Car Rides and Mansions
Edited: June 17, 2012
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter
Dearest Mother (whom I love with all my heart),
Have I told you that you looked beautiful today? Well, I assume you do, I haven't actually seen you since school started, but you're always lovely. I have a favor to ask of you, just a teensy-tiny one. Would you mind if Lily stayed with us for Christmas?"
P.S. By the way, Lily, Sirius, and I made up and no, they aren't dating.
James handed the short letter to his grey owl Rhino. James loved his owl and had it since his first year at Hogwarts. Sirius often made fun of James's fondness for the animal telling him it lowered his number on the manly scale (whatever that was supposed to be).
"To mom" he said. Rhino hooted in response.
The bird flew out the window with stunning speed and grace. After several seconds it disappeared into the darkening distance.
He leaned back in his chair and sighed. Lily really was a wonderful person if she had been able to forgive him so fast. He knew that what he had done was amazingly awful and vile. He left her in time of need. A time where he should have been there for her.
He couldn't help but feel like Lily was his responsibility now. With no parents and a sister who separated herself from her, she needed all of the support she could possibly receive. Hopefully with Lily staying with them over the break, she would be able to see how truly sorry he is.
James looked around his room as he thought. He had been in love with his Head Boy living space since the first time he saw it. There was a large window overlooking the forest and Quidditch pitch and a desk similar to the one down in the common room sat beneath it. His bed was huge and draped in all shades of red and gold and after a long day, it felt as if he was collapsing into a large cloud and that was always helpful.
He was snapped out of his thoughts about the bed when someone ran in and jumped on it, causing the many pillows to fly in all directions. It was Sirius.
"Hey Prongs. I couldn't seem to remember the last time we had a man-to-man talk so I decided to come up and strike up a conversation." The boy said grinning. His smile faltered a bit. "Listen, James, I understand if you want me to stay here for this Christmas…"
"Are you kidding Pads? Why wouldn't I want you to come! Without you, my mum would actually have to get rid of the leftovers once a week instead of letting you wolf them down every Saturday. It's not like I have any reason to be mad at you anymore, if anything you and Lily are the once who should be mad at me!" James said without thought while interrupting his friend.
That's when it struck James. What is Sirius was still mad at him? He seemed a bit reluctant to agree with Lily in the forest after all. James' face fell.
In truth, James had been right; Sirius didn't want to go to the Potter's for Christmas because his insides were still boiling. James had broken at least six of the Marauder rules! Sirius didn't think the boy should be forgiven.
With another look at his friend, he saw what Lily had in the Forbidden Forest. The look of sincere apology in James's eyes, as if he knew why Sirius was suggesting that he shouldn't go home with him for the holidays. His friend was sorry.
"Prongs?" he asked.
"I…I just want to forget this all happened, ok?"
"Me too, man, I really am sorry though. Do you still want to come over for Christmas?"
"Yeah ok." He said slowly. James's smile burst and seemed to change the whole feeling in the room. Sirius's smile carefully followed. "I guess we'll have another half-Marauder holiday." He said with a grin.
His next sentence was cut off by the sound of an owl flying through the window. That was fast James thought. He gingerly took the note attached to his owl's leg and quickly scanned his eyes over its words.
Yes of course Lily can stay with us! Oh this is wonderful! Tell her I'm very excited to meet the girl my son has been talking about for the past 6 years. Say hello to Sirius for me, I assume he will be coming too. I'll see you tomorrow.
"Yeah, but is it okay if it's a half-Marauder-Lily Christmas?" James said smiling. Sirius responded with a toothy grin of his own. This was going to be the best holiday yet.
"Sunshine! Wanna grab a compartment with us?" Sirius yelled down the train corridor.
The Hogwarts Express was just about to leave the Hogsmeade Station. Now Lily felt conflicted. Go with her friends she's had forever or go with her newfound friends that she was spending Christmas break with? Her eyes darted between the two groups on either sides of the small hall. She would twitch slightly in one direction and turn back to the other. The Marauders where full of silent laughter. She heard Alice giggle at her flustered attitude so she shot her a glare.
"Go ahead Miss Marauder. We were just going to sit with Frank any way…plus you should probably stick with them for the ride since you ARE going to their house and all that." Marlene said rolling her eyes.
Lily gave her a grateful smile and made her way to the Marauder's spot on the train.
She walked into the compartment and poked Sirius's arm with her finger.
"Scoot Snicker doodle." She said in a mocking voice.
He nodded and moved over a bit so that Lily could sit between him and James. She sat and straightened her shirt while a strange cough came out of Remus's mouth that vaguely sounded like "whipped". Lily smiled and Sirius maturely stuck his tongue out at Moony. James chuckled and easily predicted what was going to happen next.
"So Christmas or Halloween?" Lily said to Sirius as if she hadn't heard Remus.
