One thing that Lily absolutely hated about Hogwarts was her damn uniform. In her letter this year, Professor Wolfe had even included a special note saying that she had to set a role model for the younger students, especially as Head Girl. The title still didn't set right with her, made her stomach turn and her head buzz with over analyzations. Why would she, out of all people, be chosen to be Head Girl? Her reaction was much the same as Scorpius and Albus' reaction. However, her boyfriend congrantualated her and kisse her on the temple. This was surface level, though, and only lasted in front of her parents. As soon as their attention was away he grabbed her hand and gave it a good squeeze with an empathetic look present in his eyes.
“I wish you lot would stop growing up, you make me fell ancient,” Ginny said, turning in her seat as Harry parked the car. “I wish you could say goodbye to your brothers.”
“I already said it to them at the family dinner, it was two nights ago.” Lily told herself it was enough. James was fine, off in some remote location at a Quidditch match. Al on the other hand... He was moving on into field training, which meant dispatching him out of the country. Visions pulled at her dreams and tugged at her mind when she was awake. It was hard to push them away and even harder to bring them into focus to see what they were actually about.
“Is Scorpius meeting us here?” Harry asked when they were climbing out of the car. He was already going to her trunk before she could answer.
“I think--” She was cut off when she felt two sets of arms wrap around her. “Stephen! Lucas!” she exclaimed. “What in Merlin's name are you two doing here? Score said that he was coming early to say goodbye to me.”
“We couldn't resist,” Stephen admitted.
“You look cute in that uniform and look at the badge.” Lucas smirked and went to pinch her cheek. Lily ducked away with a laugh and found herself in front of a much larger man. It was Vince.
“Hello, Lily,” he said, looking at her with only the barest trace of a smile tugging at his lips.
“He's doing fine,” Lily said reaching for his hand. It felt like a lie in her mouth, but she had no proof and she had no idea if the blurry visions even had to do with Al. In only a month, Albus and Vince had gotten close rather fast. The two of them got along well, despite what a challenge it was to balance their schedules.
“You don't even pay any mind to me, I should be offended.” Scorpius approached and braced himself for impact as Lily rushes in his direction to sweep him into a hug. “You look fetching all put together like this. Not that I don't enjoy you at any other time, in a more...chaotic looking manner with your haphazard attire.”
Lily grinned. “Pick me up at Christmas and I'll be dressed to the nines in 'haphazard attire'.”
“Those awful jeans and the paint splattered t-shirt?”
“With the flannel I stole from Teddy.”
“Salazar, no.” He kissed her. “I'll miss you,” he whispered. His hand was cool as it settled into the warm spot where her neck met her shoulders, a thumb lightly resting against her collarbone. “I may be busy and miles from you, but I'm still just a letter away.”
Lily curled against his body, burrying her head into his chest as her arms pulled him tighter. She wanted to anchor herself to this moment, memorize the feel of him in her arms. “You better go.” She pulled away from him. “And I need to get on a train, apparently I'm supposed to lead the meeting.”
“Who's Head Boy this year?”
“A Ravenclaw, he's quite nice.” She smiled at him. “Nothing like you, though. His name is William and he thinks that Divinition is useless.” She took a deep breath. “Perfect person to partner me with, right?”
Scorpius shook his head and gave her one more hug. Lily then went through a series of goodbyes before she crossed the barrier with her parents, made promises to them to write and gave each a hug with a kiss on the cheek before racing to board the train. Naturally, she was five minutes late and she felt that the look on William's face would set a precedent for the rest of the year.
Lily was tired and she hated to admit, lonely. One of the supposed perks of being a head girl was a private room, situated next to the head boy and connected via a sitting room that prefects used for meetings. She though liked being in girls' dorm, annoyed by Simone and Daphne, but secretly enjoying the gossip they passed around. She missed Esther's eye rolls and snide comments...Her thoughts were cut short by a knock on the door. William, most likely, as it was coming from door the sitting room, the one that was charmed with a locking spell only she could open.
“I'm trying to study,” she replied swinging the door open to reveal William holding out a thick planner, which she knew held the schedule for prefect shifts. “Come in, I need to clean up before bed anyway.”
William entered slowly, still not used to the fact he was allowed into a girl's room at Hogwarts. He did, though, take care to leave it wide open to the sitting room as he stood in the middle of the floor awkwardly looking at her. He hadn't had many classes with her, but he had heard stories and most of them seemed to have come true. She was a walking a disaster, he could count on one hand the times he had saw her in full uniform and as soon as she got back from classes she put on something else. Heck, she even ran patrols in her pyjamas with her cloak covering them.
“What did you want to talk about? I already sent you the preliminary schedule.”
“There was problems with it.”
Lily sighed as she piled her textbooks and waved her wand to roll up her parchment and clean up a pile of spilled ink. “Sorry about that, I thought I had all the kinks worked out.”
“Jason has astronomy and you scheduled him for the late shift, it runs into his class,” he explained, talking about a fourth year Gryffindor.
“Replace him with Megan, she's only taking the least amount of classes and volunteered for extra shifts.”
“She got put on suspension. Professor Wolfe found her at the Quidditch pitch with another a sixth year past curfew.”
“Why don't you just do it?” Lily snapped. “You're better at this than I am.”
“Would you cut it out?” he asked. “We're supposed to do this together, that's why I'm asking you. It's a privilege to be a Head Girl and you're just throwing it away.”
“You think I wanted this position?”
“No, but I think the Professors wanted you to have it.”
Lily bit back a comment. Every year it seemed that the heads were made up of two types of people: one who was incredibly dedicated to their studies and responsible that was paired with someone who was capable of great things...but didn't exactly act on their better characteristic. “We're getting nowhere fighting. Let's go in the sitting room and take a look at it, alright?”
“Yes. We better take a look at your schedule as well with the Quidditch season coming up. I imagine you'll be playing again.”
“Probably.” Lily would look at the prospective Chasers. There were quite a few players that were good flyers, they could be great with enough practice. It was her hope to convince Jordi for her not to actually play on the team, but more of an advisory role like Regina did. “Oh, do you have plans on the 27th?” she asked looking at the calander. They only planned out a week ahead of time, but made rough schedules for the following two weeks.
“I know I volunteered for that time slot, but we're going to have visitors that I want to help receive.”
“The Thestrals.” Lily's heart beat a little faster in excitement as she thought about it. She had wrote Scorpius and added some offhanded comments for Lucas and Stephen. They took those comments seriously and so did the coach. Apparently coming to Hogwarts and working with the house teams for the day would be great publicity and good practice while they had a lull in their schedule.
“Is that your brothers team?”
“No,” she replied. “Scorpius' team.”
“Oh,” William's voice seemed odd as he said that. “You're still dating him?”
“Yeah, what about it?” Lily settled down on the couch and he did to, laying the planner open on the table in front of them.
“Nothing, it's just, you're here and he's not.”
“We make it work.” She summoned a pencil and began to make changes. They talked in hushed tones until all the problems were resolved.
“Lily, are you still mad over what I said about Divinitions?”
“It's hard work, different than a normal class. I put a lot of hours into it.”
“The first distinct memory I have of you, is from the library. You were pouring over some obscure Divinations textbook and Scorpius was trying to get you to work on Potions,” he told her. “I still think the class is a waste of time unless you have some...affinity for it.”
“Conversation over. Goodnight.” She walked out of the room and locked her door before kicking off her shoes and collapsing on the bed.
Friday night at dinner Lily took her seat next to Jordi, Nott sitting across from them with Daphne. She missed a lot not being in the dorms, but apparently the two had started dating. She picked at her food as she listened to the conversation filter around her.
“So Malfoy's coming in two weeks?” Jordi asked as he shoveled food into his mouth.
“Yep. He's going to be here all day, Slytherin's turn with the team should be in the middle of the day, right before lunch.”
“Quidditch tryouts are tomorrow afternoon and I have yet to see you name on the sign up sheet.” Jordi waved his fork in the air. “I know your busy, but come on, Lil--”
As if on cue, a first year came behind Lily and tapped her on the shoulder. “Sorry, to bother you--”
“I don't need apologies, what's happening?”
The girl pointed a shaky finger in the direction of what is clearly a prank. There's furniture floating in the air and across the way she can see two Gryffindor boys laughing. She whipped out her wand and caught William's attention by levitating his plate. When he saw her, she set it down and pointed to the boys.
By the time the issue was resolved, half of the people have trickled out of the room and the other half are still talking. Her food was cold and Jordi was still at the table, fielding questions from a second year. “Are you seriously thinking about quitting on me, I need you Lily.”
“I'll still help off the pitch, like Regina did. I just... It's not something I want to do anymore.” She thought about all the time she's spent on the pitch, all the time she's spent with the team at dinners or events or games or practices... “Besides, I have a study group to lead tomorrow. Professor Wolfe says it's important not only for me to know how to do the complex problems, but be comfortable with the simple ones as well.”
“Lily, are you turning responsible? First, Malfoy corrupted you and now him.” He looks over to the Ravenclaw table.
