Above and Beyond

Friends?

LILY

There was shouting from downstairs, the raised voices being muffled by the walls. I sighed heavily. I was used to it by now, it had been going on for twenty years, but it still made me uncomfortable. Why couldn’t they just get along? How can they keep up a relationship when they can’t even be friends? And the worst one: what happens if they can’t even have the relationship anymore?

James heard my exhalation and turned to me with a smile. “Why does it surprise you, Lil? They’re always fighting.”

“I just worry that one day, one silly fight will get out of hand, and they will both get hurt because of it. It could go too far. What if they break up?” I looked back down at my book, making my long red hair fall over my shoulder, hiding my face from him.

He obviously wasn’t going to tolerate that. I heard him get up off the bed and walk across the room to kneel at my feet and brush my hair aside. I kept my eyes on my book and tried to ignore the screams that were still echoing up the stairs.

“What do you mean?” He asked, lifting my chin with a finger so I was forced to look him in the eyes.

“You said it just then, James. They’re always fighting! What happens if it gets out of hand? I don’t think either of them could take that. And what about us? If they go separate ways, how will that affect you and me, if my best friend and your best friend want to avoid one another entirely? Does that mean we have to go with them? What—”

“Shhh,” He cut me off before I could get too hysterical. His eyes read the terror on my face seriously. “Where is all this coming from? And how the sodding hell does it affect us? Yes, they are our best friends, but if they split, it doesn’t mean we have to. Besides, I love you too much to ever leave you for too long. You’re stuck with me forever.” I smiled reluctantly when he grinned and winked at me. “And they are not going to break up, they love each other more then what a silly fight could do. It’s just their personalities clashing. You know how they are. They’re both so confident and loud.”

As if to confirm his statement, Nikki’s voice suddenly increased in volume, and it rung out loud and clear. “SIRIUS BLACK, YOU WANKER! THAT IS NOT A BLOODY EXCUSE! GOOD LOOKS DON’T GET YOU EVERYWHERE!”

“DON’T TEST ME, WOMAN!”

EXCUSE ME?!”

I started laughing at Nikki’s incredulous and furious scream. James was right and I knew it. They did love each other, and even though it sometimes seemed like that wasn’t true we all knew it was there. James didn’t notice me continue to giggle silently as the screaming match continued downstairs. Obviously sick of hearing it all, he got up and shut the door, making sure to slam it loudly.

Only when he turned around did he notice me convulsing in silent laughter, the wooden chair I was in creaking slightly with my movements. He gave grinned at me and gave me an inquisitive look

“You’re right. It’s the personalities.” I giggled.

He laughed with me as he sat at my feet, “You know that they will stop pretty soon, and when we come down, they will probably be snogging madly.”

He looked up at me to see me smile and then he leant his head on my knees. I brushed my fingers gently through his unruly black hair, trying to make it sit a little flatter. It didn’t work and I didn’t expect it to but James didn’t seem to mind. He probably thought I was just running my fingers though his hair because I could. “Don’t we have the strangest friends?” he murmured after a minute or so of us both not saying anything, yet hearing the muffled shouting from the living room continue.

“We sure do.” I smiled. “But we love them.”

“Damn right. Probably because they are the only ones who could put up with us and our never-ending shouting matches at school.”

“Yeah. You started most of those, I’ll have you know.” I teased, shifting my legs slightly but making his head bounce on my knees roughly.

“That’s not true.” He said indignantly. “I only antagonised you so that I could get you to speak to me in some way, even if you did insult me and my ego. At least I got to hear your voice. You didn’t have to get so mad all the time.”

“I can’t help it! I don’t really have the best temper.”

He laughed, “You don’t need to tell me that, Lilyflower. I don’t think anyone knows it more then I do.”

I laughed with him, hitting him on the head lightly, and his gentle laughter seemed to cut out the muffled yells from downstairs. We sat in comfortable silence, and after a moment I closed my eyes, listening to the quiet.

“Lily?” I heard James whisper. I didn’t bother to open my eyes.

“Hmmm…?”

“Don’t you think it’s just a little bit too quiet?”

“Oh!” I gasped, jumping up suddenly. He was right of course, in my moment of peacefulness I hadn’t noticed that the noise from downstairs had finally disappeared. Unfortunately for James, I had forgotten he was still leaning against my legs when I stood up, and his head to fell backwards and hit the leg of the chair with a muted thud.

“Ouch.” He grumbled, rubbing his head.

I pressed my lips together tightly, trying not to laugh. He could tell and frowned at me. “Sorry, honey.” I managed to say, helping him back to his feet.

He rolled his eyes at me because I was still trying not to laugh. “Should we go survey the battle zone?” I nodded.

As we walked down the stairs quietly, we began to hear Nikki murmuring softly, and I realised with relief that they weren’t making out in my living room.

“Sirius…Siri? Why are you so shocked? You knew it would happen eventually.”

“It’s just…he-he was my friend…” came the slightly strangled reply.

