The summer was anything but fun for the Potter family. Charlus was working constantly. Everyone in the department of magical law enforcement was working overtime. There had been several raids on old wizarding family's houses; the Blacks, the Lestranges, the Malfoys… The ministry had taken a hard line in their response to the death eater's attacks on Hogwarts. Following the break-out at Azkaban there was even more work for the auror department. Not only were they helping with the raids but they had taken on the responsibility of guarding the wizarding prison. They were also busy trying to re-capture the escapees.
James had barely seen his father in the month that he had been home. It was the middle of august and Dorea, James and Sirius were helping Nancy move into her new home. Doreen and Cynthia were running around upstairs, fighting over bedrooms as the older wizards and witches unpacked. All of the new furniture that the Potter's had bought for the siblings was in a single box. Dorea had shrunken them with a spell and now she was returning them to their usual size. Nancy was pointing to where she wanted things to be placed whilst James, Sirius and Dorian carried the heavy furniture around. Nancy laughed, "It might be easier if I just do it by magic."
"You say that now?" Sirius replied sarcastically. "Bit late don't you think?"
Nancy laughed before mock hitting Sirius across the head. She looked around the now unpacked living room and smiled, "it's perfect!" The walls were a bright white whilst all the furniture was a light sandy colour. She smiled, "thank you so much Dorea."
Dorea hugged the young girl, "you're family now – this is what we do for family."
"We better go sort upstairs out – or Cynthia and Doreen will be fighting over bedrooms for the next month," James laughed.
The cottage house was nowhere near as big as the Potter's house but it was just what Nancy wanted. There were beautiful flowers and a pretty pond in the garden. The cottage was in the little village of Ottery St. Catchpole. Nancy was delighted as she had always been good friends with Molly Weasley - a girl who had been a few years above Nancy at school. Molly lived within walking distance of the cottage and so Nancy would have a friend nearby. There were quite a few wizarding families in the area as it was such a remote part of the country. Nancy had also managed to get a job working at the ministry with the help of Charlus. She had been working in the Floo Network Authority Office since leaving Hogwarts in July.
Lily was lying back on her bed reading one of her textbooks. She had already done all the homework her teachers had set but she was incredibly bored so she had decided to read her new textbooks in preparation for September. She hadn't spoken to Severus for the whole summer. He had called for her several times but she had refused to see him. He had also tried writing but she hadn't even read his letters. "Lily! Severus is here," Janice Evans called from the bottom of the stairs, "come speak to him would you?"
Lily sighed, "fine…"
She walked down the stairs slowly. Severus was waiting for her by the front door. "Can we talk?"
"Get outside," Lily sighed.
They stood outside on the porch. Lily wasn't looking at him, "What do you want Severus?"
"I'm sorry…" he whispered.
"You're sorry. You and your friends almost kill me and my friends and you're sorry?" Her eyes were angry.
Severus gulped, "you were never meant to be with them…"
"So you just wanted to kill my friends?" Lily asked angrily.
"No – just Potter," he looked like he was about to cry.
"Oh ok… well that makes it so much better," Lily replied sarcastically.
"I'm sorry," Snape replied.
"I don't care!" Lily almost screamed.
"I can't lose you, Lily…"
"You already have," Lily replied sadly, "I can't be friends with a death eater."
"I… I'm not… I just wanted to protect you so when they said that they were going to…" Snape thought quick on his feet, "I'm not one of them, I promise."
Lily laughed, "You must think I'm stupid."
"No," Snape replied as Lily turned away from him, walking towards the front door. "Look…" He cried desperately. She turned around, her hand resting on the door handle, "look…" He began to roll up the arm of his shirt. "Look – if I were one of them I'd have their mark wouldn't I?"
She looked closely at his arm, "maybe you just haven't proven yourself yet."
"That's not it… I promise you," he lied.
She looked into his eyes, watching him for the longest time. She couldn't tell if he was lying to her or not. Eventually she made a decision, "you better not be lying to me, Snape!"
"No, I promise," Snape replied.
She nodded, "ok – we're not ok… but I'm willing to try and be your friend."
He sighed in relief. "But you need to understand something; I will never forgive you if you are lying to me!"
"Do you want to go to the park?" Lily asked.
"Love to," he smiled at his best friend.
Remus and his mother were walking down Diagon Alley. "Remus, what does your list say you need?"
"Er, the standard book of spells (grade three), intermediate transfiguration, Numerology and Grammatica…" he listed off his book list.
"Do you need any new supplies other than books dear?" Mrs Lupin laughed.
"Oh… yeah I guess so…" the boy smiled.
"Let's order your new uniform first. You really have grown so much," Mrs Lupin said to her son who was slightly taller than her now. "Have you written to James to about next week?"
"Yeah – I replied last night," Remus nodded.
"Good – I bet you miss your friends don't you?" Mrs Lupin asked.
"A bit," Remus agreed.