“Funny, very funny,” she responded and began to finish off her dinner. “But seriously, you know that Corner girl is a fantastic flyer, I'll work with the Chasers if you need, but--”
“It's fine, just...It feels like next years starting already. I got used to having you around.”
“Don't be dramatic, I'm right here, just in a different capacity.”
Jordi rolls his eyes. “I'll see you around. Stop by the pitch tomorrow when you're done with the tutoring.”
Lily heard rapid knocks on her door and sighed. In front of her sat the application for early admissions into St. Mungo's Healer Academy. They weren't due until the end of November, but she had wanted to send them in as soon as possible. “Coming,” she shouted and used her wand to swing the door open. She'd discovered long ago that there was no limits to who could come into a head of house's room, although professors would prefer the sitting room to be used for that purpose. But as long as the privilege wasn't abused, it wouldn't be revoked.
“Lily, Malfoy is going to be here soon. Wolfe is ranting and raving already and William is wondering where in Merlin's name you went.”
“You were the only one with enough common sense to check my room?”
“Yup. Come on, I think the players are in an empty classroom planning for the day.” Jordi gestured and Lily pushed aside the application, grabbing a jumper from the pile at the foot of her bed. She followed him through the corridors and before long she heard the familiar din of voices. “Lily--”
She ignored him and stopped running just as she reached the door and took a deep breath. When she entered the room she saw the all of the players present in Thestral's colors with the coach and manager at the front of the room. “How nice to see you Miss Potter,” the coach said with a teasing tone to his voice. “When are we supposed to be out?”
“About fifteen minutes, you'll meet with Ravenclaw first.”
“Are you here in official capacity as Head Girl?” Lucas questioned. “I thought they dressed a little different, Malfoy--”
“Shut up, McLaggan,” Lily snapped, but then immediately regretted it as she heard footsteps behind her and saw her Head of House walk in. “Good morning, sir.”
“That's not how we talk to our guests, Miss Potter.”
“She was kidding, I know she was, I was giving her a bad time,” Lucas said stepping forward. “Lucas McLaggan, I went to Hogwarts, but you started teaching after I left.” He held out a hand and gave him his best smile.
Professor Wolfe took it tentatively and motioned to the coach and manager. “I will take you to meet the other Heads of Houses. Against my better judgment I will leave Miss Potter with the team, but I am thinking of sending Mr. Gregor down here.”
“Leave William alone, I can handle everything.”
“That...” He looked around the room, his eyes rested on Scorpius. “Is exactly what I'm afraid of. Besides it's already too late. He will come by when it is time for them to go to the pitch.”
“Can we just leave now? We don't need such a fuss and all of us attended Hogwarts anyway.” It's Vince who has stepped forward from behind the group. Professor Wolfe seemed to shrink slightly in his presence.
“There is a schedule and I would like you to respect it,” he snapped before turning around and walking out of the room. Once the door was tightly shut and they heard the footsteps soften, most of the team let out a laugh.
“Has he gotten worse?” Scorpius asked as he crossed the room to properly greet her. It earned a bit of teasing from Stephen, but it was nothing worse than they were used to.
“More uptight, but I think I notice it more since I'm Head Girl and can't ignore what he says.” She gave Scorpius a quick peck on the lips, it hadn't been that long since she'd seen him, but it had been long enough. Still, she managed to pull away and looked around until she spotted Vince. “Come here,” she said and pulled him into a side hug. “How's my brother doing?”
“Fine, the Ministry is working him harder than Coach does to us towards the end of the season, but what can you do?” He shrugged. “I wish him luck with his new assignment, though.”
“What new assignment?”
“He's on a task force.”
“I heard about that, but he's in London...”
“No, Lily he's abroad.” Vince gave her his kind smile of his. They had pulled away, but a hand found it's way to her elbow. “I don't know exactly, it's a need to know basis, your dad knows.” He managed a laugh at that.
“Perfectly alright,” Lily said before Scorpius could even finish. William found her like that, in between Vince and Scorpius, the rest of the team draped across chairs or desks. Lucas was leaning against the wall, watching the exchange waiting to jump in and lighten the moment, while Stephen sat just behind them pretending to be reading a magazine.
“Lily?” The boy asked as he walked in, but was taken aback by everyone in here.
“Hello, the name's Lucas McLaggan, what's yours?” The older man gave him a lazy smirk and stuck out a hand.
“William...” He shook it and looked over to Lily.
“Vince and Malfoy are distracting your Head Girl. I haven't even gotten my chance.”
“You know Lily?” He raised his eyebrows at that. She had talked quite a bit about Scorpius, mentioned that he was her connection to the team, but he saw her in the middle of them looking in her element.
“Of course. She practically lived at the pitch this summer with us and the media eats her up. Keeps the focus off of everyone else's personal lives, which personally I like.”
“Maybe if you'd stay with someone longer than one night. I'm Steven, Chaser. I'm guessing your Head Boy, do you play?”
“No, I was sent here to--”
“Keep an eye on Lily,” Steven finished. “With Scorpius around nothing is going to happen, I promise. We're always wondering how the choir boy of the team ended up with her.” He shook his head. “Do you need us for something?”
“You should probably head out to the pitch. All of the equipment is out there and the Ravenclaw team should arrive in a little less than 10 minutes, alright?”
As if on cue, Lily walked over with her arm casually curled around Scorpius with Vince following them. “William, I see you met Steven and Lucas. Steven is a Chaser, Lucas is the Seeker. Vince is a Beater, Scorpius is a Keeper...” She grinned at him, which earned a groan from Lucas and pleased looking smile from her boyfriend. “Oh, the other Beater is Leo, he's Score's flatmate, you should talk with him. He'd be right up your alley--” Before she could finish her statement, Scorpius hand went to the one that was resting on his side and he clutched it tightly. “You should probably take them to the pitch. Wolfe looked he was going to have a heart attack seeing Score and I together again.” She smiled at him. “Unlike these guys I have studying to do and schools to apply for.”
“I thought that you wanted to be the one to...”
“You're more than capable William, have fun.” The last part was not directed at him, but rather at Lucas. “I'll be at the Gryffindor practice, so I'll see you in a bit.”
Scorpius looked at his girlfriend, raising his eyebrows. He had hoped that she would stay, usually he couldn't keep her away from practice if she didn't have anything that was supposed to do. He may have been here to work with Quidditch players, but he had hoped to see her for some time.
Lily hid in her room, charming an hourglass to alert her with a small sound when it was time to go down to the pitch. She looked at her mounds of NEWT level work, review sheets, and then at the application for St. Mungo's. They didn't need much for it. She had to record her classes, test scores, extra curricular activities, and then answer a few short essay questions. Even though she knew she should tackle Potions and Transfigurations first, since the class was on Monday, she couldn't bring herself to do it. She felt a pull towards her Divination book. It was new, recommended to her by Professor Patil and fairly new. It talked of techniques that all seers had trouble developing and tactics to help. She found the concept of an anchor interesting, something to pull you out of visions, but the book warned against them. It said that repressing visions only made them come back if the were important, prophetic. Additionally, the anchor should be strong. A person was dangerous because feelings can change, as can relationships. Oftentimes, young seers and seers that aren't very strong only have visions to people or places that they are closely tied to. If you try to anchor yourself to them it can be dangerous as instead of helping you stay firmly planted in reality, or catching you as you fall forward, it can send you even deeper into a vision.
The hourglass' alarm went off and she sighed, grabbing a scarf to twine around her neck before she made her way down to the pitch. She stood on the sideline's as Jordi talked with the player's about the strategies. Vince, though at first glace looked the most intimidating, ended up being the best with the students. He sent them on a loop and Lily looked them over. They had had tryouts and there were several younger students that seemed to have the skills, she didn't know if they had the dedication to improvement.
“Oy, Potter, do you want to help?” Jordi asked, waving at her wildly.
She rolled her eyes as she got out of the stands and walked over. Stephen jogged forward and wrapped and arm around her shoulder. “We got this, Zabini, don't worry.” He passed him a smirk. “Where is your broom, Lils?”
“She's decided against being on the team this year,” Jordi said softly. “We have a fourth year, third year, and a second year.”
“Lil, I thought Score said you loved Quidditch,” Steven said. “You spend enough time at the pitch with us.”
Lily's smile felt tight on her face. How could she tell him that she didn't want to play, because she wanted to hold onto that good feeling from last year. “I just...it didn't feel right and I thought the team would benefit in the long run training younger players now.”
“Sure...” Steven gave her a crooked smile. “You can talk me through some of your plays while we run them through drills. Coach started us on some new ones that I think would be good for players at this level.”
Lily just nodded and explained things to him while players took to the air. Somehow, it felt more natural on the ground than on the broom.
Dinner that night was more exciting than normal. The entire hall was buzzing with news of the visitors that were seated at the table with the professors. Jordi hadn't shut up for a good twenty minutes and Lily just sat next to him, nodding along. It was easier when he got this keyed up. Of course, she jumped in whenever she had the opportunity.
