Above and Beyond

the Headmaster

LILY

What a whirlwind of a year it’s been, but I have a funny feeling that it’s only just the beginning. Having Sirius here, everything seems so much brighter and more lively. He even seems happier then he was on Earth with Nikki back in his life again. He now lives in a house next door to us, but he may as well be living in our house. He is over here all the time. And I love him, but it can get kind of annoying. The good thing is that James seems so much happier having his best friend with him again. I swear they are like two little kids, those two. They just never grew up. I should have thought about that before I married one of them.

I could even feel myself loosening up over the past year. It felt vaguely familiar and it took me ages to figure it out. It was like in seventh year at Hogwarts, when I first started dating James. My friends and I started to hang around with the Marauders most of the time and I actually enjoyed doing it. Mary and Nikki were each dating Remus and Sirius respectively, at the time so we could all hang out together as a group without it being awkward. The more I hung out with James and his mates, the more I loosened up as a person, but then when James and I arrived up here, I started worrying about everything. Life back down on earth, and Harry especially and I began to tense up again. Anyway, my point is that with Sirius back with us, I was starting to slowly relax.

Over the past year, Sirius told us all that he knew about Harry, his life and his friends. He told us about the night that he died, about Harry’s first and second year adventures at Hogwarts in detail, and all about Harry’s friends.

“Ron is the loyal one,” he told us one night when we were sitting around the fire at James and my place. “Harry sat in his carriage on the train on the way to Hogwarts in first year and they have been best friends ever since. He’s quite a funny guy and is like Harry’s second in command. He is the youngest boy of the Weasley family, so he gets lots of handed down books and robes. Draco Malfoy—Lucius’s son—often teases him about that and Harry and Ron hate him, about as much as you and I hated Lucius, Prongs. Ron’s twin brothers Fred and George are real funny blokes, great pranksters. Though not as good as the Marauders.” He shared a smirk with James, “but they are like the Marauders of their generation. They opened a joke shop in Diagon Alley just this year after dropping out of Hogwarts.

“Hermione is the smart one. Ron and Harry saved her from an escaped mountain troll in the castle in their first year—I know, what a cool way to get a girl. Why didn’t we think if of that?—anyway, the three have been inseparable since. She was quite uptight and very bookwormy at first, and her greatest nightmare was to get expelled, but the boys have loosened her up. She is a muggleborn and she gets a great deal of crap from Malfoy and his cronies about that as well. She is an incredibly bright witch, smartest in their grade by far and she works extra hard to achieve what she does. Just like you, Lily in the sense that she is muggleborn, yet so much smarter then most of the pure bloods in the grade. And don’t tell Harry or Ron I told you this, but I reckon the boys would be useless with out her. They are quite smart themselves, but they would be nothing without her brain.

Then there’s Neville, Luna, and Ginny–”

“Sirius!” I had interrupted, “What about girlfriends! Past and potential. Any future brides, perhaps?” I wanted to know everything about my son, seeing as he couldn’t tell me himself, but I was a female after all, there was only so much we could take about ‘just friends’. I wanted to get to the good stuff.

Sirius had grinned at me, “I was just about to go there, jeez Lils, don’t get your wand in a knot.”

“I’m serious!” I’d complained, I had really wanted to know about these girls who would never be good enough for my son.

“No you’re not. I am!” Sirius chuckled and James and I had rolled our eyes at the over-used joke. I had been waiting for that. “Okay, okay, let me think…” he sighed, purposefully teasing me, “There was Cho Chang, who Harry liked for ages, but didn’t get the guts to do anything with her until fifth year. She was in Ravenclaw, in the year above.”

He had grinned when James burst out “Woooo! Go Harry! Go for the older birds!” I raised my eyebrows at him and because he is a smart man, he shut up.

“So? What happened?” I had urged.

Sirius laughed, “Nothing really happened. She was in Dumbledore’s Army that year—the group that Harry led, which I told you about—and at Christmas time, when everyone had left, it was just her and Harry in the room, some mistletoe appeared and they had a bit of a snog.” He grinned at us, James gave a wolf whistle and I beamed. “But nothing else really happened. I think they had one proper date and then they just sort of…fell apart. End of Harry’s love life so far.”

I felt my face fall in disappointment and Sirius had laughed at me. “Don’t worry Lils, ‘cause I haven’t told you about Ginny yet.”

“Ginny?” James had asked in surprise. “Ron’s sister? The one that you told us about when Harry and Ron saved her from the Chamber of Secrets?”

Sirius patted James on the head like he was four years old, “Good work, Prongsie. You’re catching on!” James smacked his hand away and they stuck out their tongues at each other. I sighed, so mature.

“Hello! Back to Ginny please.” I said, bringing their attention back to the very important subject of discussion, “Did she and Harry go out? For how long? Are they still dating? Is it–”

“Slow down there flower,” Sirius cut in, “just listen. No, nothing has happened between Harry and Ginny just yet, but you mark my words, they will end up dating by the time Harry finishes at Hogwarts and between you and me, I think that maybe, just maybe, they could end up getting married.”

