Disclaimer; I don't own the wizarding world of Harry Potter or any of the characters in it. I wish I did. But I don't.
I just want to take the time to thank everyone who has reviewed my story so far and to those loyal readers who read every week and have done from the beginning. It really does make my day to see a review in my inbox so thank you very much! :)
So we're around three quarters of the way through this story so it shouldn't be too long now until it's finished and I can get a jump on the sequel I was planning on doing so yay! :D
Now the next few chapters do have a bit of mature content in them but I promise that it's nothing too explicit.
Anyway, here's chapter Fifty-Eight!
Hope you enjoy it!
'You know, Prongs told me to make sure you didn't work on this bike without him here.' Remus said.
He and Sirius were in one of the outhouses on the Potter's grounds. He was sat on the worktop side which had been put in so that Sirius could store all his muggle tools on whilst building his bike. Remus was fiddling with one of these tools now. It was long and thin with a hard black handle and a flat tip. Remus had no idea what it was for but strangely, Sirius did; a screwdriver. Sirius had no idea what the difference between an infusion of Wormwood and Asphodel, but he knew what every single muggle tool in that outhouse was and what it did. Remus thought it was an odd thing to know or to want to know because it would never help him in the wizarding world but at least, he thought, Sirius had taken it upon himself to at least learn something before they left Hogwarts.
Sirius was also using one of these tools. He was using what he had told Remus was a wrench after Remus had commented that it sort of looked like a two pronged fork. He was using it to remove the bolts on the front tyre so that he could install, what he knew was called a calliper guard because, as he had pointed out to Remus earlier when he had begun this process, the front break needs a calliper guard. He was covered in oil and grease thanks to working with the breaks and the tyres which made everything a lot more difficult because his hand kept slipping on the wrench. He wished James was there to help him instead of off gallivanting around with Lily. James would make the work go twice as quick as opposed to Remus who was, in Sirius' opinion, was more a hindrance than a help with this project. All he did was sit on the side. But James had invited him round specifically when he wasn't going to be there and Sirius thought he knew why.
'So what are you my babysitter?' he asked Remus, his hand slipping again on the wrench as it was covered in colourless grease. He wiped his hand down his already messy jeans to try and wipe it off. No such luck.
'Pretty much.' Remus muttered, stabbing the screwdriver into the wood of the worktop side, making a nice little indentation. He was extremely bored.
Sirius was slightly offended that James thought he needed a babysitter. As if his house wasn't in safe hands with just Sirius alone and he'd return to find it crawling with goblins or something. He was also offended that James had chosen to go to some sort of wedding with Lily rather than help him work on his bike. James enjoyed working on the bike with Sirius. At least when Sirius didn't shout at him he did. It was the only this Sirius was really serious about; that bike. Still, he acted like he didn't care about James' abandonment and waved it away in a nonchalant manner. 'Ah what does Prongs know anyway.' he said.
'He knows that last time you worked on this bike you blew up the outhouse.' Remus said, pointing out of the open door of the outhouse they were in to the one about a hundred feet away. It had its roof blown out and scorch stains on the brick inside. Jane Potter had had no time to fix it and, as James and Sirius had no idea how to, they just moved to the next outhouse along.
'Yeah but he was here for that.' Sirius pointed out as he threw the bolt he had just managed to remove into a little tub next to him on the floor where he was sat. 'How do you know that he wasn't the problem?'
'Because you were the one who blew it up.' Remus said, now putting the screwdriver down and hopping off of the worktop side. He walked over to Sirius and leant his hand on the bodywork of the bike that he had already done. 'He said not to let you work on this without him here.' He tapped the bike but received a glare from Sirius. He was very protective off his bike.
One day, when it was finished, Sirius said he was going to ride it to Grimmauld Place, where he used to live and where the Black family still lived, and ride it through the kitchen, stealing their food in the process. He hated his family and knew that if he did that, he could probably kill his mother for shame. For him, the prospect wasn't bad.
'Yeah but he could have been told to say that by evil Wombats.' Sirius said offhandedly at what he had made sound like an everyday occurrence.
