only one who lost James? Don’t think you were the only one who loved him Lily. I was forced out of my home when I was sixteen; the Potter’s took me in. He was like a brother to me, I knew him better than anybody. How dare you stand there in front of me and tell me I’m not grieving enough for him. You need to get your head out of your arse Lily because this is not what James would have wanted. It would have crushed him up to see you this way. I know James would have wanted you to move on with your life. I’m not saying to do it immediately, but at least see your son.” Sirius’ eyes bore into her emerald orbs.
Lily paused and then slowly began speaking “I’m scared Sirius, how can I do this without him?” she registered her fear with her husband’s best friend.
“You’re not alone Lils, do you remember when me and James made the unbreakable vow in Dumbledore’s office?”
“Do you remember what I promised, when I looked directly at you?”
Lily nodded her affirmation again.
“I will look after Harry forever, I will try and help you in any way that I can. You will not raise him alone. Remus will help too.”
Lily broke down and sobbed
“Oh Sirius, you’re right. Of course you are. James wouldn’t want me to wallow. We even talked about it” She stared at his brown eyes. Somehow they calmed her and her breathing slowed.
They were both interrupted by crying from down the hall.
“Shouting must have woken him up” Sirius grinned sheepishly “Ready to see your son?”
“Yes” she whispered.
They left the master bedroom and walked down the corridor together. They opened the door to the nursery and stepped inside. Harry stopped crying immediately and looked up at his mother.
“Mummy?” the boy asked with a big grin on his face. He held his arms out. Lily ran over and scooped Harry off the bed, twirling him round. She hugged him tightly and cried. Sirius stood by the door and smiled. Eventually everything would be ok he thought to himself.
“I will always be here for you precious” Lily half-sobbed. “I will never leave you again”.
Tuesday morning arrived extremely quickly. It had been a week since the Battle of Hogsmeade and it was another cold, grey British day. Rain or snow, depending on the location seemed to have been falling for weeks. Lily Potter was sitting on her sofa, waiting for One O’clock. She glanced over at the tall grandfather clock in the corner of the room. She sighed, it was only showing 12.45.
She walked over to the kitchen to pour herself a glass of water. She sipped from it carefully and looked out into the garden. Tears started forming in her eyes, welling up to the surface and threatening to spill over onto her face. She took a deep inward breath and exhaled with force. Lily repeated the process several times, trying to calm herself. She had to be strong, especially today.
Lily turned sharply, frightened by the voice. She soon smiled at the faces before her.
“Remus, Sirius” she hugged both men. “I’m fine, just composing myself”.
“Understandable, where’s Harry?”
“Sent him to my parents today, they don’t know much about the magical world, so thought it might be best.”
“You ready?” Sirius asked.
“As ready as I’ll ever be”. Lily walked over to the fire place and stepped into the flames. “Hogsmeade” she said quietly and clearly. She was whisked away from her standing point and quickly arrived at her destination. She stepped out of the grate and into the freezing cold of Northern Scotland. Snow was falling as she waited for Remus and Sirius to follow after her. They both arrived and they both offered her their arms for support. She accepted both as they began walking onto the site of the battle. The field that was covered with bodies and blood on that night was looking beautiful now. Snow had dusted the field and white marble headstones were lined in rows across the field. Black chairs had been set up in front of a stage and people were beginning to sit down. Lily, Sirius and Lupin made their way to the middle of the third row, Molly Weasley on their left and Frank Longbottom on their right. Around them seats continued to be filled as more mourners, mostly family members of those who had been lost trudged across the field. The snow continued to lightly fall, as the Minister for Magic, Millicent Bagnold made her way to the microphone placed at the centre of the stage.
“Ladies and Gentleman” her voice ringing out across the field.
“We are here today, to mourn the victims of the Battle of Hogsmeade. Those who willingly gave their lives for a greater wizarding world are to be honoured and celebrated. We must not forget that their sacrifices also come with a heavy sense of loss and anger. We have lost fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons and daughters. Time will help us heal although we can never replace those who have been taken from us. What we must do as a society, is make sure nothing like this is ever allowed to happen again. We must make sure we live in a fair society where blood status doesn’t dictate how you are seen, where magical creatures are equal as they were when they fought alongside us. I hereby declare New Year’s Eve to be a wizarding day of remembrance for future years, lest we forget those who died a week ago. Wizarding Britain must now stick together and work harder than ever, to repair the damage done, only then can we truly honour the selfless men, women, centaurs, threstrals and goblins that gave their lives so that we all could live and see another day.”
Lily had stopped listening halfway through the speech, looking at the nameless headstones lined up in rows. “There’s not even names on them” She thought. She turned her head back to the stage and watched as the Minister for Magic finished her speech and then received a list from a man sitting near her.
“We will now read out the list of those who gave their lives for the wizarding community at the Battle of Hogsmeade in alphabetical order”.
“Aldridge, David; Ashman, Phyllis; Awcock, Robert; Baker, Derek; Baker, David; Baker; John; Batchen, Phillip; Barker, Benedict; Boyle, Graham”
People were no longer looking at the Minister but watched in astonishment as each name was called out; their names, date of birth and date of death were etched onto one of the white marble tombstones. Sirius looked over and read the quote under this information. “Victory cannot be achieved without sacrifice”. He looked over at Lily and grabbed her hand, giving it a squeeze, she almost crushed it in response as tears fell down her cheeks.