“Did you get him alone?” Simone questioned as she leaned across the table. She'd taken to talking more with Lily, Esther, and Jordi since Nott and Daphne started dating. “Shame your boyfriend comes and you don't even get to be alone with him.”
“He's not here for me,” Lily replied with a shrug as she finished off her plate of food. After asking for the water pitcher, she stood as the younger student she called out for was not quite the best with levitating, she felt the room shift...Or at least she thought it did, but everyone stayed seated...there was no panic. She quickly refilled the glass and gulped it down before taking a deep breath. Without trying to catch notice, she gripped the side of the table in hopes it would help ground her as she did the techniques from the book...She had been able to stave off visions in public this year. Last year she had one during a class, but it was easy enough to cover as they were doing independent study.
“Lily...” She didn't know how many times Jordi had said her name. She felt his hand on her shoulder and that was...It was nice, like when Scorpius reached for her in the library or held her at his house.
“I'm fine.” The vision was still on the edge of her mind and she couldn't think of anything to do to get it away. Scorpius was across the room from her, attention caught by someone else. She didn't need him, she could be her own anchor... “I just remembered that I have things to prepare for a tutoring session tomorrow and I have to take the second half of a shift. Jason was supposed to do it, but Astronomy has an extra credit assignment tonight that he needs to do.”
“Oh, well good night,” Jordi said. He doesn't believe her words, Lily can see it in his eyes. She's just glad that she doesn't have to lie to Simone too, someone else is distracting her. A sixth year boy that she can't quite place, but she knows she seen him at a Malfoy function before.
Once in the corridor, she only makes it part of the way to her room before she pauses... The room around her seems off kilter, the colors blurring together... In her ears, she hears the din of voices... They aren't quite familiar and as much as she doesn't want to have this right now, she feels herself being drawn towards them... The first picture that comes into sight is a witch... The robes she wears are one's she seen before, Auror robes. Her face is blurred, but her skin is fairly dark and hair curly... Her hands are in the air... “Please,” she says... “I don't understand... please...”
“Lily...” She hears the voice, it's stronger than the one in her mind and she feels the hand on her shoulder. She whipped her body around and saw Scorpius. It's too good to be true. She wrapped her arms and around him and buried her head in her chest, trying to overwhelm her senses with him...
“I didn't want to bother you, I thought...”
He just nodded and touched her face, but when she looks into his eyes, she feels as if she's being torn away from...The world gets darker and instead of feeling grounded, it's as if the floor has fallen out from underneath her...”It wasn't your fault....” A man with dark hair stands in front of another.
“You're lying! I was right there he should have hexed me!” The faces are blurry again, but this Auror is thin and pale.
“It was a muggle...They didn't hex her...”
Lily feels the shock, but it's not from her... or at least not present her...It's as if she's looking through the eyes of future her... Is that Scorpius so upset? The man's face is crumpled...there are tears...She should help him, but her feet feel frozen as the man folds him into his arms... Betrays and anger wash over her...
“No...get away...” She thrashed in his arms. “I'm sorry, so sorry...”
“Lily.” It's not Scorpius' voice and she doesn't know if it's a vision or reality.
“Get out of here,” Scorpius ordered. Lily has managed to free herself from his arms and saw William standing in front of her. “We have this under control.”
“Why was she shouting?” he questioned, raising an eyebrow.
“I can't... please, just leave,” Lily told him. Her hands went to her her head, her face contorted in distress.
“What the hell was that?” Wiliam looks furious. “I don't know what the two of you are doing out here, but it's hardly appropriate--”
“You have no idea what is going on,” Scorpius snaps. “If a Professor saw this they wouldn't have said two words until they knew she was fine.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Please, just...” She wanted to tell Scorpius, but she can't find the words and can't push away the thought of him being so hurt with her watching and not being the one to step in. “You shouldn't worry about me. I can handle this myself. I promise.”
Confusion crossed his face, but he just nodded. “Can I...” He held a hand out and she stepped forward to place a chaste kiss on his lips, not knowing if allowing her self to be wrapped in his embrace could trigger something else. “I came to say goodbye originally, I have to go.”
“I know.” She reached for his hand, and gave it a good squeeze. “Really, worrying is my thing, I can take care of myself.”
He nodded and looked like he's about to say something else, but realizes that William hasn't left. “I'll write you.”
“Please do.” She watched until he left and once he's gone, she slumped and wrapped her arms around herself. “We're not talking about this. Not now, not ever. If a time comes when you need to know because influences my duties has Head Girl, you will,” she coolly informed him. “Now, I am going off to bed. If I am needed, knock on my door.” She turned on her heel and walks as fast as possible back to her room. Once there she kicked off her shoes and settled down on top of the cover, waiting for sleep and hopefully a dream.
After the Thestral's visited, she managed to busy herself with other activities. Throwing herself into school and various other activities kept her away from William and kept her mind occupied. Scorpius wrote her. He wrote her frequently and though the letters where short it was clear he was worried about her. She hadn't had an episode that bad since her third year, since the dreams that were more like nightmares.
Winter came quickly that year and for once she wasn't exactly looking forward to going home. Because of how the Holiday fell they got a few more days of Winter Holiday this year in exchange for staying a few days longer at the end of the year. That meant she wouldn't only be home for the Malfoy Christmas Ball, but also some fundraiser held by the Quidditch teams of England. Even if she didn't go with Scorpius, or had to go to support James, her mother would have made her go. Now that all the Potter children were of age, there was nothing keeping the press away. And with how open Lily had been in the past year, this sort of thing was going to be inevitable. In fact, she'd probably get more press not going to the function.
These were the thoughts that Lily had as she walked through the castle she'd live in two days times. Her feet clicked against the tile and she pulled her robe tighter. She was actually in uniform today and hated the blasted plaid skirt that was too thin for Winter, no matter how thick of tights she put on.
“Miss Potter.” It was her Uncle Neville, a grin spread across his face. “Gracie was supposed to meet me for tea, but she can't make it. Would you like to?”
“Of course, Professor,” she responded. She was on her way to lunch, but unlike dinner or breakfast her presence wasn't exactly mandatory in her capacity as Head Girl. So she followed him down the hallway to where his indoor office was. He didn't have much use for it as he spent much of his time outside, but here he kept all of the files and paperwork along with some of the more delicate plants. It was warm and she liked that. “Was there a real reason that you wanted to have tea with me?” She sat down in one of his plush armchairs as he waved his wand around, rearranging furniture and producing a tray of food and tea. Without asking, he prepared her a cup. She didn't know what type of tea it was, but watched as he added a liberal dose of cream and a spoonful of honey.
“I'm not upset,” she said as he levitated the cup towards her. This was how her mother made her tea whenever she was sad or overly worried. It usually happened when her father was on a mission. Neville had been there quite a bit, him and Hannah along with the girls. There presence along with Hermione and her kids was constant when Harry and Ron were aurors going out on missions.
“You could have fooled me. I haven't seen the Lily I know in quite some time.”
“I'm still here,” she said. “Just a different version. More responsible, someone that makes Professor Wolfe very happy.”
“Cheeky,” Neville replied as he shook his head. “You know I kept silent when they talked about you for Head Girl. I knew if I opened my mouth I'd have too much influence over the other Professor's. I've been deemed the only one that can keep the Potter/Weasley brood under control.”
“I always thought that Score and Al's reaction to becoming Prefects was silly, but it makes sense.”
“Do you want to know why they wanted you? The truth?” Neville asked, barely waiting for a nod. “They talked of your cousins and Jordi, but they wanted someone smart and responsible. William's never had a detention and he's always the first to volunteer, he just lacks...” He waved his hand in the air. “Charisma.”
“Because I'm so good with people.” Lily rolled her eyes.
“You are, though you're a little rough around the edges, I do admit...” Neville laughed. “They thought that the two of you would even each other out. Professor Wolfe even agreed he said it worked before--”
“With Scorpius,” she interrupted and set down her tea. The sweet taste didn't set right on her tongue anymore as much as she wanted to drink it. It was one of Neville's own blends, when she was younger it reminded her off autumn sunshine because it was rich and warm and comforting with just a hint of tartness to it.
“Yes, the two of you...are you...”
“We're doing fine,” Lily said with a sigh as she reached for a biscuit that sat on the tray. She studied it and nibbled at the edge. “I've been wanting to...I usually ask dad about these sorts of things, mainly because mum is hopeless, at least with giving me advice about it. How do...It just feels like everything is supposed to be right with Score. I mean he's been my best friend for ages and it seemed natural to have more...” She looked up at her uncle, her eyes darting around the room and then back down. “I just don't know anymore. He used to make me feel safe, like if I was with him nothing bad could happen. He's always so calm and knows how to make me feel better without saying a single word...” I just can't do that for him, she finished in her mind.
Neville took in the girl across from him. She called him uncle since she first learned how to speak and seeing her like this scared him because it reminded him so much of his daughters that were growing up. He pretended not to notice Gracie and Lysander, but it was hard. “Lily, your 18 and you don't have to find forever right now. You know that right?”
She looked up at him, her brown eyes widening. “But...” Thoughts flew around her head and she wondered how on earth would she find someone like Scorpius. Someone that she loved as much as they loved her.