She brushed a few stray strands of hair out of her green eyes and waited for his response. James thought it was wonderful how great Sirius and Lily could get along, but he couldn't help being a bit jealous.
"Easy. Christmas. Presents, pranks, and mum's pumpkin pie." Sirius said licking his lips.
"Yeah, I love Christmas too. My dad used to always read a chapter of our favorite book to us before bed and then we would set out cookies and carrots for Father Christmas and his reindeer." She said smiling sadly. James gave her shoulder a quick squeeze and Sirius returned her sad smile.
"Cookies or cake?" he asked her.
"Cake, I'm a sucker for some good frosting." She said licking her lips.
"I'm with you on the frosting part, but nothing beats Remus's mum's,"
"Snicker doodles," She and Remus said at the same time. Everyone was laughing at the drool that was practically dripping off Sirius's chin. He sure loved food.
"Oh" James said slapping his hand to his forehead, "it makes sense now!"
"What?" Peter asked.
He had barely made a peep the whole ride. He was going to be at his grandparents' house in Germany all break so James's offer for him to go to the Potter's house with Sirius and Lily was declined.
"That nickname!" he said leaning over Lily to smirk at Sirius.
Sirius just shrugged and propped his feet up on Remus's lap in the seat in front of him. Remus, who was wrapped up in a book, just pushed them off and continued reading.
"Flowers or chocolates?" Lily asked teasingly.
"Who would ask that to a guy?" James said, but his eyes were sparkling with mirth.
"Obviously Lily would." Replied Remus as he looked up from his book for a moment.
"Chocolates. Honeyduke's chocolates actually." Sirius said smiling. He frowned after a few seconds. "All this talk of food is making me hungry. I wish..."
Before he had even finished his sentence Lily was unzipping her bag and pulling out a package of Bertie Botts. She tossed them onto his lap before he made another peep.
"Thanks Sunshine, you know me well." He said wolfing them down. "Little weird actually. But it's also weird that when you were little you would run around screaming that…" Sirius couldn't finish because Lily had slapped a hand over his mouth.
"Oh what is this about Petal?" James asked smiling. "Do I sense blackmail?"
"Haha," she laughed nervously, "No, what are you talking about? I don't sense blackmail, do you Remus?"
"I chose to stay out of this," he smartly replied.
"Hogsmeade or Diagon Alley?" Sirius asked through a mouthful of jellybeans. Lily wrinkled her nose in disgust but answered all the same.
This question game was Sirius and Lily's "thing" as Remus had said. He stated that all friends had a "thing". Like the Marauder's was pranking, Lily and her friends' was the tree by the lake, and Lily and Sirius' thing was the many questions they asked each other. These questions were completely random and really had nothing to do with anything.
During the days that James was mad at them, they would ask each other questions to pass the time. Once Remus and Alice forgave them it became less, but it still stuck. The questions brought on little stories or jokes and it was quite amusing to watch them converse in the means of the simple questions. Lily and Sirius knew each other as well as Lily and Marlene did at that point and maybe even more.
Remus had also said that individual people had "things" and all those "things" contributed towards the friends' "things". Like how James' mischievousness, Sirius' planning skills, Remus' smarts, and Peter's ability to lie on cue all put points towards their pranking.
"Pie or Pizza?" Lily asked.
"Pie one hundred and ten percent of the way." Sirius said.
"Pumpkin right?" she said.
"How'd you know that? I've never pictured you as much of a stalker as James" Sirius said smiling over Lily to show that he was partially joking.
"Haha very funny." She said rolling her eyes, "Actually you said earlier that pumpkin pie was one of your favorite things about Christmas."
"You're a good listener Sunshine. So Black or White?"
Soon the two ran out ideas of things to ask, but they knew more would come into their minds soon, they always did. After a while the compartment became silent except for the sounds of Remus turning pages and Peter scribbling down a Potions essays. James was playing with the ends of Lily's hair and Sirius was trying to figure out how her pen worked. Soon Lily was slowly sent off into a world of sleep.
"Lily" a voice whispered in her ear. She sat up feeling groggy with a pulsing headache.
"Yeah?" she said with her eyes half closed. She vigorously rubbed them to snap out of it. The face of Remus slowly came into view.
"We're here." He said.
She turned to either side of her and saw that James and Sirius must have fallen asleep too for their reactions to the train stopping were quite similar. Lily stood and placed a hand on Sirius's head to steady herself.
"Ow, Sunshine, watch the hair," he hissed good-naturedly.
The group of five walked off the train and onto Platform 9 and ¾ with half of them in a sleep induced daze. The Marauders said their goodbyes and Lily gave Remus and Peter fleeting hugs along with promising Alice and Marley she'd write. She was about to follow James and Sirius, who she assumed were heading towards James' parents, when Remus held onto her arm.