Remus raised one eyebrow. 'Evil wombats?' he asked.
'They're real!' Sirius assured him before his expression faltered and he had to ask, 'Aren't they?'
'Yeah.' Remus said, nodding his head sarcastically. Wombats were real but he doubted very much whether they were evil.
'Then there you go.' Sirius said happily, missing the sarcasm in Remus' voice completely and getting started on taking off the next bolt.
'Not sure why they'd be telling Prongs to tell you to stop working on your bike though.' Remus said.
'Who knows?' Sirius shrugged, gritting his teeth as he tried to move the wrench around the bolt. It was being very stubborn and he couldn't get him to move, but he refused to use magic on his bike. He said it was because, when he rode it through his old house, that little gem would kill his father. Again, the prospect wasn't bad. The best thing he got from him was his middle name. 'I'm not clued into the inner workings of an evil wombats mastermind evil plan Moony.' he continued.
'An evil wombats mastermind evil plan.' Remus repeated slowly. Sirius came out with some rather odd stories. He overdramatized practically everything. If it wasn't evil wombats it was bloodthirsty pixies who kidnap people. Usually that was the kind of story Sirius made up whenever James wondered off alone which he did on the odd occasion. They'd be speaking to him and then, suddenly, he'd have disappeared without telling them where he was going.
'It's a thing.' Sirius defended.
'Do you listen to yourself when you talk?' Remus queried, wondering if Sirius actually knew about half of the nonsense he spurted out.
'Nah.' Sirius said with a shake of his head, now using two hands to try and move the bolt, 'It hurts my head.'
'Hurts everyone's head.' Remus muttered, kneeling down on the floor to try and give shifting the bolt a go himself.
'Then don't listen.' Sirius said in reply, letting Remus take over for a short amount of time whilst he wiped his sweaty forehead with the sleeve of his jumper, (it was cold outside today. It was winter after all). Unfortunately, Sirius just wiped a nice long streak of oil across his head. His jumper was extremely dirty and now, so was his face.
'Then you moan.' Remus said, finally shifting the bolt a little then giving the wrench back to Sirius to finish it off.
'Yeah I do.' Sirius laughed, making quick work of the bolt now that Remus had loosened it, 'Don't you just love me?'
'No.' Remus stated. Sirius was very vain.
'Yeah you do.' Sirius brushed off. After all, how could anyone not love him? 'I'm just loveable.' he went on, tossing the bolt into the tub next to him, 'Prongs told me.'
'That's disturbing.' Remus said.
'I was a dog at the time.' Sirius clarified.
'Less disturbing.' Remus conceded.
'Prongs says I should stay like that.' Sirius said. It wasn't untrue. On more than one occasion James had turned to Sirius, especially when Sirius was in a mood, and had told him that he preferred him when he was a dog. He had a better disposition as a dog. Plus, James always said that there was the added bonus of him being silent. He regretted saying that though because next time they had transformed, Sirius had made a point of barking and howling and whimpering just to prove that he was never silent. Still, James told him he was better as a dog.
'He's probably right.' Remus laughed. He couldn't help but agree with James on that point. Point. He returned to his original point. 'He also said you weren't to work on the bike when he wasn't here.' Remus stated before pointing out the obvious, 'And he's not here. Ergo, stop working on that bike.'
'Air go.' Sirius repeated with a smile, 'That's what this bikes gonna do.'
'What?' Remus sighed exasperatedly. What dim-witted idea had he given him now.
'Air go.' Sirius said again, his grin widening, 'Fly!'
'That's not what ergo means.' Remus said, shaking his head. Sure, Sirius knew what bolts and wrenches and things were but Merlin forbid he look at a dictionary.
'Yeah it is.' Sirius enthused adamantly, 'Air go. To go into the air. Ergo, it means to fly.'
'You used it right just then.' Remus pointed out.
'Used what right?' Sirius asked, having no idea what he had just said.
'Why do I talk to you?' Remus commented.