“Who was your friend?” James asked as we rounded the corner. I saw Nikki standing there, her eyebrows pushed together in worry, holding Sirius’s hand tightly. When I looked up at him, I noticed with shock that his face was white, and he looked like he was struggling with himself internally. He stared at James with agonized eyes.

“What’s wrong, Padfoot?” James asked.

“You…you didn’t hear it?” Nikki said, ignoring his question.

“Hear what?” I asked, and when Nikki didn’t say anything, I looked at Sirius warily, who was still staring at James silently, clearly trying to convey some sort of message. When no one answered me, I got more frantic. “What didn’t we hear?!”

“The beep.” Sirius murmured quietly, turning around.

The beep. My stomach dropped to the soles of my feet, and I followed Sirius’s gaze slowly to the black screen directly in front of me. I hadn’t even thought to look at it when I had come in, and if I had, I most definitely would have seen the name on it, glaring at me in blood red; the familiar name of an old friend, one of the most important people in James and Sirius’s lives who turned his back on them in a moment of selfishness.

PETER PETTIGREW

James continued to stare at the screen in shock, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open. Sirius was still looking at him, trying to read his reactions. Nikki and I watched them both warily.

A part of my was sad that Peter had died, and it almost felt like he didn’t deserve to go Below, but obviously there was too much evil in him. I spent seven years of school with him and although, I admit, I always found him a bit annoying and weird, he was part of my school life and a good friend to the rest of the Marauders.

I took James’s hand gently, knowing he would need some kind of support. I remembered seeing him so hurt and betrayed looking when he discovered that Peter had betrayed him and I knew that seeing his name again probably brought up bad memories rather then good.

After a long moment, James let out a big breath and looked down at me and at my worried face.

“I’m okay.” He sighed, letting go of my hand to slide his arm around my waist and pull me closer. I knew that this was mostly because he needed to have me close for support rather then as a loving gesture, but I didn’t mind.

We looked at Sirius who lifted the corner of his mouth wryly, “We knew it was going to happen eventually, right? Better sooner then later I suppose.”

We nodded and then James suddenly said, “Hey, now Moony is the only Marauder left on earth.” His face contorted into sadness.

But Sirius laughed, “I always thought it would have been the other way round.” When we looked confused, he sighed and explained, “Moony and I always thought that Prongs would marry Lily and they would live to about two hundred with millions of great-great-great grandchildren running around the house. I thought Wormtail would live to a normal old age, but lonely and I thought Rem would have carked it first, you know from the stress of being a werewolf and everything.”

“And when would you have gone?” I had to ask.

He shrugged, “I wasn’t really sure about that. When I was really young, I wanted to live as old as possible and still be able to fly around on a broom and make all these cool potions. But when I got older I just wanted have all you guys in my life somehow and be as far away from my family as possible.” He laughed again, “I probably would have killed myself making up some insane spell to torture Snivellus with.”

Nikki and I giggled quietly and James rolled his eyes. “That is some twisted logic right there, mate.”

The mood had lightened perceptively and I suddenly wasn’t so tired anymore. “I’m going to make some tea.” I announced to the room at large, heading into the kitchen, “Anyone want anything?”

“Chocolate frogs!”

“Firewhiskey!”

I rolled my eyes at James and Sirius, “Anything that’s not almost entirely made of sugar or alcoholic.”

The both frowned at me and shook their heads now that I had limited their choices substantially. I clucked my tongue at them and moved around the kitchen, hearing them all shuffle the chairs around the table, evidently choosing not to sit in the living room right under Pettigrew’s name.

I turned around to see Nikki wandering into the kitchen behind me, smiling gently. “I thought you might like a hand, seeing as those two slobs can’t be bothered.”

“Thanks Nik.” I grinned at her. “About time someone offered to help me.”

She laughed, moving to stand beside me and wave her wand so the tea bags fell into the mugs perfectly. “Well, you should have known when you married James that he would never be much help around the house.”

“I did know that. I lived with him for an entire year, remember? Even in the Heads common room I had to pick up after him!”

Still snickering, Nikki said, “I know what you mean. The reason I’m not living with Sirius right now is because I don’t feel the need to take on a job as his maid yet, seeing as he has only been here two years. I was enjoying not having to clean up all his crap.”

We laughed together but after a moment we fell silent as we focused on our jobs. After a few minutes, Nikki murmured, “Do you think they’re okay? Sirius and James, I mean. About Peter?”

I looked up, surprised not at her question, but at her use of his first name. I thought I was the only one who still called him Peter, seeing as James and Sirius refused to call him anything other then Pettigrew or ‘that two-faced rat’. Sometimes ‘Wormtail’ slipped in there, but it was only if they were feeling comfortable enough to use the old nickname. I didn’t think that changing what they called him would make his choices and the implications of those disappear and evidently Nikki didn’t think so either.

I regained my composure to say, “They will be. It’s just a shock. I’m sure that deep down, they are really sad that he has to go Below. He was their friend for so long and they will still have those memories.”

