The rest of their first week at the Potters' manor house went relatively quickly. The Gryffindors had tons of fun with the Jackson sisters. Most of their time was spent outdoors playing different games around and in the pool. They had fallen into something of a routine. Sirius, Peter and Mary were particularly lazy and so would usually sleep in until midday. Alice and Frank would spend their mornings out in the forest behind the house exploring. Marlene would spend the morning either writing letters to her family or with Mrs Potter visiting the local people. They had even stopped in on Marlene's grandmother. One morning during their outing Marlene asked why Mrs Potter made such a habit of visiting the local people. "There are many reasons dear," Dorea smiled. "I visit the wizarding folk because many of them are my friends… like your grandmother. It has also become something of a tradition that the Mrs Potter of the day shows kindness to the wizarding community in the area. It has been done for generations. I also visit the muggles – although that is done very differently. In previous generations, Lady Potter would give them tonics when they were ill or would help them in any way possible. The Potters' have always been the rich family that they barely know. Things are very different now… muggles are much less trusting than they once were. Now I visit them and place wards around their homes… protective spells… without their knowledge of course."
"That's amazing Mrs Potter," Marlene smiled.
"Well not really – you live near people, muggle or wizard, and you grow attached." Dorea laughed slightly, "you begin to care and when you care you will do anything to protect the ones you care for."
Marlene nodded, "I suppose so – I've never really thought of it before."
"You haven't had reason to yet," Dorea frowned putting an arm around the young girl. "And if I am honest – I hope you never do. I remember when I was your age – I would never have imagined doing this… Even when I was older after Hogwarts, I struggled to see myself filling the role."
"When did you and Charlus meet?" Marlene enquired.
"At Hogwarts of course," Dorea's eyes lit up at the memory. "We were young. He was a few years older than me… It was practically love at first sight not that either of us would have told a soul."
Marlene laughed happily at the idea.
"He first saw me at my sorting ceremony… He has told me many times how devastated he was that I was sorted into Slytherin. It didn't stop him liking me though… he still loved me. I had to beg the hat to put me in Slytherin. It wanted to put me in Gryffindor but I really didn't want to let my family down." Dorea sighed.
"When I left Hogwarts and Charlus proposed I turned him down. I wasn't ready for all of this," Dorea gestured to the house that they were approaching. "I wanted to be independent. I wanted to do things for myself. I wanted a career. My family although weren't particularly impressed. They wanted me to marry. It was what you did in those days."
"Instead I stayed at Hogwarts to teach," Dorea smiled, "I was very young, abnormally young. Usually they insist that you wait… get some life experience before taking a teaching position but Armando Dippet was due to retire at some point… so I spent the next eighteen years training and then working alongside Albus – Professor Dumbledore to you."
Marlene giggled slightly. "Charlus and I continued courting… he never stopped loving me… but his parents began to put pressure on him to marry. They told him it was his responsibility to provide the family with an heir. He felt so torn; torn between his loyalty to me and his responsibility to his family. He rearticulated his proposal but in my ignorance, not knowing what his parents had said, I told him not yet. He was devastated. I've never seen him so heartbroken. I really thought I'd lost him."
"He told me that he needed time to decide what he wanted to do and he told his parents the same but they began throwing girls at him… he was always such a gentleman but he refused to marry any of them. Instead he focused on his work. He had finished his auror training by this point and was gradually rising up in the department. He was the youngest auror team leader in fifty years."
"His parents couldn't have been happy?" Marlene asked.
"No – they weren't but they were proud regardless. He was making a name for himself. He didn't need one of course being a Potter but they were happy that he was growing up into such a fine young man. When Professor Dippet retired I took Professor Dumbledore's position. It didn't last long… The same year, Charlus asked again… It was a chance encounter in Hogsmeade… He was so amazingly sweet… He told me that he would never love anyone the way he loved me. No one on earth could possibly compare. He spoke of my goodness, my heart, my kindness… I fell in love with him even more that day… I started crying. I loved my job. I loved my independence… but I loved him more. I couldn't refuse him again. I couldn't break his heart again."