But Sirius didn't answer. He wasn't listening anymore. He was thinking instead about his flying motorcycle. That would be the tip of the iceberg, the icing on the cake for Sirius. When he rode through his old house on his muggle motorbike, his mother would die of shame, his father would die from Sirius' lack of magic, then, when they had both kicked the bucket, Sirius would take off into the night, flying the motorbike away and killing Regulus, his brother, for making a muggle object fly like a broom; for Regulus was to a broom the way Sirius was to his bike. Of course, when Sirius said kill, he didn't mean actually causing their deaths, just really piss them off. That would do for him.
Lily stayed in her own home the night she had gotten back from Hogwarts. She didn't have to sneak in because her parents were staying at the hotel where Petunia was having her wedding the next day so that they could help her prepare in the morning. So Lily had had the house to herself all night. She liked it as she watched her favourite video, 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', on her families block of a television. After the video had finished though she suddenly felt the house was very big and very empty. She read a book but the house was still empty so she had gone to bed in the hopes that the faster she went to sleep, the quicker the next day would come.
It worked for her and it wasn't long until she was opening her front door to James. They would have left straight away only James was wearing wizarding dress robes which, Lily was sure, Petunia wouldn't have appreciated at all. So she left him at her house and ran out to buy him a suit. She found a nice one in a shop in town and, using the muggle money that James had given her, (for he had insisted that he buy his own suit with the money he had changed at Gringotts), she went back home to give it to James, wondering why he had brought that amount of money with him anyway. After he had changed into it, the two apparated to the hotel where Petunia was having her wedding.
Nobody noticed them during the wedding; all eyes were on the bride as they should be. Lily and James had managed to stay inconspicuous whilst sat at the back of the large but crowded hall-like room where Petunia and Vernon tied the knot. There was a moment where Lily was sure someone would notice them as James was muffling laughter rather badly but no one did. Lily kept elbowing him to stop it only he couldn't help it. He stopped after five minutes though and was quiet for the rest of the ceremony which Lily was thankful for. When the wedding was over and it was time to make their way through the hotel over to the function room where the reception was being held, they still managed not to be noticed. Even when Lily had asked James why he had been laughing and he had replied with 'he looks as though he could eat her' in reference to Vernon and Petunia and she had started to laugh, they still weren't noticed. Again, Lily was thankful. The biggest challenge they had though was getting into the reception.
Lily hadn't counted on Petunia having a guest list where all the guests were checked off on before heading in though. There was some pompous man stood at a maître d podium ticking off a list as people went through into the room. Lily didn't know what to do. They waited for forty minutes watching everyone else go in before James had an idea. He went to the main desk and nicked a piece of paper and, after seeing someone writing with one and realising what it was, a pen. He returned to Lily, took out his wand and used the same handy little nonverbal spell he had used on her Transfiguration notes a couple of months ago. The spell connected the guest list and the piece of paper he had. This meant that anything James wrote the pompous man with the guest list would see and vice-versa. James and Lily watched as the blank piece of paper suddenly filled up with Petunia and Vernon's guest list. James quickly added their names to the bottom of the list, Lily not seeing what he had written, and then stuffed it into the inside of his suit pocket. They then both approached the maître d's podium.
'Names.' the pompous man asked in a bored voice.
'Lily Evans and Elvendork.' James said to the man who frowned.
'Elvendork?' Lily whispered to him in exasperation. Why had he had to do this?
'It's my undercover name.' James replied with a grin as he and Lily were waved into the room by the man who obviously hated his job.
'We're not undercover' Lily pointed out as she linked her arm though James' and walked into the reception with him. She had to hand it to Petunia; she had planned a beautiful wedding reception.
They were in a large room which was the hotels main function room. There were around twenty round tables with ten seats surrounding them. Each table had a purple runner down the middle over the top of a white table cloth with lilac napkins and lilac place cards. Purple and white seemed to be Petunia's theme. There was a clearing in the middle at the front where people were dancing to a live band that was poised on a small stage. There were flowers, orchids, everywhere; Petunia's favourite flower. Each arrangement had purple swirly sticks stuck in them and purple ribbons entangled elegantly through them. There was a finger buffet across the far wall which was meant for the first part of the reception. Later there would be a sit down meal. It all looked beautiful. It was very Petunia.