“Yeah,” Nikki sighed, picking up her hot mug, “You’re right. But I still hope they—”

She was cut off by a loud CRACK that resounded through the kitchen, followed by my shocked shriek. Something had just materialized in the middle of my kitchen, and not that it was odd in the Wizarding World to see things appear out of thin air, but not many people Apparated in Above and evidently I was out of practice.

I looked down to see a house elf standing on the cream tiles, looking sad and slightly scared. He was really quite clean for a house-elf and was entirely covered in knitted garments. There was a multi-coloured beanie on his head, covering his ears, blue mittens on his hands, a thick green sweater covering his body to his knees and long, bright pink socks on his bony feet.

James and Sirius came sprinting in, obviously put on edge by my scream, only to stop dead at the colourful ball of wool standing in our kitchen.

James walked over to me and rubbed my shoulder, “Are you alright, Lils?”

“I’m fine.” I insisted with a small laugh, gesturing to the house-elf who was now watching us as his tennis ball eyes widened to the size of basketballs. “This house-elf just appeared and scared me to death, but I’m fine.”

James looked down at the house-elf who was now bouncing on his feet, looking rather excited about something. “Who are you?” James asked.

“I’m Dobby, sir!” The house-elf squeaked enthusiastically. “You’re James Potter! Dobby has heard a lot about you and about Lily Potter.” He turned to stare at me, then at James. “You look just like your son, James Potter. Harry Potter looks just like you. But he has his mother’s eyes. Dobby remembers those very well. They were the last things Dobby saw before he was here.”

“You knew Harry?” I whispered, suddenly liking Dobby a lot more.

“Oh, yes Dobby knew Harry Potter. Dobby first met Harry Potter to warn him that bad things were going to happen at Hogwarts and that Harry Potter was not to go back there. But Harry Potter is very brave and kept trying to go back to school. Then he saved Dobby and freed Dobby from his master by giving Dobby his own sock! Dobby promised to do what ever Harry Potter wanted him to do and was always there to serve Harry Potter. He was a very good friend to Dobby, and even came to save Dobby when he was captured by his old masters.”

I was amazed that Harry had been so caring to this elf and so brave. I was also happy that Harry obviously had needed Dobby before and he had been ready to help. I looked up to see Nikki and James both looking equally astounded but Sirius was just smiling at Dobby and I realised that he probably knew about Dobby before.

“When did Harry have to save you from the Malfoys, Dobby?” Sirius asked.

Dobby spun around to look at Sirius who was still standing in the doorway of the kitchen. “Sirius Black!” he cried, “Harry Potter misses you very much, sir. He was very sad when you fell into the veil.”

Sirius nodded, looking solemn but touched before saying again, “When did Harry save you from the Malfoys? He never told me about that.”

“It was just tonight, Sirius Black, sir. Dobby was called by Harry Potter to the Malfoy’s house because Harry Potter needed Dobby. Dobby helped him get Mr Ollivander and Luna Lovegood out of their cellar but then Dobby got into trouble when he saw Master Malfoy and Mistress Black. But Harry Potter helped Dobby get away. Then Dobby got a pain in his chest, and Dobby saw a knife right here,” he pointed to the middle of his chest, and I gasped, “And the last things Dobby saw where Harry Potter’s eyes before he was here. They were as green as yours, Lily Potter.” He turned back to me, “But they were more wet.” He added with an after thought.

“He was crying,” I murmured to myself. My heart melted for Harry’s pain, he obviously cared for Dobby.

“Your masters were the Malfoy’s?” James asked, “No wonder Harry needed to free you from them.”

Dobby nodded, “They were not very nice masters, but Dobby had to keep working for them until they gave him a piece of clothing.”

“But you said Harry gave you the sock. You wouldn’t have been free if he gave you the sock and not Malfoy.” Nikki said.

“Harry Potter put the sock in the diary that belonged to Master Malfoy.” Dobby explained, “Then Master Malfoy gave Dobby the diary to carry and Dobby opened it to find the sock Harry Potter had put in there. Dobby was free.”

I was about to say something when Dobby suddenly looked around and said, “Dobby must go now. Dobby can’t stay here. But Dobby wanted to come to meet Harry Potter’s parents and thank them for what they did for Harry Potter.” He looked at James and me with his big, bright eyes. “Thank you, Lily and James Potter, for dying for Harry Potter so that he could live. Harry Potter is a very brave, kind person who Dobby knows will defeat Lord Voldemort. Dobby had the honour of knowing Harry Potter and was allowed to call him by his name, which Dobby has never been allowed to do before and Dobby is forever grateful.”

My eyes watered at the transparent honesty that Dobby had and how clearly he was very grateful to my son and what he had done for him.

“Dobby has to go, but Dobby wishes he could stay with Lily and James Potter. And with Sirius Black who Harry Potter misses dearly. Thank you Lily and James Potter, Dobby is forever grateful!”

There was another loud CRACK and Dobby disappeared.


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