I hadn’t been able to keep in my squeal of delight at this news, and the boys laughed at me.

“Yep,” Sirius had gone on, “I think that she is perfect for him. She knows what makes him laugh, she is a very smart witch when she puts her mind to it and she can stop Harry when he gets carried away in his ‘Saving the World’ schemes. She has a really fiery personality, like you Lils, but Harry seems to be able to keep that in check.” He chuckled before adding, “She had hair like yours too Lily, all the Weasley’s do, but it seems to match her personality very well.”

“Hmmm… seems all the Potter men are quite fond of red heads.” I mused.

James had grinned and hugged me closer. “Sure are.”

Sirius laughed at us, then said, “The funny thing is, Ginny had a huge crush on Harry for ages, she never used to be able to talk when he was in the room. But she had seemed to loosen up a bit over the past year and I think that, because of that, Harry will begin to take more notice. Don’t you love irony?”

I had not been able to stop smiling throughout the entire conversation, and I really hoped Sirius was right. Harry needed a bit of love and happiness in his life.

…………………………………….

The four of us were sitting around Sirius’s kitchen table, James, Nikki and I listening with good humour to Sirius telling us about his doomed adventures at the Ministry again. “So, the Order and I had just arrived and we could see Harry and his mates duelling with the Death Eaters. Harry was fighting with Lucius Malfoy, so I came up and said in a manly voice ‘step away from my godson.’ Then I punched him in the face, which was the best feeling.” He grinned haughtily, his grey eyes glistening, “Then another Death Eater came and Harry and I started duelling them both. Harry managed to disarm Malfoy at the same time I stunned my guy, and I said, ‘Nice one, James,’ because he did it just the way you used to do it Prongs, then I stood beside him and–” he was cut off by a loud beep that echoed around the room.

We all looked up at the same time, and it took me a long time to register the name that was up on the screen. ALBUS DUMBLEDORE was lit up in vibrant purple, tears came to my eyes reflexively as yelled out, “No!”

I thought about the fact that the only man who had been my mentor and inspiration for my entire life, probably the most powerful and talented wizard I would ever meet, and the man who I could really only credit for getting me and James together, was gone. It hurt even more to know that he was no longer on earth, helping, guiding and caring for Harry like I knew he had been for 15 years.

We sat there in stunned silence as my tears overflowed. Finally, Sirius spoke in an oddly mature and aged voice, “Shall we go see him?”

We all nodded silently and we got up and headed for the door. That was when James seemed to notice my tears. “Hey,” he said softly, wiping away the tears from my cheeks gently, “you okay?”

I sniffed and nodded, “It’s just that,” I said hoarsely, “it’s hard to wrap my mind around the fact that possibly the greatest wizard in the world, is no longer on Earth, you know?” he sighed and nodded, putting his arm around my waist and pulling me closer as we walked. “Now he’s not around to take care of Harry and help him through whatever challenges he has ahead.” I continued, “He was the only man that Voldemort feared and now, with him up here, instead of down there, Voldemort has nothing to fear. He can just go around doing what ever he wants because no one can stop him because he fears no one and-and-” my voice was getting higher and more strained with agitation as I worried about everything.

“Sshhh” James whispered, putting a finger to my lips, knowing when I need to calm down. “It’s going to be fine. Harry is practically a man now anyway, I’m sure he can cope without some super old wanker hanging around. Oops, I mean wizard.” He smiled cheekily, and I laughed, marvelling at how quickly he could make me feel better. “Harry will be fine, I’m sure ol’ Dumbly has a plan for him anyway.”

I sighed and nodded, calmed down slightly. James smiled at me and then we went to catch up to Sirius and Nikki, who were now standing at the back of a fairly large crowd surrounding, what I’m assuming was Dumbledore. Eventually, I managed to see through a break in the people, a man standing in the middle of the crowd and at first I didn’t recognise him. He looked about 50 years younger, almost all of the lines on his face were gone. And instead of the long silver beard that I was used to, he had short auburn hair and a small, matching beard. The only things that made me realise it was actually Dumbledore were the half-moon spectacles perched on his no longer-crooked nose, and the bright blue eyes, which always had a familiar sparkle. Dumbledore was making his way slowly though all the people who had come to see him, asking them how they are going, and shaking their hands. It suddenly occurred to me that Dumbledore was such a well known and respected man, that practically everyone in the Wizarding World would want to come out and meet him, thank him and question him. This was going to take a while.

We stood there for what seemed like forever, waiting until most of the crowd had faded away. Sirius was starting to get impatient, tapping his foot against the ground in a fast beat. Eventually the crowd diminished enough for Dumbledore to catch a glimpse of me and James, though he still couldn’t see Sirius or Nikki. The moment he saw us, I noticed his face soften and the glimmer in his eyes faded slightly. As I looked into his eyes, I had the peculiar, yet not totally unfamiliar sensation that his eyes could somehow see right through me like and X-ray, reading my mind.