'Still a cool name.' James murmured to Lily as they walked through the crowded room. He wasn't sure where they were going. He hoped the buffet. He was hungry.
'I'm starting to regret bringing you here.' Lily said.
'Nah you're not.' James laughed, 'You know you want me here.' he continued, poking her waist as he said so.
'Not sure I-' Lily began to tease but she was interrupted. Someone had spotted her.
'Lily!' came a voice behind her.
She turned around to see who it was. She didn't recognise them. 'Oh no.' she said quietly.
'Who's that?' James asked her.
'No idea.' Lily shrugged.
The girl arrived in front of them. She was bouncing. She had obviously been drinking already and was very talkative. 'Hi! We weren't expecting you. Petunia said you didn't break up from your school for another few days.' she said in a grating voice. She was still bouncing and, if she carried on, Lily feared she would fall out of the red dress she was wearing. She clashed horribly with the theme of the wedding. Lily was sure Petunia would be happy about it.
'They let me out early?' Lily answered with a questioning lilt in her voice.
'Really? That's great!' the girl said, pulling Lily into a squeezing hug and away from James. She noticed him then with wide, almost bloodshot eyes. 'Who's this?' she asked, almost throwing Lily back out of her grip.
'Elvendork.' James said, trying his hardest not to laugh at the girl, 'Pleased to make your acquaintance.' he said.
'Likewise.' she said. She then ignored him and started to talk to Lily.
She went on for at least half an hour. James tried to sneak off to the buffet because he was hungry and not part of the conversation but Lily, who was hating every second that she was trapped talking to this girl she didn't know, grabbed his arm and pulled him back, much to his disappointment. The pair was relieved when she left.
'Well it was nice to see you Lily. Elvendork.' she said before she stumbled away in her too tall high heels.
Lily turned to James. 'Why?' she asked him with exhaustion.
'It's fun.' James said, knowing she was referring to his undercover name, 'I don't know anyone here. Join in.'
'They know me.' Lily pointed out.
'Then play with me.' James said, wrapping his arms around her waist and grinning, 'Elvendork. It's unisex'
Lily shook her head. 'Alright Dork.'she stressed, unfolding herself from his arms and taking his hand to lead him over to the buffet table, 'Let's go eat.'
Their path was blocked. James was extremely disappointed. The buffet table was in sight but he wasn't allowed to reach it thanks to who Lily recognised as Petunia's best friend from secondary school.
'Hello.' Lily said politely, holding James' hand tightly for she knew that he would try and make a dash for the buffet table if she didn't. They hadn't eaten today.
'Who's this?' Petunia's best friend asked, looking to James who looked back at her as if he was bored.
'Elvendork.' he sighed.
'Elvendork?' Petunia's friend said with a fake smile. 'What an unusual name.' she commented.
Lily remembered her very well now. She was one of Petunia's group of three. One was funny, Petunia was, surprisingly, the kind and smart one, and this girl was the snobbish one. She had always looked down on Lily. So Lily joined in with James just to tick her off.
'It's unisex.' she said, returning Petunia's friends fake smile. 'Dork for short.' she went on.
'Oh.' said the girl, clearly wanting to extract herself from Lily and 'the boy with the strange name' as he would become to be known through the course of the evening thanks to her. 'Well nice to see you again Lily.' she continued before wrinkling her nose saying, 'Dork.' and walking away.
Lily laughed. 'Ok that was fun.' she said to James. Her laugh caught someone's attention
'See.' James said, swinging her hand and nudging her playfully.
'Lily.' a man's voice said from behind. They both turned around.
'Hi.' Lily said, slightly meekly with a small smile. She dropped James' hand.
'Who's this?' the man asked, turning to look at James, unimpressed.
'This is…' Lily began, unable to finish. She was now nervous.
James decided to introduce himself. 'Elven-'
'Real name. Real name.' Lily said, disguising her words badly with a cough.
'Ok.' James said curiously and slowly. This was obviously an important person. He looked important in a black suit, tall and rather foreboding to James. He tried to not let it bother him and he introduced himself. 'I'm James Potter.' James said.