The minister continued ploughing on the list of names, including magical creatures as well. She occasionally heard names she recognised such as “Dumbledore, Aberforth” and “Fletcher, Mundungus.” Still the minister kept going in a slow, sombre voice.
“Lognuk; Longbottom, Alice”
The list of names continued as Lily waited for James’ to be read out.
“Potter, James”. Lily squeezed Sirius hand as Lupin put an arm around her. She looked at Sirius’ face and saw him crying. She broke down and sobbed into his jacket, barely registering any other names being read out, although she just managed to hear
“Weasley, Arthur”. That might have been more to do with the scream from Molly that followed it.
The Minister of magic reached the last name of “Zissman, Stuart”. She paused before she next spoke.
“Too fully and truly honour those who fell during the battle, this field will now become a cemetery that only wizards and the magical creatures that fought in the battle can see.” Millicent Bagnold waved her wand as out from the ground came a pair of golden gates and brick walls that surrounded the field. Above the golden gates was an inscription that read “For those who fell at the Battle of Hogsmeade.”
“As well as remembering the loss, we must also celebrate those who fought so heroically. Any of those who fought on New Year’s Eve will be awarded the Order of Merlin First Class. For now let us remember those who have fallen.” Millicent Bagnold sat down and the band started to play as people got up from the seats and either began to leave or visit the headstones of their lost ones.
Lily arose and walked to the rows and rows of headstones, she walked past white marble after white marble until she found the one she was looking for.
Born: 27th March 1960
Died: 31st December 1981”
She collapsed onto her knees and sunk into the snow. She reached out her hand and stroked James’ name. A single tear fell down her cheek into the snow. She felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked up at Sirius.
“He meant everything to me.”
“I know Lils” Sirius replied with a strained voice.”He loved you so much, I’ve never seen a man so whipped for so long” he half laughed. Lily laughed through her tears as well.
“Well, I suppose I did leave him in limbo for a while when we were younger” Lily remembered.
“That was probably my fault, I was a bad influence”.
“You were his best friend Sirius, he loved you.”
“I’m going to miss him so much.” Sirius stroked the headstone.
“Me too” Lily reached over to Sirius’ hand and held it as they both sat in the snow looking at James’ name.
“Lily”. A voice interrupted them from behind.
“What are you doing here?” Sirius’ voice was laced with menace.
“I came here to offer my sympathies”.
“What for? You hated James” Sirius stepped towards the man.
“I never would have wanted him dead” the man raised his hands in defence.
“Shouldn’t you be on the run? Hiding and snivelling like normal?”
“Sirius that is enough! This is not the time or place” Lily chided him. “He saved my life during the battle.”
“James saved your life Lily; he gave up his life for you. Like normal Snivellus was a second behind.”
“Either way, he was on our side.” Lily looked between the two men.
“Convenient isn’t it, just before Voldemort falls, he switches sides” Sirius shouted, people turned to look at him.
“Sirius go over there”. Lily pointed towards the chairs. “I will meet you in a minute.”
“I don’t trust him” he whispered into her ear and stormed off.
“Why are you here Severus?” She turned to look at his beady, black eyes.
“Too give you my condolences”.
“No you’re not, Sirius is right. You didn’t care about James.”
“I wanted to see if you were OK” Snape said quietly “I’m sorry for everything that has”.
“Yeah I’m obviously doing great” She replied sarcastically. “We haven’t spoken since 5th year Severus, ever since you called me that name. We used to be so close and you blew it.”
“I’ve changed my ways.” He said with pleading in his voice.
“And I’m glad you have, I just wished you would have listened to me 5 years ago instead of realising too late.”
“Me too” he said honestly.
“Severus, I have enough going on in my life without this. I’m going home.”
Lily turned to walk away
She hesitated and shifted around with her eyes again full of tears.
“For what, Severus?”
“I did it for you, to try and protect you and James and Harry”
“So you did this all for yourself, for your personal gains?” Her voice rose slightly.
“Not like that” he quickly managed to stammer.
“THEN LIKE WHAT?” Lily shouted.
“I wanted to show you that I had changed, so that we could be friends, so you would trust me again.”
“That will never happen Severus, you had my trust once upon a time, and I doubt you will ever have it again.”
Lily went to walk away and turned once more.
“Thank you for trying to save me that night.................I just wish you had saved James.”
She left Snape standing there in silence and stormed across the field towards the gates of the new cemetery
“Lily, wait”. She heard Sirius shouting. She waited for him to reach her.
“Are you OK?
“Fine, I just want to be left alone. Just let me have some time to myself.”
Hermione Granger was once again fast asleep in her small bed in Surrey. Her dreams had involved nothing but a black-haired boy. The two-year old was having a different dream this night. In her vision was a beautiful red haired women with gorgeous green eyes, somehow she recognised them from somewhere. Into her vision now arrived a black haired man who kissed her deeply and passionately. They were obviously very much in love.
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