Then he stepped toward us, and reached out to take my hand. “Lily and James Potter.” He said sadly, “let me just say, that even though it has been such a long time, I was so, so sorry to hear about your deaths. It broke my heart when I heard the news. The wizarding world misses you. Harry especially.”

We both nodded, and I really appreciated that Dumbledore would say this to us, it meant a lot to me, and I know it did to James as well. “Thank you very much Professor.” James said, as if speaking my thoughts aloud.

Dumbledore chuckled, “None of this ‘professor’ stuff please, James. I have not been your teacher for over 20 years and I am not headmaster any more. Please call me Albus, or just Dumbledore is fine.”

We smiled at him. “Of course, Albus.” I said, and it felt very strange to be addressing him by his first name after all this time.

“Now, I have so much to tell you both. Harry has a very trying time ahead and I will fill you in on all the details. And Sirius!” he exclaimed as if suddenly remembering Sirius was up here. “Where is Sirius? I thought he would be with you.”

“I am!” Sirius yelled, finally emerging, “at your service, Dumbledore, sir!” he stood like a soldier and saluted.

Dumbledore laughed, “Sirius Black! Don’t you look well. A lot better then last time I saw you, I daresay. And you are with Miss Williamson! It’s good to see you again, my dear. I assume that you have both continued with your relationship as if it was not tragically interrupted? Harry misses his godfather terribly, you were a big part of his life.” He added quietly.

Sirius smiled slightly, “only for the two years I was in it. Before that I was the reason these two were dead to him.”

“I’ll bet Harry misses us more!” James said indignantly, “We are his parents! And we were a bigger part of his life then you were.”

“No you weren’t! You were only part of his life for one measly year, whereas I was in there for two. So technically, I had a bigger part.”

“Did not!”

“Did too!”

“Did not!”

“Did too! Harry knew his godfather better then he knew his parents.” Sirius smirked at us, “should count himself lucky. I am a lot more interesting then you two. Bunch of boring old sods. He got the good end of the stick, even if he doesn’t know it.”

Dumbledore laughed with Nikki, his blue eyes sparkling again. I just glared at Sirius. I knew he was joking and I was being a bit irrational, but I couldn’t help take offence. He just laughed at me, putting his arm around my shoulders, “I’m just kidding Lilyflower. Do you think I would waste my precious time hanging around with you both if really thought you were that boring?”

“Gee, that makes us feel so much better Pads,” James said.

“No problem mate.” Sirius answered with an impish smile, poking him in the ribs. “It’s what I’m here for.”

I rolled my eyes at them, and turned back to Dumbledore as James got out his wand and hung the unsuspecting Sirius upside down and Nikki roared with laughter. He turned to me, while still laughing slightly at my husband and his best friend. “Is it alright if I pay you a visit maybe tomorrow night? At about 6 o’clock? As I mentioned before, I have a lot to tell you all.”

“Yes of course, Dumbledore. That’s fine.” I said, “We look forward to your visit.”

He frowned slightly at that, is if my comment had offended him. “Not all I am going to tell you is good news, Lily,” he said solemnly, “you will not like some of it, because what Harry has to do now is very dangerous, but he has no choice in the matter.”

“What does he have to do?” I asked curiously.

“Now, now,” he said, smiling again, “that can wait until tomorrow night. I do have some good things to tell you too. I will see you then.” And before I could open my mouth to say goodbye, he had turned and swept back to continue greeting the rest of the crowd, if you could call it a crowd now. There were only a few stray people left, and one group of people huddled together in the back, tears pouring down their faces. There was a man with auburn hair like Dumbledore, a woman with her dark hair done up in a tight bun and a young girl with blonde hair, clutching onto what the older woman’s hand while tears poured down her cheeks.

As I watched, the girl ran to Dumbledore, hugging him tightly and I saw him murmuring to her, and even from where I was standing, I could see tears falling thick and fast down his cheeks. Maybe he was finally with his family.

I was smiling as I turned and headed back to James and Sirius, who were now just talking and joking around, Sirius standing upright on two feet. Not all I am going to tell you is good news. He has said, what Harry has to do now is very dangerous, but he has no choice. What could that possibly mean? Ugh, I always hated it when Dumbledore spoke in riddles.

I had reached the boys by now and after I had managed to get their attention by yelling in their ears, I told them what Dumbledore said and when he was coming over to tell us what he knew.

“Harry has no choice in what he has to do?” Sirius repeated in a confused voice, “Why in Merlin’s name would he have no choice?”

“I don’t know,” I sighed, “but I don’t want to think about it until tomorrow night. Let’s go home.” Harry has to do something incredibly dangerous, yet he has no say in the matter. After thinking about that, only one thought kept repeating itself in my head. And looking at James, Nikki and Sirius, I suddenly had a moment of rare insight, and I could see they were thinking exactly the same thing. Could it really be that bad?


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