“It may sound peculiar to hear that from me and it's natural that you think that you want to find someone now, but you have your entire life in front of you. Maybe, you need to figure out more about yourself first.”
When she didn't respond, just set the biscuit she was holding down, he sighed.
“Growing up, you saw relationships that grew from friendships and started off young. Merlin knows that Ginny had a crush on your father since she was 10 years old. Ron and Hermione have been friends since they met on the train first year. George and Angelina met playing Quidditch when they were 12...Godric, you were even named after a woman who got married when 17 to man that had a crush on her since she was 11.” He shook his head. “It was a different time, bloody hell, it was a different world. “
“Mum said the same to me about a year ago.”
“She's clever woman,” he said. “Let's change the subject to a bit of good news I received. It seemed one of Hogwart's students was daring enough to apply to early admissions to St. Mungo's Healer Academy and managed to get an interview.”
“Where did you hear that?”
“I have connections at the Academy, I received some of my training there, you know that,” he said.
Lily swallowed. “I really got an interview?” Her face slowly spread into a smile.
“You should get the letter tomorrow. It'll be after Winter Break in January. You'll have to arrange the appointment with the Headmaster, but he'll happy to let you use the floo for that.” Before he finished Lily had practically jumped out of the chair and wrapped her arms around him. “You don't need to thank me, I had no hand in it.”
“I know, I'm just...Excited, you know?” Lily was beaming at the news, a look he hadn't seen in ages, not since he caught sight of her on the Quidditch pitch with the Thestrals. Although, it was hard not smile around Lucas McLaggan, Neville had taught him, he should know.
“Whatever you set your mind to, you'll be great at,” Neville told her.
Lily smile seemed to get even wider as she nodded. It was then she looked down at her wrist. “I have Divinitions, I have to go, but thank you...For everything, really.” After those words were said, he watched as she left the room, looking just a fraction happier and that was enough to steel him for his troublesome second year class of Ravenclaws and Gryffindors.
Three days later Lily was stepping off the train in Kings Cross. She expected to see her dad or mum standing there, but she didn't spot them. Instead, she saw Scorpius standing there. He joked about picking her up in September, but he said that there was some sort of practice or meeting... “Score, what are you doing here?” She looked puzzled, if her parents were busy then usually she just went home with Aunt Hermione or Uncle Bill.
“Things just fell into place, come on, I'll grab your stuff.”
She hugged him and gave him a kiss on his cheek. “I have it.”
“Lily, do we have to start this?” he questioned, hand held out for her bag.
“Fine,” she muttered and slipped her satchel off the shoulder. Clearly he wasn't expecting it to be that heavy and nearly dropped it. “Aunt 'Mione's famous expansion charm, she hasn't quite worked out the kink's to counteract the weight.”
“I'm glad you're here.” He slipped an arm around her shoulder. It was warm and brought her even closer. The proximity used to make her feel safe and now it was like playing with fire. A pit in her stomach grew and her body remembered the feeling of falling... “What's wrong?”
“Nothing, just...tired, I had patrol last night.”
“I hated late night patrol,” he said. “Listen, I know you were expecting to go straight home, but Al is having Vince meet some of your cousin's today at a pizza parlor, do you want to go?”
“You planned lunch with my family?” Her head is whirling as she looks him over. Where is her Scorpius? The one that shied away from overt displays of affection and disliked large groups of people despite being able to work a crowd beautifully?
“Al did, he invited me to come, he thought it would make Vince more comfortable. Quite frankly, your family is intimidating. Less critical than mine, but no less chaotic.” The smile he offered up is one of his real one's but there is a bit of worry behind it. “You can go home if you want, I can go with you too, or we can just go someplace different...Al and I should have thought you would have wanted some warning.”
“It's fine, we can go.” The words are strained, but she forced a look on her face. Scorpius can read right through it, she knew that much. He can hold entire conversations with carefully arranged facial expressions.
Truth be told, once they arrived at the restaurant she is glad that she came. It's good to see her family. Vince pulls her in a hug that's different than Al or James or Teddy, he's solidly built, but inexplicably gentle. Fred is there as well and greets her warmly. Roxie and Dom come in just after them. Dom speaks with Scorpius, using a light, playful tone as Roxie wraps her cousin in her arms. Every bit of her looks the same, something that comforts Lily as she went through auror training like Albus. Roxie's curls billow around her shoulder, unrestrained...
“Since your home I want to spend time with you. I've spent far too long cooped up in the Ministry offices.”
“I thought they sent you out in the field?” Lily asked.
“I'm a different division than Al,” she explained. “We got the same basic training, but after that...” She shrugged, and looked around, making clear she wanted to change the subject. “You, me, Dom, and Vickie tomorrow, alright?”
she replied. “Let's eat, before James and Fred get half the pizza.”
The next day, Lily agreed to meet her cousins in Diagon Ally. Vicky is easy to spot, with her white blonde hair. She doesn't have Stella with her, Grandma Weasley or another relative must be watching her as Teddy had to work today. “So what's on the agenda?” Lily asked when she caught up with them.
“Good to see you to,” Vicky replied giving her a quick hug. “Dom and Roxie went inside the shop already.” She gestured to the shop behind them with dress robes on display. “A little birdy told me that you're going with Scorpius and your parents to the Quidditch fundraiser. That will require some nice looking robes.”
“Vic, all I wanted to do was meet up with you guys, get lunch, and...”
“It's an excuse for Roxie to do something with us, she's worse than I am,” Vickie admits. “Dom hardly ever sees her and they live together.” She rolled her eyes, but they softened. “Teddy went through the same thing, I'm surprised Al hasn't.”
“Come on, you can help me pick something out. The press thinks I've gotten settled down and I want to prove them wrong.”
Victoire rolled her eyes and grabbed her wrist. “Fine, but it's going to be scandalous by Delacour standards.”
Lily snorted at that thinking of her Aunt Fleur and sister Gabrielle. Nonetheless, though, she let herself be dragged into the dress shop. Roxie was already in a fitting room as Dom wrinkled her nose at wracks of dresses, occasionally she held one up to compare to Lily, then tucked it away. Lily spends most of the time with Victoire who isn't looking at gowns, but at the small section of more casual clothing, trying to find something that looks presentable under a lab coat.
“You seem less excited than usual about this,” Vicky told her when she has picked out a few things for herself and has moved on to the evening gowns. “Is everything alright?”
“Yeah,” she answers softly. She looks where her cousin's hand lingers on a dress of silky material that catches the light. Silver, but one with warmer undertones than normal. “Can we not talk about? Please? Just hand me that, I like the fabric.” In a few seconds it's pulled out and Lily can tell it's not fussy. No, it's plain with no adornments. The dress isn't designed for winter weather, but she won't be outside for long. Once in the dress she regrets it immediately, her cousins though smile widely at her and proclaim that it has to be bought. There is a slit on one side that goes up dangerously high, the sweetheart neckline shows off a slight swell of her chest, and the fabric clings to her in a way that has to be magic.
This is something that she'd never wear, but she imagines Scorpius' face when he sees her in it. He can't complain because it isn't a stolen flannel shirts and ratty jeans, but it's hardly a demure gown that his mum would approve of. But she doesn't care. Instead she looks in the mirror and looks at who's there. She is different, and Lily thinks it's funny how a person never notices it much when it's their own body that changes. You never notice when you're the one that changes.
Ginny was better than expected at helping Lily get ready for the fundraiser. She smiled at her daughter when she finished the loose braid and began curling tendrils with a wand. “I can't say anybody will pay attention to your face in that dress of yours.”
“I wanted something different, I'm always borrowing dresses and the last gown I wore Astoria Malfoy helped pick out.” She rolled her eyes as she reached for a tube of lipstick. “Do you think Dad is going to try to scare Vince?” Al and his boyfriend were due to come anytime, as the family was going over together.
“He's already done that, gave a great impression of Mad Eye.” Ginny grinned and then laughed. “That kid is bigger than Teddy and frightened by his own shadow, I don't know how he's a Beater.”
“Score says he's pretty good and I've seen him, it's just different on the pitch.”
“Yeah...” Ginny looked at her daughter. “I'd offer to let you borrow jewelry, but it looks like your set.”
Lily's hand goes to the moon necklace, her watch is still on her wrist. She hardly ever takes them off, but lately it's become more of a habit than anything else. They stay on because she feels like if she takes them, she'll forget to put them back on.
They don't say anything more, because Harry wanders in, looking a bit lost with his bow tie. Lily knew it has to be a ploy, he'd tied them countless of times and knows several spells. Soon enough Scorpius appeared in her doorway with a smile. “You look...” He gazed at her for a bit, then met her eyes. “Wow.”
“Cheeky as always. Where did you get that dress? I can't imagine--”
“I bought it, there are shops for that.”
Scorpius shook his head and she steps forward give him a hug. He kisses her cheek. “I was hoping we could talk before we went to the fundraiser.”
“It's fine,” Lily said a little too quickly.
“You keep on saying that, but something has been up since I picked you up at Kings Cross.”