'Richard Evans.' Richard said before clarifying his relationship to Lily. 'Lily's father.'
'Oh.' James smiled, glancing at Lily who now smiled meekly at him and shrugged slightly. James wondered why Lily hadn't just told him that but he couldn't dwell on it for too long as he was now meeting her father. A big step for a 'casual fling'. He held his hand out and offered it to Richard Evans for a handshake. 'Please to meet you sir.' he said politely.
'I recognise you.' Richard stated. He didn't seem pleased to meet James at all. He didn't even shake his hand; just let it hover there in the space between them.
'Unfortunately I can't say the same about you.' James laughed nervously, taking his rejected hand and running it through his hair, ruffling the back up nervously. He then dropped his hand and put both of them in his pockets for something to do. This was slightly awkward.
'You are who my daughter refers to as 'arrogant toe-rag' every time she comes home.' Richard said folding his arms across his chest in an unwelcoming gesture.
'Well it's what my friends call me.' James tried to joke. That didn't go down too well. Richard still looked unimpressed by James. But James was unable to dwell on this either as someone else joined the group looking for Lily's father. She was, who James assumed to be, Lily's mother.
'Richard dear,' the woman said, touching Richard lightly on the arm, 'Petunia wants to-' she noticed Lily. 'Lily.' she said in surprise, hugging her daughter, 'Sweetheart what are you doing here?'
Yes. James was sure this was Lily's mother. She seemed more pleasant that Lily's father. Less scary.
'I couldn't miss her wedding.' Lily said, hugging her mother in return quickly before pulling away.
'I don't know if that's such a-' but again, Lily's mother didn't finish her sentence through spotting someone else. This time she spotted James. 'And who is this?' she smiled.
'Mum this is James Potter.' Lily said, her smile less meek to her mother.
'Pleased to meet you Mrs Evans.' James said politely offering his hand out to Lily's mother in a handshake, hoping that she would take it so that he wouldn't have to face the awkwardness he had had with her father. He was sure muggles shook hands.
'Please call me Heather.' Heather said, still smiling at the handsome boy Lily had brought with her. She reached out and shook his hand. His handshake was firm but gentle and he seemed kind. Richard had always said you can judge a man through his handshake. She doubted, from her husband's expression though, that he had shaken the boys hand at all. He didn't look as if he thought that.
'And just who is this boy to you Lily?' Richard demanded of his youngest daughter.
Lily retreated into herself slowly, not knowing how to answer the question. All she could think of was the conversation she and Hestia had had whilst packing their trunks the previous day. 'Well,' she began, 'he's, err, my…' she stammered on, looking at James and just thinking of their stubbornness.
But in this situation, for Lily, James wasn't stubborn. 'Boyfriend.' he said, completing Lily's sentence for her, 'I'm Lily's boyfriend.'
Lily smiled smugly at him whilst he looked at her with a fond smile and a shake of his head. She was stubborn no matter what. He liked it.
'Lily!' Heather exclaimed in shocked delight at this first for her youngest daughter, 'You didn't tell us you had a boyfriend.'
'No you didn't.' Richard stated. He wasn't delighted. He wasn't smiling. In fact, his expression caused Lily's, Heather's and James' smiles to fade also. He wasn't happy at all. His expression stayed that way, even when they were approached by the happiest girl in the room.
Newly married Petunia Dursley glided over to her parents, looking absolutely beautiful in her wedding dress. 'Mummy, Daddy.' she said sweetly with a smile on her face, 'I want- Lily.' she said, her smile dropping but only slightly. She didn't look mad. 'Hello.' she said in greeting to her little sister.
'Hi Tuney.' Lily said with a happy smile, 'You look beautiful. Congratulations.' she said sincerely.
Much to Lily's, well, everyone's surprise, Petunia beamed at her sister. 'Thank you.' she said, before turning her attention to James, 'Who's this?' she asked.
'This is Lily's boyfriend Petunia.' Heather said to Petunia who looked surprised. Her little sister had never had a boyfriend before. She knew what he would be but, it was her wedding day. She wasn't going to let anyone's abnormalities ruin that. It was the happiest day of her life.