"So I accepted but before I could he told me his plan… he would get us a house in Hogsmeade. We would live their near the school. He would commute to London… and come home to me at night." Dorea grinned, "We married that summer… the summer of 1956… it was a beautiful wedding. The Potters' and the Blacks' spared no expense. My parents although not happy that I wanted to continue my career, were delighted that I was finally getting married. The only thing left was to provide them with grandchildren. Of course by the time James was born, Charlus' parents were dead. The late Mr Potter had died several years before. He was an auror, like Charlus. It has been a tradition in our family… a raid gone wrong… Mrs Potter got to feel James kick once… it was a brief joy for her. She died of a broken heart… she couldn't live without Leothold. A month before James was born, Riannah passed away."
Dorea frowned sadly, "We'd been trying for so long… to have a child but hadn't been successful. We were so blessed to have James. It was the best thing to happen to either of us. Minerva, Professor McGonagall studied under both Albus and myself… we stayed in contact and she would often visit us whilst she was working at the ministry. In 1956 she told me that she was unhappy at the ministry and so I offered her a position at Hogwarts. I arranged it with Dumbledore. I taught her everything that Albus had taught me. We became very good friends working together… to this day we are the best of friends. I knew that when Charlus and I finally had a child, I would have to take my leave of Hogwarts and I needed a replacement and not just any but one of great competence. Minnie was perfect for the job."
"In the March of 1960, James was born but I discussed it with Charlus. I wanted to continue teaching. I wasn't quite ready to give it up. I taught for one more year but I gradually began to feel that I wanted to devote my time to my family. During that year, our house-elf Mippy, I don't know if you met her… she cared for James whilst I worked part-time. Minerva carried on visiting us often and helping out with James. She absolutely adored him."
"You'd never know – the amount of stern looks she gives him," Marlene commented.
Dorea laughed, "She did that when he was younger too. So at the end of the school year in 1961 I left Hogwarts and we moved to our flat in Wimbledom… I still wasn't ready to become Lady Potter. It was too much. The house remained empty for three years and we lived in London. It worked well… Charlus had just been promoted to the Head of the Auror Office and was incredibly busy."
"We spent the occasional summer here but nothing more but then when James was four I felt the city was no longer the best place for our family. He was very young when he first showed signs of magic and he wasn't very good at controlling it. I knew it wouldn't be long before our muggle neighbours noticed something… so we moved here. He became friends with Alice and Frank – neither of them live far away… He was finally allowed to fly his broomstick in the garden. He hadn't been allowed before because of the muggles. It was perfect and I was finally ready to take on my role as Lady Potter…" Dorea chuckled happily.
"Do you regret any of it?" Marlene asked as they walked up the path to the front door.
"I have no regrets. What could I possibly regret? I have the perfect husband… the perfect son… the perfect home… the perfect life… and I had the chance to have the perfect career… I have experienced everything I could possibly wish to experience. All that is left is seeing James grow up… see him married… and of course I'd love to have grandchildren one day." Dorea grinned happily.
Kate, Remus and Lily spent their mornings doing homework around the house. They mostly worked in the den but Lily soon found that Kate and Remus were barely doing any homework. They were mainly whispering to themselves in the corner. Lily thought it was cute but she also found they distracted her from her work. She decided to move herself into the library. The library already had an occupant. "Potter…" Lily got the fright of her life. "What are you doing here?"
"Er… excuse me?" James asked, slightly confused.
"I – I never put you down for the sort to spend your mornings in the library," Lily blushed. "I would have thought you would be in your bed, like Sirius or Peter…"
"Er…" James looked nervous.
"What are you doing?" Lily asked.
"Er… nothing much. Just spending a bit of time in MY library."
Lily blushed, "Right. Yeah. Do you mind if I join you?"
"Sure…" James nodded before returning to what he had been doing before Lily had interrupted him.
Lily looked over at his work, "You're actually doing homework?"
"Er… yeah?" James frowned.
"You actually do homework?" Lily looked at him in surprise.
"Of course I do… I have more important things to get detention for than not doing my homework. I usually do my homework on Saturday morning when everyone else is still asleep."
"To keep up your public image?"
"Something like that," James grinned.