“Let's just enjoy tonight and we can do this later.” To illustrate her point that any discussion can wait, Lily rested one hand on his chest and kisses him on the mouth. Soft at first, but then she put something more behind it. He pushed away before she can finish.
“Lily...” He complained. “I get it.” Scorpius laughed at that and reached for her hand. “Let's go downstairs before your father sends James up here.”
Lily let out a laugh before the pair went downstairs. They apparated off in pairs to where it was hosted. It was at an estate, some pure blood's mansion that hadn't been lived in since the First Wizarding War. It was maintained by the Ministry to be rented out for various functions. The decorated it in the theme of a Winter Wonderland. The ceiling transfigured to look like a clear night sky, white walls with glittering lights...
“You match perfectly,” Scorpius whispered in his ear. “I need to go find Coach, you can come with me if you want.”
“No, I'm going to go catch up with James.” She gestured to where her brother stood, already talking to a girl she hadn't ever seen before. “Don't be too long.” She kissed him on the mouth, a long kiss, but one that was gentle.
“Watch it, there's press everywhere.”
“Might as well give them something real to talk about,” she muttered. Scorpius fixed her with one of his looks before walking away. Lily went to where the bar was. It was legal for her to drink, but she had a feeling that she needed to have a clear head to get through tonight. “Club soda,” she told the bartender with a sigh. He popped a lemon in it and handed it over.
“Aren't I lucky?” She heard a soprano voice coo. Lily looked over the rim of her glass to see a woman in a pale blue dress with a skirt of tulle and an intricate hairstyle. “Can I have a glass of water? I'm on duty.” She flashed Lily her press pass, as if she hadn't noticed it hanging around her neck. “Paisley Wells, reporter for Lumos Magazine.”
“I'd introduce myself, but I have a feeling that's why you're talking to me.”
“Thank you,” she said after the bartender handed her glass of ice water. “Let's talk.” She gestured to one of the tall tables in the corner and they stood around it, Lily eying the room. Scorpius looked deep in conversation and most of her family was occupied. “I think most of the media was too quick to write you off as Potter's little princess,” she said. “Especially after that display with Malfoy and that dress.”
“Like it?” Lily challenged raising an eyebrow. “Thought I better give the press something to talk about, because obviously the clothing I wear tells you exactly who I am.”
“I don't like to pay attention to rumors...” She ignored the previous statement and traced a finger around the rim of the glass. “There are two very popular ones floating around...The first...” She held up a finger. “Is that you and Malfoy are secretly engaged...Each reporter has their different reasons, I know what my theory is, given that you're drinking club soda...”
Lily narrowed her eyes at the reporter and moved to walk away. “Yes, because it makes sense in this dress...” The material didn't hide anything, it clung closely to her body.
“The second,” she said taking a drink of water, “is that not everything is all perfect like we're supposed to believe. Multiple theories about why, one being the love triangle between you, Malfoy, and McLaggan.”
“That doesn't even dignify an answer.”
“Given that display of affection I witnessed, it seems like it would be that everything is good...It makes me wonder if it's an act or if you've even heard the news.”
“Oh, the contract issue with the Thestrals. Management has done an impeccable job keeping it out of the newspaper, amazing with the recruiting their doing...” Her lips curved upward into a sinister grin. “Amazing new Keeper they've recruited, straight from Durmstrang...Well, not straight from, he's been living in England for about six months with his fiance's family.”
“It's all rumors.”
“Is it? The contracts expire the first of the year and the players have no legal obligation to stay with the team. A flaw on the part of the lawyers who drafted it. Sadly, it gives some good players an out...Some who aren't as happy as they let on.” Paisley's eyes drifted to where Scorpius was talking with his coach and a man she had never seen before. “You haven't heard? The rumor mill is saying that Malfoy wants out, tired of being in the public eye and wants to settle into a solid career. Any comment Miss Potter?”
“If your fishing from information, you aren't going to get it from me. It's Scorpius' life, and his decision.”
“Is someone a little hurt they weren't privy to the information? Not that it's a secret, but many know how wary you are of your father's career choice. It must be hard, growing up with the famous Harry Potter as a father, especially when he could never stay out of trouble. Then your god brother followed the same path, then your brother...” She sighed. “Now your boyfriend.”
“Leave. Us. Alone.”
“You make it hard, everyone wants to know about Lily Potter.” She grinned and then waved her wand and started reciting: “Ever since she started dating Scorpius Malfoy, the youngest child of Harry and Ginny Potter seems to have calmed down. Many expected her to follow in the footsteps of her eldest brother, notorious for his many antics...” She smirked at that. “Like I said earlier, they were too quick to judge you. It's obvious you're trying to reach out, get attention like your father did.”
Lily's hands balled into fists
at the mention of her father.
“Struck a nerve, didn't it?”
“Interview over,” a deep voice said. She expected her parents or Al or Scorpius...It was Vince, putting a large arm around her and pulling her close to him. “No comment, alright?” he said as he whisked her away.
“I could have handled that,” she mumbled once they were out of sight.
“Al's warned me about your temper, trust me I wasn't trying to play some hero, I just wanted a drink and you looked like you were about ready to hex that reporter into next year.”
“She kept on saying all this stuff about Score and I.” She sat down at the bar next to Vince. He ordered a Scotch and then it sat in front of him. “Can you just tell me it's true that your contract expires the first of the year?”
“Lily...” He looked at her, his eyes asking her not to make him answer. “Yes.”
“Damn it.” She slapped the table and then curled her hand into a fist. “Why didn't he tell me?”
“I haven't told Al.”
“You've been dating him for what? A couple months? Besides your renewing it, aren't you?”
“I don't have any problems with it.” He took the glass in his hand and swirled it around. “He didn't want to make you worry, that's all. Just...relax and talk about it later.”
“Yeah, Score probably tried to tell me earlier. He did say he wished that we had the oppurtunity to talk...”
“Can I have a drink of that?” She gestured to his glass.
“I hate Lucas,” she muttered with an eye roll.
“It was Al,” he said.
“You'd be my friend if you weren't dating my brother,” she joked, but got to her feet patting his shoulder before looking around to spot Scorpius coming toward her. “I was beginning to think you'd never come back.”
“Let's dance,” he said, glancing around. He pulled her close, his hand resting on her waist, hers on his shoulder. “Have fun talking to the press?”
Lily rolled her eyes. “Paisley Wells is a vulture,” she whispered into his ear.
“I'm sure you gave her plenty to talk about.”
“We give her plenty to talk about.” Lily looked into his eyes, stopping the dancing and resting a hand on his cheek.
“I don't think that's how the dance goes.”
“Maybe I want to change things up.”
“But this is fun.” He leaned her down, dipping her far enough that her braid nearly grazed the floor.
“Don't do that,” she shrieked with laughter. When she came back up, she braces her hands against his chest.
“I've missed you,” he said. “You know how to turn a boring fundraiser into some fun.”
Lily shrugged as she repositioned her hands. “It's not that boring.”
“Okay...” His face didn't convey the same message, he looked at her, wanting to know something else.
“Who was that guy I saw talking with you and Coach?”
“Him? No one, just...” He stopped. “He's looking to sign with some teams over here, I was just getting to know him.”
“Makes sense,” she said, but a lifted eyebrow showed that she wanted more. Before she asked a question, she saw Scorpius tense. She turned her head and saw Astoria Malfoy, hand on her hip, the other holding a wine glass as she waited. “You should go, I'll see if James will dance with his little sister.”
But Lily didn't go, she pretended to, but got another soda and then let herself blend into the crowd. Scorpius and Astoria were dancing, and his mother didn't look happy. When she walked by she caught snippets, mostly it seemed to be about what the reporter told her.
For the rest of the night, she somehow seemed to push the idea to the back of her mind, with the word later echoing over and over again. She danced with Scorpius for the better part of the evening and he had fun showing off all of his tricks. Reporters snapped several pictures of them dancing and Scorpius was strangely fine with it.
“I wish I didn't have to go back to my apartment alone.”
“You have a flatmate,” Lily said as they stood in the entryway.
“Leo moved in Renee, actually,” he told her. “But I'll see tomorrow afternoon, you wanted me to help you finish up Christmas shopping.”
“Yeah,” she said. “I'll see you tomorrow.” The goodbye was short, a hug and a kiss from Scorpius before she apparated back home by herself. Her parents were in the kitchen, Ginny taking off her jewelry on the kitchen table while Harry brewed a pot of tea. She said good night before heading up to her bedroom. Leaving her dress in a pile on the floor she rooted around for flannel pyjama pants and an oversized Harpies sweatshirt. Not even bothering to take off her makeup, she plopped on the bed and hugged her pillow.
Ten minutes passed... Then fifteen...Twenty...Thirty...Sleep evaded her until she felt a sharp tug on the back of her mind. “No,” she murmured trying to bury her face in the pillow, inhaling the smell of laundry soap. It didn't ground her and she wished that she wasn't so stubborn as to refuse sleep potions...