'You're not that Snape boy.' Petunia pointed out. If Lily was to get a boyfriend, Petunia had assumed it would be him. He was clearly obsessed with her.
'No I'm not.' James said shortly with a polite smile to Petunia.
Petunia picked up on something. 'You don't like him?' she asked in more of a statement.
'Well I can't say he's my favourite person in the world.' James said, now genuinely smiling at Petunia for, as odd as it seemed, he sensed he had found some common ground with her; with Lily's sister who he had never liked the sound of. But she obviously disliked Severus Snape greatly. She and James were on the same page there.
'Mine either.' Petunia said shortly back to James with a small smile. She didn't let on how she felt about them both being there. Instead, she turned to her sister and said, 'Lily there's strawberries at the chocolate fountain.'
James turned to Lily. 'Ooh a choc-
'Not at the minute.' Lily said, cutting him off.
'Ok sorry.' James said quickly, knowing Lily wouldn't appreciate it if he ran off for a chocolate fountain and left her to deal with whatever was going on with her father alone. He was looking at James with a clear distaste.
'Thanks Tuney.' Lily said to Petunia.
'Mummy. Daddy. Pictures.' Petunia instructed quickly before turning around and leaving her family in favour of her new husband; the whale by the buffet.
'We'll be right along dear.' Heather called after her eldest child before turning back to Lily and James, thinking she may need to buffer the situation. She could tell her husband was not happy with Lily's choice of boyfriend.
'So you don't like Severus.' were the first words out of Richard's mouth, directed at James.
James saw Lily close her eyes at this topic of conversation and James had to wonder exactly what she had told her parents about this subject. He carried on politely to her father though. 'Afraid not sir.' he answered truthfully.
'Can't say he was particularly keen on you either.' Richard stated, his arms still folded, closed off from James and his daughter. He seemed cold.
'Well at least the feelings mutual.' James tried to joke again. But again, Richard wasn't laughing.
'Yes. You were quite the topic of conversation between Severus and my Lily here when he used to come round in the summer holidays.' he said.
'Why I'm flattered.' James said to Lily with a smile. She didn't smile back. She looked anxious now.
'You bullied him.' Richard stated plainly.
James looked back to Lily's dad and paused. Eventually he said, 'Well I wouldn't exactly call it bullying-'
'So you didn't hang him up on a chandelier and give everybody sticks to poke him with?' Richard cut him off, his voice booming across James' with no effort at all.
'Richard!' Heather reprimanded straight away.
'Well yes.' James admitted. He wasn't going to lie. Obviously Lily had told her parents about him but not in the most flattering light. He poorly tried to defend himself. 'But they weren't particularly long sticks. Not many people could reach him-'
Again, Richard cut him off, 'And you didn't break into his dorm at night, kidnap him-'
'-kidnaps a bit strong-'
'-strip him naked and lock him in the great hall with nothing but a towel.' Richard demanded, a vein in his forehead pulsing. He clearly did not approve of James but, from what he had heard of him, James wasn't particularly surprised.
Knowing that nothing he said or did would change Richards opinion of him today, James decided to do nothing to try and help himself. Instead he answered with honest, if slightly arrogant, replies. 'It was a good towel.' he shrugged, 'We let him keep it.'
'Then in your fourth year you didn't go on a spree enlarging people's heads, tripling Severus' head three times in size.' Richard continued on, not caring if people could hear him or what he was saying to the boy who he believed to be an unsuitable choice for his youngest daughter's first boyfriend.
'Daddy!' Lily hissed at her father. She knew James was no saint and she had told her dad these things but she had never, not in a million years, thought that he might use them against him.
'We were just trying to get his face in proportion with his nose.' James answered nonchalantly, 'It's quite big.'
'So does this mean I'm to understand that in your third year you didn't send him a bottle of shampoo every day of the year?' Richard asked James with yet another unimpressed expression.
'No I did but it was just a friendly tip.' James said, shrugging again. He didn't see that one as that bad. 'He needed to wash his hair. Still does. It's very greasy.' he went on, restraining the smirk that was sure to come out anytime soon.