She watched him pull something out of his pocket and duplicate it. He handed one copy to her and carefully stowed the other back where it was before.
"I figured you might want one." He said grinning. His amber eyes were sparkling. "Merry Christmas Lily." He said as he walked away.
She looked down at the paper and saw that it was a picture, a rather memorable one at that. Remus must have taken it on the ride over.
"SUNSHINE! WE'RE GOING TO LEAVE YOU IF YOU DON'T GET YOUR BUTT OVER HERE!" she heard the voice of Sirius yell.
Lily stuffed the moving photo into her pocket. She turned and walked forward at a quick pace towards Sirius and James who were standing next to an older couple. She could immediately tell they were James's mom and dad by Mr. Potter's messy hair and Mrs. Potter's warm hazel eyes. Just like James's.
"Mum, Dad, this is Lily Evans." James said gesturing towards her.
Lily stuck her hand out. What caught her off guard was when Mrs. Potter, instead of shaking her hand, pulled her into a strong hug and Mr. Potter quickly followed her lead.
"It's very nice to meet you Lily, you have no idea how much James as talked about you." Mrs. Potter said with a kind smile.
"You also have no idea how much I complain about it." Sirius said nudging Lily's arm. She laughed.
"Thanks, it's nice to meet you too Mrs. Potter." She said politely.
"Oh none of that. I'm Charlus and my wife is Dorea, we feel old enough already." James's dad said with a grin very similar to his son's. Lily nodded and easily returned the smile.
"The ministry had provided us with a car this year." Charlus said excitedly. "I'm not aloud to drive it of course, but it sure is fascinating."
Lily giggled and James and Sirius rolled their eyes. He reminded Lily of Arthur Weasley. He was a seventh year when she was in her second year at Hogwarts. His attraction to muggle objects was hilarious.
Mr. and Mrs. Potter exited the platform with the three young wizards in tow. Dorea was caught up in a conversation with her husband about what she was going to have the house elf make for Christmas dinner and Lily found it the perfect opportunity to show Remus's picture to James and Sirius.
She pulled it out of her pocket while trying to guess what their reactions would be.
"Looks like Remus is more devious then I thought." She said. " Don't think you're lucky I have this because he has one too." Lily waved the photo under their noses.
It was of the three of them sleeping on the train. Lily was stretched out across the train seat. Her head was resting on James' knees and her foot was on Sirius' lap while the other was propped up on his shoulder
James's right hand was tangled in her hair. His head was leaning against the corner of the compartment and every few seconds it would bounce due to the train's movement causing him to frown in his sleep, but not wake up.
Sirius was slouched slightly and seemed to be cuddling Lily's shoe. He was also snoring rather obviously.
In some ways the picture was sweet, in others it was hilarious and potentially embarrassing.
At the sight of them on the paper, Sirius was laughing and James was awkwardly running his hand through his hair.
"Why aren't we photogenic." Sirius said.
Lily laughed along with him and they all climbed into the car that James's parents had gotten. A ministry driver was at the front so both rows of passenger seats were facing each other.
All laughs came to a halt at the sight of Mr. and Mrs. Potter who were looking at them with "we mean business" expressions. It seemed like the temperature had dropped twenty degrees.
"Lily, dear" said Dorea lightening up a tiny bit, "we want you to know that this has nothing to do with you. Usually we would pull the boys aside to talk to them alone, but this is something we need to address now." She said. Mr. Potter turned to James and Sirius.
"A few hours after the first Hogsmeade weekend in December, Albus Dumbledore stepped out of our fireplace." He started. All three seventeen year olds turned pale at the thought of that day, and they all knew what was going to be said during the ride.
"He informed us that a group of Death Eaters entered Hogsmeade and started a duel with several of the students. He listed the four names and we rushed to the school in a matter of seconds.
We found our son and his best friends passed out in the Hospital wing covered in blood." He said, his voice cracking.
They all saw his eyes grow moist. Lily squeezed her own eyes closed and her hand automatically moved from its spot on her thigh up to her rib cage. She could feel the long scar from the event under her shirt. James, who was on her left, grabbed hold of the hand and pulled it down to his lap. He clutched it tightly to ward away her fears. The Potter's didn't seem to notice.
"You have no idea how awful that was for us!" Dorea said, shaking with tears streaking down her face. "Knowing that even a few kilometers from Hogwarts you could still get killed! What would have happened if a killing curse had hit you! What if you were skewered or you bled to death, or,"
James's mind went to the sight of the red snow that covered the spot where Lily had been. She had almost bled to death. He turned to see Lily with her eyes snapped shut. She was shaking yet his parents were still too focused on him. He saw Sirius's hand was gripping her shoulder, trying to lessen the little tremors that were going through her. It seemed to be making little difference.