“I really have no idea what's going on...” The curly haired woman's hands were in the air, features still too blurry to make out. “You have to believe me...Please, I just don't understand...” There was desperation in her voice as she moved forward.
“Stay where you are,” someone commanded. “You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defense if you do not mention, when questioned, something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.”
“No...Listen I'm going to get my badge out, but you have to believe me, I'm not the threat...”
Lily felt roughly pulled out of that and swallowed hard. She had pushed herself into sitting position when another vision took hold.
“What do you mean you can't do anything?” It was the light haired Auror she thought to be Scorpius. “She wasn't hit by an unforgivable curse or tortured or given poison...A muggle attacked her, do you understand?”
“Sir, I'm going to have to ask you to calm down...It may be hard--”
“Bloody hell! You can't let her die...”
“Mate...” The dark haired Auror stepped forward. “They're doing their jobs, alright? You just...”
The light haired Auror crumpled, back against the wall... “We were supposed to watch out for each other!”
“I know, I know...But there wasn't much you could do to protect her from that.”
The vision faded out and Lily had a realization. She got out of bed and put on her shoes. How could she have been so stupid? She wasn't a prophet, she wasn't trained by the department of Mysteries...Unless she honed visions, most of them had to do with her. While a lot of them helped people around her...Were they warning her? About what?
Before she even knew what she was doing, she apparated to Scorpius' flat and started to knock on the door. He didn't come, so she hit it harder, palm flat against the door. “I'm coming.” She heard faintly before the door swung open. “Merlin, Lily, you were sober when I left you.”
“I'm not drunk,” she hissed.
“Why else are you at my door at eleven at night? Huh?” he asked, then grabbed her arm. “Come in before the neighbors hear what's going on.”
“I couldn't sleep,” she said once the door was shut.
“Your dad is going to kill me after what happened last time.”
“Mum will do it, not him,” she muttered.
“This isn't funny!”
Lily pursed her lips and crossed her arms over her chest. “I know the timing is bad, but I have to talk to you.”
“Couldn't it wait?” His tone was softer, he slipped an arm and guided her towards the sofa.
“No, it can't.” She pulled away from him, then shifted her body to look straight. “I tried to wait until later to talk to you, but...” She froze, out of the corner of her eyes, she caught the signature dark grey envelope with silver writing. The same envelopes that her father's paycheck came in.“It's true, isn't it?”
“Paisley Wells said that the Thestrals contract ended the first of the year, that you can get out with no questions asked. Vince told me to wait to ask you, you'd bring it up later, and I shouldn't worry because he didn't tell Al. But he didn't tell Al because he's renewing his.”
“No. How dare you keep something like this from me? I tell you everything! I owled you after I found out be the interview with St. Mungo's right after I told my parents.”
“If you're open with me, why don't tell me what that vision was about and why you reacted the way you did when I was visiting Hogwarts?”
Lily got to her feet and began to walk away, Scorpius caught her elbow. She tugged it free and stalked over to an open area, he followed. “I think we should...”
“I love you,” she started, “but I'm scared.”
“Lily I know I should have told you about the contract and I should have told you I was applying again, but I didn't even tell my mum. She found out because my dad let something slip."
“It's not about that, well...It's partially about that.” Lily looked at him. Looked at her best friend and knew the words she was about to say to him would shatter his heart. “The vision I had that day has basically been reoccurring...The faces are blurry and each time I get another piece of the puzzle. All I know about it is that there is this woman Auror and something happens to her, then it flashes forward to a hospital and I am there and...there's this guy he's thin and has light hair, but his face is blurred out too...The me in the vision recognizes him, but doesn't go and comfort him, someone else does...”
“Oh...Lily...” Scorpius holds out a hand when he sees the tears prick at Lily's eyes.
Because you don't let me help you.”
“No, Score, you've always been there for me, helped me, protected me, comforted me...I feel like I've only do it maybe a couple of times for you.”
“Let me talk, please.” She wrapped her arms around herself and looks at the ceiling. “We both can't keep on doing this. I want to be with you, your my best friend, but I just feel like... If we stay together we have to take another step or it's just going to crumble and I can't do that and I don't think you can either.”
“We both need to focus on us now. I have that interview with St. Mungo's and if I get in, my attendance is contingent on my test scores. You can't afford to lose focus at the Auror academy...”
“So we need to focus on school, our parents got married when they were, what? 18, 19...Our dad's went through the Auror academy married, Teddy and Victoire made it...”
“You're not listening, it's not just about you, it's about us. I talked to my Uncle Neville and he said something that I agreed with. I am 18 years old and I do not have to find my forever right now. The two of us grew up around relationships that started young and managed to stay together, but it was a different time, a different place...” She shrugged.
“But I thought...your visions, you said I helped you.” His voice seemed smaller as he stood there and Lily wanted him to say what he really meant. I thought you needed me.
“Score, you're not...you don't anchor me anymore.” She swallowed hard and let her hands drop to her side. “The last time you were there for a vision, it just sent me in deeper, like instead of catching me, you pushed me.”
“I...I didn't know.”
“It can mean a lot of things, but I think...I think my body is trying to tell me something. You don't trust me, so I can't trust you.”
“Lily, I trust you with my life, come on.”
“I don't think you do and...what I'm going to say is going to sound selfish, but... I think the reason you didn't go to the Auror academy was because I was so against it and you... a part of you resents me for that...”
“I don't resent you. Lily you're opinion may have been factor, but we weren't just dating, you were my best friend...you still are.”
“Like I said, I'm going to sound selfish, but I just can't deal with that. With you being an Auror and me going to the Healer academy. I need to find out who I am and where I'm going before I can think about being with someone. And Scorpius? You deserve someone who can be there for you, who can deal with you being an Auror.”
He was silent, jaw clenched tight and arms across his chest.
“People think... You know, I've heard people compare me to my mother, just like Ginny Weasley, they say, but I am not her. I am not strong like her, I hope I can be someday, but... She watched my dad grow up, watched him being put into near death situations more times than she could keep track of and she still stayed with him. Then she married him and said goodbye to him day after day knowing he might not come home... I can't do that, do you understand? I want a future with someone that I know has a better chance of coming home than dying and...”
“You're working yourself up,” he whispered, posture relaxing. “Calm down. You know being an Auror is more about law enforcement than anything else.”
“I know, but...I think even if...even if you stayed playing Quidditch, it would come to this sooner rather than later,” she whispered. “We don't normally do direct apologies, but I am so sorry.”
“I want to be your friend, I really do, but right now that's all I can be...I think...I can't be with you.”
“So just like that we're breaking up?”
She bit her bottom lip and nodded. “Bye, Score...”
“Lily.” He reached out, but she just shook her head.
“If you open your mouth again, it better be to say goodbye, because... I don't think I can deal with much more than that.”
She didn't turn around, she walked out of this flat and apparated home on shaky legs. She ended up on the porch step and used the specialized locking charm for the front door. Inside she saw a glow coming from the couch, her father was sitting there.
“Lily,” he whispered, getting to his feet. “I'll let your mother yell at you tomorrow, but...” He wrapped his arms around her. “Where did you go?”
“I...Dad, I don't want to talk.”
“I get up to go the bathroom to find your door wide open and you missing, how did you want me to react? You had about ten minutes before I woke up your mother and started--” He paused and took in his daughter. She was dressed in pyjamas with a pair of untied sneakers, hair still done up, and makeup that was smeared due to the tears in her eyes. “Oh, bud, what do you want me to do?”
She hugged him tighter and burried her head in his t-shirt. “I loved him.”
“At least I thought I did, but it hurts...why does it hurt so much?”
“Did he break up with you?”
“No,” she spat out. “I did it.”
“Come here...” He pulled her down on the couch and she curled against his side like she used to do when she was younger and he just got off work. “Do you want to talk about it?”
“No, I mean...Do you promise not to tell me how awful he is like Dom and Roxie always do?”
Lily pushed herself up and twisted around to look at her father. “If our friendship was to last, I knew we had to break on as amiable as terms as possible.”
“You know Bud, you can tell someone that you love them a lot of different ways.” Lily had her head on his shoulder. “By saying that you miss them, or saying that your worried, or yelling at you for you sneaking out...”
She snorted at that.
“Or by telling someone goodbye.” He touched her hair and took a shaky breath. “Did...Did your Aunt Hermione ever tell you about the war?”
“No...” She turned to look at her dad, who had his gaze fixed on a point across the room. He seemed to be frozen in his spot. “You don't have to.”
“She was worried that her parents would be in danger since they were Muggles, so she wiped every trace of her from their memories. Sometimes you need to say goodbye to the people you love.”
“I just...I was changing and he was changing, but we weren't changing.” Lily took in a breath as shaky as her dads. She thought about something that she hadn't been able to vocalize or even dared herself to think of in a while. “Before we even started dating I liked how he made me feel...safe and I needed that, but now... I feel like sometimes he still sees the 11 year old girl he found crying in the Common Room because she couldn't stand up to her big brother or the girl that flunked potions or the one who needed someone to pull her out of visions. Now, James and I get along, I aced the last test I took and...I can't handle my visions still, but they're getting better.”