Lily tried to stop her dad berating James like this. They were at Petunia's wedding after all and she would not thank her for causing a scene and stealing her thunder yet again. Petunia always said that Lily stole her thunder and overshadowed her. Lily did not want this to happen at her wedding. 'Ok.' she said to her father with begging eyes, 'Please stop this now-'
'Do you still bully him?' Richard went on, ignoring Lily.
James saw Lily's face and attempt to unwind the conversation. He took on a very reasonable tone in his voice as he said, 'Again, I don't think I would call it bullying-'
'So what would you call it?' Richard said commanding an answer.
But James couldn't give him one.
Richard continued. 'And if you suddenly decide to bully my daughter as well-'
But it was his turn to be cut off by James because, as awful as he was to Severus Snape, how anyone could think he could do anything to hurt Lily was offensive to him. 'No.' he said surely, a power behind his voice which made Richard stop. It made them all stop.
Richard looked stunned at James' sudden assertiveness. He hadn't been expecting that. Heather smiled. From this challenging response, she could tell that this boy, this handsome boy in his deep, deep grey suit, genuinely cared for her daughter. It was in his eyes too. Lily smiled at James and took his hand, oddly pleased by his defiance to her father. She liked it.
After a suitably awkward paused Heather tried to calmly draw Richard away. 'Richard I think it's time we go and get our pictures taken with Petunia and Vernon.' she said.
Richard didn't move.
'Richard!' Heather said sternly to which Richard responded too. He looked at James one more time with disdain before disappearing with his wife over to Petunia and Vernon who were having their photograph taken in the far corner of the room.
'Well that could have gone better.' James announced to Lily, looking at her, exhausted from talking with her father.
Lily smiled weakly. 'At least my mum liked you.' she said, offering some poor words of comfort.
Petunia was able to find Lily and James a couple of spare seats at table two as two of Vernon's friends hadn't been able to make it. Lily thought it was very good of her considering they had actually crashed her wedding. She didn't speak to them but, then again, Lily hadn't expected her too really. She had expected her to be angry and kick them out but she didn't. Then again, she could have just wanted to avoid a public scene which Lily was thankful for. To Lily, Petunia seemed to be happy. Not that they were there, just in general. She had just married the love of her life so it was to be expected. Lily thought it was nice. She hadn't seen her sister like that in a long time.
Lily and James enjoyed the rest of Petunia's wedding reception. James enjoyed the buffet especially when they finally found their way over to it. The sit down dinner was nice too. It was chicken. The two laughed and talked together when they were sat down at their seats and then, when James had managed to drag her up onto the dance floor, they danced together as well. Badly though. James couldn't dance. Yet he was the one who seemed to enjoy it most. Lily just laughed at him.
Lily's mother, Heather Evans, spent a lot of time with them during the reception unlike Richard Evans didn't talk to Lily or James for the rest of the evening. Heather talked incessantly to James, instantly liking him as most people did when he turned on the charm. She asked Lily and James how long they had been going out and took a real interest in their relationship which, for Lily, was a little odd. She had never had a boyfriend before James. Was your mother really meant to be that interested in what your first date was like? But she was and she thought that James was a real romantic for Lily. She told him that.
At the end of the night, when everyone had gone home and Vernon and Petunia had gone off on their honeymoon, Heather and Richard, along with the assistance of Lily and James, (much to Richards dislike), had tidied the functions room. Then the Evans family went home. James wanted to accompany Lily home to make sure she got back alright but Richard wouldn't let him in the car so Heather suggested he and Lily apparate back to theirs. Richard didn't like that idea much either. They were there by the time Richard and Heather arrived home about forty minutes later. Then they ran into a snag as James was saying goodbye to Lily. The snag came as a polite invitation from Lily's mother.
They were stood in the back hallway near the back door saying goodbye. Lily and James were next to the door as James was about to leave and Richard was stood with his arms folded watching them to make sure James did no 'funny business' with his daughter. That was when Heather just happened to walk through the hallway from the kitchen on the way to the living room. She looked at her watch and, without thinking twice said, 'James dear you're welcome to stay the night if you'd like.' to James with a kind smile.