"What would we have done if our boys died, James? All because you weren't thinking and wanted to be heroes."
"Professor Dumbledore didn't want us to talk to you about it when you awoke. He wanted you to tell us by yourself. He said you needed to do this. But neither of you boys spoke a word or wrote one letter about it. You need to understand that you can trust us." Mr. Potter said.
"James, Sirius, do you realize you can tell us anything? I felt like my little boy didn't need his mum anymore. Even after a situation so dire." Mrs. Potter asked shakily.
"I'm sorry mum. I didn't want to be pulled out of Hogwarts and I didn't want you to be scared," James whispered, just wanting the conversation to be over.
Sirius nodded and held to Lily tighter. She kept her eyes shut. Images flashed across her closed lids. The expression on Bellatrix's face, the sight of the blood seeping though her clothes, James's broken arm, and Sirius's black eye. All of it. Her struggle to contain her tears ensued once more and she felt James's hand grip hers even tighter.
"Lily, are you okay." He spoke in her ear.
The car had gone silent when Mr. and Mrs. Potter had finally noticed Lily's reaction to the conversation. She nodded and bit her lip. Everything was coming back. But most of all was that wicked curse. It had made her want to die. She would have done anything to make it stop. Anything. That's what scared her. After a few seconds of pain, she had been incredibly vulnerable.
"Sweetie, do you need us to stop the car?" she barley heard Mrs. Potter asked. Lily couldn't find the strength to respond, but she did feel sick to her stomach.
"Mom, pull over, now." James said, his voice shaking.
Dorea obliged and drove to the side of the rode. James flung the door open and dragged Lily out. Sirius was close behind. The two boys both looked away when she emptied the contents of her stomach out onto the snow.
She turned and walked to the left a bit. Lily sat on the cold ice and sobbed. She broke her promise to herself already. She felt two warm bodies sit on either side of her. Sirius grabbed her hand and she felt safe. James pulled her into a side hug and she felt cared for. She could feel James's tears drip off his nose and onto her head. Sirius's hand was shaking.
The length of time they sat there seemed like a millennium, but it was okay.
Charlus and Dorea watched their two sons help their friend. Dorea could already tell that it was no matter that Lily had an opposing feeling towards them because they all need each other now. She held her husband back when he made the move to get out of the car with them.
"No" she said. "Let them be alone."
They watched as Sirius stood. He pulled Lily and James with him. The three embraced, forming a big group hug outside the car. They watched as they all dried their tears and whispered reassuring words to one another. They climbed back into the car and saw that Mr. and Mrs. Potter were crying too.
"Lily, James, Sirius? Are you okay?"
Variations of "I'm sorry"s and "I'm fine"s came out of their mouths. The car started up again and they continued towards the Potter's house.
"Lily was hit with the Cruciatus and she did almost bleed to death." Sirius confided.
His words were laced with anger and the need for revenge. James noticed it was the first time he had heard Sirius call Lily by her real name since the morning he created his nickname for her.
Mr. and Mrs. Potter just stared at Lily for a few seconds.
"I'm sorry Lily…and James and Sirius…we had no idea it had been that terrible. We just saw, no one told us what had really happened in the sense of injuries. I shouldn't have been talking about it." Dorea said. "We just wanted you to realize how much it actually meant when you didn't say anything." She said looking this time at James and Sirius.
"Mom, it won't happen again. I'll make sure of it," James said strongly. The remaining Potters nodded their heads in response and silence took over the car.
"So Sunshine…Ice cream or frozen yogurt?" Sirius asked. Lily shook her head sadly. What she needed was a few moments to clear her head
A few minutes passed and the vehicle stopped. They all got out in a slightly better mood and Lily couldn't help but gasp at the sheer size of the Potter's home. It was gigantic and she didn't seem to have enough time to marvel at it because Sirius was pulling her towards the door. He was practically skipping. He was home.
They all stopped just inside the doorway.
"We're going back to the ministry soon. We work the afternoon and night shift today, but we'll be back for dinner tomorrow at the latest. Lily, I'm so sorry your stay had to start like this. I wish we could have avoided the topic," said Charlus.
"No, I understand. It would have had to have happened eventually." Lily said smiling best she could. Mrs. Potter gave her another hug.
"Lily, we'll be your family now okay? We're there for you as much as we're there for James and Sirius." She whispered in her ear.
Lily nodded and her heart swelled. The Potters were the very best of people; the ones who'd do anything to help a wayward soul or mend a broken heart.
They all watched as Charlus and Dorea stepped into the fireplace and departed in a flash of green smoke. The second they disappeared in that puff, Sirius turned around and grinned widely. It wasn't just any grin though, it was the grin that said 'the parents are gone and now we can do something without getting in trouble'.
"Truth or Dare anyone?" he asked.
Please Review! Tell me what you think about this chapter.