“Oh, Lily Luna...” He muttered, shaking his head with a sad smile.
“Molly says one way of knowing when your kid is all grown up is when they get their heart broke for the first time, especially if they're the one that does it.” He chuckled a bit, it's forced. “I like that you and Al and James have normal things to worry about like school and your relationships... Then you guys grow up on me and I can't do anything to keep you from getting hurt no matter how hard I try.”
“If it makes you feel better, talking with you helps.”
“It does, Bud, it does.”
The next morning, Ginny kept her mouth shut when she found her husband and daughter asleep on the couch. Lily was curled up like a cat beside Harry who's glasses were still on and halfway down his face. She didn't comment on her daughter's red eyes, just fixed her cup of tea with a little bit of milk and whole lot of honey. No, she said nothing even when she found the magazine with Lily and Scorpius on the front cover in the trash later that day. Ginny didn't say anything when she found the moon necklace with the snapped chain in the bathroom. She knew what had happened by then.
When she found the formal dresses crumpled in a donate box she just sighed and folded them up before putting them in the attic. Lily might want them some day. Just like Harry. Ginny was used to picking up fragments of memories and tucking them away until the time came when they were wanted again. This, though, was much different than a war. It was different than pictures and personal effects of the deceased. Strangely enough, Ginny was better at dealing with that. She'd leave Harry to deal with broken hearts and be there to help her daughter mend it when the time was needed. She was good at fixing things that were ready to be put back together.
Albus let himself into Scorpius' apartment the next day. Granted, Malfoy was the one who unlocked it after he'd been standing there for a good five minutes, but he still let himself in. The flat was in it's usual state of cleanliness, more so than when he last saw it, but that was when Leo lived there. “You're doing well,” he says when he finds Scorpius doing the dishes by hand in front of the sink. The words are a lie because Albus has never known his friend to do things the muggle way and he's sock-footed, dressed in sweatpants and a t-shirt so big on him, the neck reveals a sharp collarbone.
“If you came here to make sarcastic comments, then you can leave,” he snapped.
“I came because your friend and the last time I had a breakup you helped me.”
“I'm a grown man and you were 16 and the guy was an arse.”
“Score, you've never called Jules an arse.” Al leaned against the counter. “I just know how you get and...you don't want to hear this, but Lily is a mess, like she's not crying and she--”
“You're right I don't want to hear about your sister.” He turned the water off and wiped his hand on a towel. He laughed. “The only comfort is she did it at the right time.” He gestured to the magazines that sat on the pile. “My mum sent those to me, she likes to do that when she approves of an article.”
Albus looked at the top magazine. The cover was split into four panels, each a different story. One of the panels covered the fundraiser and showed Scorpius dipping Lily.
“There's no press at the Malfoy ball, so the papers won't find out until the New Year, but lucky for me Lily and I made quite an impression at the fundraiser.” He gestured, or at least Al thinks it's a gesture, but it's wandless magic and his tossing aside the papers until he came to the magazine he wants him to see. The headline on the cover reads Best Couples of 2026. Scorpius then flips the pages until it comes to the article. On the second page there's a category formost likely to be engaged by next year. The picture is of Score and Lily kissing. Her hand was flat on his chest, his eyes wide before he pulls away and grabs her hand. “Is it bad that I liked that?” He picked up his wand and murmured accio, a box floats into the kitchen landing on the counter. “It's not an engagement ring, it just...made me think of her.”
He opened the box and looked down at it. Antique silver band with flecks of gems dotted along it with engravings of flowers. “I feel stupid, Al, okay? I knew something was wrong, but I ignored it. Merlin, that articles right. I would have married her if she'd let me. I always got annoyed with my mum talking about marriage and settling down, but the truth is I wanted it and Lily was the first person I wanted it with.”
The two of them sat down at the breakfast bar, not saying much. Scorpius snapped the jewelry box shut and slammed it into a drawer along with the magazines. “I'm glad you didn't come here wanting to hex me.”
“It's Teddy's job to be overprotective, not mine. I just do the regular stuff,” he said. “Besides, Lily can handle herself 95% of the time.” Albus looked at him and rubbed the back of his neck. “Listen, I don't like to pry and she's my sister...but what really happened?”
Scorpius sighed, ran a hand through his hair. “There were many factors...” He forced his tone to sound controlled, detached. Al knew he was using this as a chance to practice what he would tell his parents. “In the end, it was most likely not informing her of my decision to leave the Thestral's and pursue a career as an Auror.” He looked down at the counter top. “She said that she didn't trust me and started talking about these visions she had, then she talked about how we were too young.”
“In the end...Perhaps it is for the better,” he relented.
“Did she talk about Auror training?” Al asked.
“Yes, and I know I should have explained to her. As much as I love Quidditch, I hate the extras that come with it. When we both got prefect, we disliked it for the same reason. Both of us were able to stay unnoticed until then. After I started dating Lily I was thrust into the spotlight again. Playing Quidditch it wasn't so bad, in fact the publicity was good, it kept my mother off my back, but I just can't handle these people thinking I'm a hero for doing nothing more than keeping a ball from going to through the a hoop. I want to do something that actually helps someone...” He finishes and looks at his friend. “I didn't mean to have a monologue,” he muttered.
“For the record,” he began, leaning back in his chair, “It is nearly impossible to stay with someone during it. It's nothing like school, it's like they try to teach you how to swim by throwing you in the middle of Black Lake. After you make it through the initial part, it's easier and nice to have someone...”
“Al, please, I may have set you up with Vince, but I don't want to hear about you two now.”
“Fine, fine...hey, you hungry?”
“I don't want to cook and the last thing I want to do is go out somewhere.”
“Poor sheltered pure blood,” Al teased. “Didn't Leo have a phone installed?”
“Let me show you the wonder that is pizza delivery.”
By the time Christmas rolls around, Lily is...Lily, but still not the same. She sneaks cookies from the kitchen where her cousins help Grandma Molly cook, she pretends to listen to Uncle Percy, and she laughs with her Uncle George. Mostly she sits with Victoire, by some miracle Stella likes her. It's odd, when she first saw the baby she was terrified to get to close and now she looks at her with those big eyes of hers.
The table at the Weasley Christmas has expanded. Neville, Hannah, Gracie, Alice, and Neville's grandmother are all in attendance as they spent last Christmas with Hannah's parents. Luna showed up with Lorcan and Lysander and her husband. Al brought Vince and Vince's father who looks as uncomfortable as his son around the big group. It's fine. No one even comments on the fact that Grandma Molly handed Albus an additional box to Albus when he was leaving. A box that held one of her sweaters to go to somebody that was expected to come but didn't.
When she goes back to school, her father takes her to the train station, and doesn't say much in the car. There are no surprises waiting for her and as much as she misses Scorpius, she misses his teammates too. Vince gave her a big hug and said that he understood at Christmas dinner, but she wonders how Lucas will react, Stephen.
“Your mum and I will pick you up, take care.” He pressed a kiss to her temple, something he hasn't done in a while.
“Don't worry about me, I'm fine.”
Harry took in a deep breath and nods. After that night and the episode of attempting to throw away the dresses, Lily really has been, fine.
On the train she avoids the prefect compartment, no meetings or anything this time, she pulled her duty on the way to Kings Cross. “Can I sit here?” she asks, poking her head in the compartment to see Jordi, Nott, Daphne, and Simone. Esther isn't here, she's in another compartment with a group of Ravenclaws.
“Is it true?” Simone asks, holding Witches Weekly.
“What are you talking about?”
“You and Score of course, are you engaged?”
It's like a slap in the face. Lily holds out her hand and gets the magazine, she looks down at it and sees the Best Couples of 2026. She flips through on the inside until she sees a picture, the kiss. “No, it's not.” She hands it back, well practically throws it.
“What's wrong with you?” Jordi asks. “Usually you're in a better mood after break.”
“If you must know I broke up with Scorpius, alright?” She looked around the compartment before pulling a Divinations book out of her bag. When she glanced up from it, the girls have quieted and are looking for something else to talk about, flip to another best couple. Jordi, though, doesn't pretend she didn't speak or acknowledge the news, much, but asked her about St. Mungo's. She knew there was a reason she liked him.
Less than a week later, Lily has her interview and her old roommates help her prepare. She borrows clothes from Daphne, shoes from Simone, and a pearl necklace from Esther. They help her tame her hair and put on an appropriate amount of makeup. The girl that looks back at her in the mirror isn't one that she quite recognizes, but to her it looks like what a Head Girl is supposed to be. Conservatively pretty with an outfit that looks ready to start working at an office. “You'll do great,” Simone said as she helped arrange her dress.
Soon enough she slipped out of the girls dormitory and walks to the Headmaster's office, following the instructions. It doesn't take long for her to floo to St. Mungo's, she found herself entering a small lobby, with only a few people waiting. At the front desk sat a woman surrounded by a flurry of office supplies, flicking her hands every few minutes with the words of the spells underneath her breath. “Name?” she asked without even looking up.
“Lily Potter, I'm here--”
“To interview with Madame McKinnon.” She sighed. “Go down that hall, take a left, and it'll be the first door on the right. Knock twice.”