James was about to answer, to politely decline her offer and say that he must get home when Richard jumped in.
'No he is not!' he said immediately, outraged that such a suggestion had been made by his wife.
'Richard be nice to the boy.' Heather reprimanded Richard sternly before turning back to James with that same kind smile, 'You're more than welcome James. It is late after all. You can stay in Petunias room.'
'No.' Richard jumped in again. He didn't want James under his roof for any longer than necessary. He would have words with Lily about him when he was gone.
'Richard!' Heather scolded again.
'Petunia wouldn't like it.' Richard gave as an excuse.
Then Lily, who thought her father was being deliberately awkward because he didn't like James had a suggestion. 'I'll stay in Petunias room then and James can have my bed-' Lily began but Richard cut her off, determined not to have James stay at his house.
'No.' he said.
'Richard!' The third admonishment.
'That is Lily's bed.' Richard stated, 'She, and only she, will sleep in it.'
'Richard!' Again. Heather believed he was being purposefully difficult now and there was no need for it. As determined as Richard was to get James out of the house, Heather was determined to keep him in. It was just a question of who wore the pants in the family.
'Mrs Evans it's-' James began, ready to explain to the family that he didn't need to stay, especially if it was just going to cause problems but he was cut off and instructed otherwise. An instruction which he was rather scared to disobey. And this was from the boy who went against instructions and rules just for the fun of it.
'No dear you stay.' Heather said, making it clear to everyone in the hallway that James was staying the night and that she made the rules. 'It's too late to be traveling anywhere now.'
Richard exhaled moodily and simply stated, showing his clear reluctance, 'If he stays he sleeps on the couch.' before marching off upstairs.
'Richard!' Heather called up after him with a reprimanding tone, one she had been using with him all evening since they had met James, 'Excuse me for a minute James.' she said politely to James before going up the stairs after her husband who seemed to be acting like a stroppy teenager.
There was a pause. Then Lily turned to James and said innocently, 'You have to stay now. He's given you the couch. That's as good as a blessing.'
James laughed once and looked down at her with raised eyebrows. 'Really?' he asked, not believing a word.
'No it means he doesn't like you.' Lily conceded with a small shrug of her shoulders.
James sighed and turned to Lily, tilting her chin up with his forefinger so that she was looking directly into his eyes and he hers. 'Do you want me to stay?' he asked her in all seriousness. Whatever she wanted, he would do.
'Yes.' Lily said sincerely. She really did want him to stay if not for her than as a way to prolong whatever her dad would say about him when he was gone.
James smiled a small smile at her. 'Then I'll stay.' he said, before adding, 'On the couch.' as an afterthought.
Lily grinned and stood on her tiptoes to kiss him gently. 'I'll go get you some blankets.' she said afterwards, leaving him in the hall way to go find some blankets from the airing cupboard in the utility room adjacent to the kitchen.
Heather Evans came down the stairs and told James that he was to stay the night but unfortunately he would have to take the couch which James said he didn't mind. She smiled at him and said her good nights to both Lily and James when Lily came through into the hallway carrying a small pile of blankets and couple of pillows. When Heather had gone upstairs to bed, wishing them a goodnight from Richard too which James suspected she had invented, Lily made the couch up for James which he thanked her graciously for. Then went to bed herself, and left James downstairs to settle onto the couch. He had to sleep in his suit but he didn't much mind. It was rather comfortable.
He slept for what he could only guess was a couple of hours before he heard a noise coming from the room across the hall; the kitchen. Instinctively, he went across to see what it was. He got a surprise.
'Mr Evans?' he said tiredly upon seeing him.
Richard turned around from where he was stood in the glow of the open fridge holding a nice big slab of wedding cake that he had brought home with him. He looked as if he was a deer caught in the headlights. When he saw it was James though, he just raged in a whispered explanation, 'If we weren't meant to have midnight snacks then why is there a light in the fridge?' before storming out of his kitchen and back up to his bed.
James raised his eyebrows and went back to the couch in his now crinkled suit. Maybe, he thought, I'll just keep that to myself.
Thanks for reading!