Lily looked around the office as she went. Each door had a gold nameplate affixed to it, there were a few paper planes hovering around like in the Ministry office, but other than that it seemed quite ordinary. When she took a left she found a door with Charlotte McKinnon-Graham engraved on the plate. She knocked and stood there, looking down at her feet and waiting for her response. Already her feet were killing her in the heels Simone insisted were a perfect addition.
“Come in,” a voice called. “I take it you are Miss Potter?”
“It's a pleasure to meet you.” Lily stuck out her hand and watched as the woman rose from her seat. She was older with hair that had a bit more white than grey in it, held back with clip and wearing a pantsuit that appeared to be muggle in origin. The woman's hand lingered a bit too long as she appeared to be searching Lily's face.
“Sorry, about that, please sit...” She sighed as she dug through a drawer to locate a file. Lily took note that everything on her desk appeared to be muggle, there was even a telephone sitting on it. “So why don't we start off the interview telling me a bit about yourself?”
Lily smiled and tilted her head. “I suppose I'm should tell you all the facts in the folder, all the ones that make me look flawless, but those test scores and activities don't summarize me well enough. I adore my family, even though they are a royal pain in the neck at times, and I love Divinitions even though most people call it rubbish. Most importantly of all, I like challenges and I don't give up on something until I have given my best effort to try to fix it.”
“Why medicine...er, why do you want to become a healer?” The woman was taking notes herself with a ball point pen on a yellow legal pad. No parchment or floating quill.
“A good percentage of my family has gone into law enforcement and like I told my brother, someone has to help patch them up.”
“To summarize, you went into medicine to help people?” There was hint of a frown on her face.
“That's just one of the reasons. Like I said before, I love challenges. My first year at Hogwarts I would have flunked potions without a patient Professor and a kind friend. I worked and worked at it until I could do it in my sleep. My third year I started reading the Potions textbook before class even started, because I knew I'd be lost as soon as the Professor opened his mouth. It still doesn't come easy to me, but that's why I like it. I like that I won't get bored with it because it will constantly challenge me and the end product is...well, helping people.”
“I see...” The hint of a frown turned into a hint of a smile. “Do you have any hesitations to entering the field?”
Lily bit her lip at that. “Like I said, my family is in law enforcement so the main thing that tugs at the back of my mind is sometimes there are going to be people I can' t help and dealing with the aftermath... It's not easy for anyone, but I just know that if it's an Auror that comes in and we can't save them, then it will be especially difficult for me.”
“This interview has been enlightening.” The woman's face was one of neutrality as she slipped her notes into the file. “Before I even met you or heard your name I had an inkling you would be an asset to St. Mungo's. Your OWL scores are proof of your academic potential, extracurricular show a team player and passionate young woman...” Her face shifted to a sad smile. “What I am going to say next has no bearing on your application, keep that in mind... When you came in through that door you recognized that I was a bit shocked.”
Lily nodded, eyebrows knitting together.
“You look so much like her.”
“No, no, well, I don't know Ginny Weasley very well so I do imagine there is some resemblance, at least in the eyes... But you look like your Grandmother, Lily Potter.”
“I've only seen a few photos.”
“I met Lily when she was 16 years old and she was...Words don't describe the memories properly, but she was a beautiful human being.”
“How did you know her?”
“My family was friends with the Potter's and Lily was living with James at the time.”
“We don't have much time left, but... Your grandmother wanted to become a Healer, but she let slip in her interview that she was muggle born and at the time. They really wanted her, and were willing to lie on the application, but she wouldn't have that. Lily didn't even tell James why, she didn't want him intervening on her behalf because not every muggle born had the connections she did.”
“So she just gave up?”
“No, that wasn't Lily. Dumbledore had her work at muggle clinic, he said it was to monitor the neighborhood, but everyone knew why. She also played unofficial Healer to the Order Members.”
“I wish I could have met her.”
“I do too.” A sad smile crossed her face. “But I don't think Lily was supposed to come to St. Mungo's, she had a different path and I think she knew that.”
Lily looked at the woman and then down at her feet. “If you don't mind me asking, your last name is McKinnon-Graham, I know during the war the McKinnon's were--”
“Yes,” she interrupted. “My first husband and his family were killed then. Graham is the man I married afterward. We started out as friends, he helped me work at a muggle hospital and my daughter loved him. Eventually, the two of us moved to France together. I was there throughout the second wizarding war. I only recently came back to take the job here.”
“Wow, it's just...My dad hasn't told me much about the war and not many people are left that can still talk about my grandparents.”
“I have a feeling I will be seeing you again soon.” She smiled, a wide, honest smile. “My door will always be open to you, remember that.”
“Of course.” Lily stuck out her hand to shake her and thanked her for her time. As she left, she felt...It was hard to convey in words, but to know that her grandmother tried to set out on the same path she did and got denied only made her career choice seem that much better. It seemed that this truly was the future she was meant to have. Perhaps, that future never meant to include Scorpius.
Never before in his life had he been this tired. Al had not been lying when he said that the training was brutal. It started at seven in the morning and went to all hours of the night, depending on what they were doing. The inside of his apartment had not been seen for more than a few hours of sleeping and eating a day. He hadn't even had a chance to find a new roommate to replace Leo.
Still, no matter the sore muscles and headaches from lessons, he knew that this had to be the right decision. Unlike Quidditch, it was challenging, more so than just the physical aspect. He learned not only to duel and carry himself in the field, but also about muggle techniques. One of the new recruits made the mistake to comment about Harry, saying it was solely his doing that they had to learn all of this. They spent the next half of day in a history lesson about the wizarding wars.
It was March when he showed up at the Academy, only to be directed to the gym. The instructors were there with clipboards looking over the newest people and he saw students that he sure were already done with training. “Didn't they tell you that you were going to meet your partner today?”
“Partner?” Scorpius questioned.
The instructor raised his eyebrow at him. “We don't send out Aurors alone, you at least have to have your partner, if not another pair with you. Do you need to have a review on our standards?”
“No, but I--”
“Brad, can you stop teasing the fresh meat?”
Scorpius turned and saw none other than Roxanne Weasley appear. Her curls were contained in a tight braid, and didn't look much like the Roxie he knew. There wasn't an inch of her that broke regulations.
“Weasley, I told you about the first names.”
“Whatever.” She rolled her eyes. “Is Malfoy mine?”
“Joy,” he replied dryly.
“There's a reason why we put you together.” He eyed them carefully. “Didn't think anyone else could handle the two of you.”
“I resent that statement,” Scorpius began, but found his shoulder being roughly grabbed by Roxie who rolled her eyes.
“No one cares who you resent...”
Scorpius looked at her and then something dawned on him, he let out a laugh. “Lily told me something once, she said that once you enter her family they never let me go.”
“She was right about something,” Roxie replied with a wicked grin. “You're stuck with me, Malfoy, but first we need to make sure you'll survive out there.” She spun around and summoned a pair of gloves. “Ever boxed?”
“We'll go over the basic defense techniques, but I find this the most fun.”
“I don't quite understand.”
“You can't rely on your wand for everything. If you don't know how to protect yourself it can become a stick of wood awfully quick. It's one of the first thing pure blood wizards learn and it's not just because my Uncle Harry has his head up his arse and is on a power trip.”
“That wasn't me.” He took the gloves from her. “I'm warning you, I've never--”
“I know pretty boy, but believe you are going to miss those hoops when I'm done with you and wish you never stepped foot into this academy.”
“Are you threatening me?”
“Al did tell me that Teddy never got his chance to properly welcome you to the family. He's real attached to his little sister.” She punched his shoulder, it was obvious that she didn't put her full force behind it, but it still hurt. “Come on, Malfoy, we better get started, there's a lot of work to do.”
And there was. The girl that used to set him on edge and quite frankly frightened him a bit, turned to be a great friend. She may have given him a few bruises in practice, but he didn't hold that against her. Roxie was quite a bit better at dealing with muggle items that they learned how to use (stronger interaction was encouraged since the second war). She was there to help him move apartments and he met Dom's new boyfriend with her.
Since entering the Academy he strangely felt...free . It was odd, but he no longer had the media watching his every move, there was nothing going on that he didn't schedule (finally, no parties or conferences or dinners...). His mother didn't expect him to have stop by at home every weekend or have dinner at the house once a week since his father understood how busy he was at the Academy. At the same time, he realized that perhaps Lily letting him go was the best thing to happen to him. As much as he loved her, he was letting her trepidations become his, he was letting her become a barrier to the future he was sure he now wanted. People tried to compare Lily to the wind, always changing and moving...It was easy to get swept up in, let her whip all around you, but Scorpius never saw that side of her. The rough edges most everyone saw, seemed to soften—even the tiniest bit—around him. Maybe it was the best for her as well, she was right, he was always eager to help her, but never to receive the same amount of help. Still, he hoped that free feeling that he felt was mutual.
Did you enjoy my story? Please let me know what you think by leaving a review! Thanks, Sophie AnneWrite a Review