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07 June 2007 @ 12:08 am
Butterfly Seasons Chapter Eight - War Srikes Close to Home  
Title: Butterfly Seasons
Author: Laliath (aka dancinggoldfish/Irelynne/Anya)
Rating: T/M (language, thematic elements later on)
Timeframe: MWPP
Summary: Lily Evans is a prefect who happens to have a lot on her plate: her sister's getting married to a jerk, James Potter won't leave her alone, and there are way too many rumors going around. Just one of those would be bad enough, two would be hell, but three is unimaginable torture. Good thing she's capable of holding her own, and perhaps things will turn out to not be as bad as she thinks.
Disclaimer: All recognizable characters, objects, spells, places, etc. belong to JKR. I just happen to be playing in her sandbox.
Notes: Multi-chapter fic.

So I only took forever and a half, but here's Chapter Eight. Kindly remember that it hasn't been run by a beta, but feel free to offer any and all comments. The edits for chapter nine are mostly done, and I'm hoping to post it over the weekend.

Chapter 1 | Chapter 2 | Chapter 3 | Chapter 4 | Chapter 5 | Chapter 6
Chapter 7 | Chapter 8 | Chapter 9 | Chapter 10 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 12
Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | TBA

*~*~*~*


Tuesday breakfast brought with it an alarming discovery: Black and Dorcas were snogging each other’s faces off. “Merlin’s beard, you two, knock it off before you knock her nose off,” Marlene cried out in disgust, wrinkling her nose as she arched her neck, trying to see what food was on the table.

But the spectacle on the other side of the table was far too distracting, not to mention off-putting, and Lily felt the contents of her stomach try to flee. “Do you mind? Some of us were actually planning on breakfast this morning,” she pointed out.

With a loud sucking sound, Black separated himself from Dorcas. “Relax, L, we’re just engaging in some mutual affection.”

“Hold it, I think you still got some of his face stuck to you,” Lily retorted, leaning over the table to flick at her friend’s cheek. “Nope, all gone.”

“Haha, very funny, Lily,” Dorcas pouted. “You could try to be nice about it.”

“Nice about what, Dorcas?” Meg demanded. “Is this a continuation of your drunken snog or are you two in love?”

“Who’s in love?” Potter asked as he slid into the seat next to Lily, knocking her slightly off balance before he got settled. “Sorry about that,” he murmured in an aside to her.

“No problem,” she returned.

Marlene answered his question. “Apparently Black and Dorcas. You missed the face suckage earlier. There was even slobbering and visible tongue.”

Potter turned a little green. “I’m not sure I needed it described in such detail, thank you,” he said. “So this is the real deal for you, Sirius?” When his friend didn’t answer, since he’d gone back to snogging Dorcas, Potter rolled his eyes. “Oi, Sirius! Unstick your face!”

That didn’t work either, and Lily passed him her spoon. He smiled gratefully at her, then loaded a ripped off piece of toast onto it. “Three, two, one,” he whispered, before snapping the spoon. The projectile sailed through the air, and smacked against Dorcas’s cheek.

“Ow!” she cried out as she yanked herself away from Black, again with the loud sucking sound. “What the bloody hell was that?”

Potter grinned widely, opening his arms. “Just me welcoming you to the family, Meadows,” he said, leaning across the table.

She leaned back. “Welcoming me to the family? What family?”

Even Black seemed a bit uncomfortable with this, but Potter continued as if it was no matter. “You see, Sirius and I, we’re brothers. It’s only fair I welcome you appropriately.”

Black rolled his eyes. “I think you’re taking this a bit too far, James.” There was that warning growl that Lily had noticed back when they’d fought all the time.

“Not at all. If you’re in love with her – and you sly dog, you, for never so much as breathing a word – then it’s only fair that I welcome her to the family. Honestly, Sirius, don’t you agree?” Potter replied, equally cheerful.

“Oh, ignore him, and kiss me again,” Dorcas interrupted crossly. “I don’t care what he says.”

Lily’s eyebrows rose. “What the hell into her?” she whispered to Meg, sitting on her right.

“No bleeding clue,” her friend retorted. “But if it was PMS, she wouldn’t be so eager for his tongue down her throat.”

Lily snorted. “Good point that. Oh, look, the mail’s finally arrived.” There was a short period of silence that extended over all the hall as students awaited news from home, and the rest of the outside world.

A dark brown owl landed in front of her, extending its leg easily, revealing the letter that was tied to it. “I’ve got a letter from – my parents. Anyone else get mail?”

Sirius was staring at the bright red envelope that was blowing out smoke in front of him, absolute dead silent, all trace of life wiped from his face. “Fucking hell,” Potter exclaimed in a single breath. “Remus, get Sirius!” he ordered, as he snatched up the envelope and leapt from his seat. The three sprinted from the hall, Lupin dragging Black along, but they still barely managed to get through the doors before it exploded.

“USELESS BLAGGART OF A SON! GO RUNNING TO THOSE MUDBLOODS AND MUGGLE-LOVERS! YOU’LL NEVER STEP – !”

The entire table was silent as the furious female voice finally died away, most likely carried further down the hall outside the Great Hall, and out of earshot. The dead quiet made the sudden outbreak of sniggers and cruel laughter from the Slytherin table all the more startling.

Abruptly furious, Lily jumped from her seat, letter from home clenched in her fist and marched over to the table full of green and black-clad students. “You should be ashamed of yourselves!” she barked out, drawing herself up to her full height. “It’s absolutely despicable the way you lot behave! And Regulus! He’s your brother! Have you no care for him at all?”

The boy she addressed shrugged, seemingly unconcerned as he pushed long dark hair out of his face, a gesture similar to his brother’s. “Why the ruddy hell should I give a damn? He’s just Sirius.”

This new information made her draw back, but just for a second, and then her temper was once again going full throttle. “Just because your mother lacks the manners any decently brought up person should have doesn’t mean you need or should display the same behavior. You are – you entire lot,” she burst out furiously, her hand waving out to encompass the Slytherin table, “you should be ashamed of yourselves. You behave like a bunch of immature toerags and then expect respect! None of you have the emotional maturity of a two-year old!”

“That’ll do, Miss Evans,” Professor McGonagall interrupted firmly, her hand resting on her student’s shoulder as an added reminder of the need for a return to propriety. “Please return to your seat.”

Her shoulders drooping, she turned to leave, but Rosier spoke up before she got far. “Shouldn’t she be punished for her behavior? Haranguing and insulting an entire House shows bias, don’t you think?” he suggested.

McGonagall’s face was hidden from the redhead, but she could hear the ice in the Gryffindor Head’s voice just the same. “Mr. Rosier, I believe that I should not need to remind you of the despicable behavior that you and your counterparts exhibited just moments precipitating Miss Evan’s – comments. Should I take points off from each of those involving in the malicious behavior?”

“No, of course not, ma’am,” he immediately answered meekly.

McGonagall turned, an expression of satisfaction stamped across her face. “You are dismissed, Miss Evans, unless you have some reason to be standing in the middle of the Great Hall, gaping like a fish,” she said, a touch of acerbity in her voice.

Lily recollected herself. “Yes, ma’am,” she squeaked, before turning and fleeing the Hall.

*~*~*~*


To my Lily,

I am writing this because Petunia has insisted on moving up the wedding to the last week of December, between Christmas and New Year’s. She insists that she cannot wait any longer to be united with her Dursley. So now the wedding will be the 29th of December.

Now, I know I told you it was scheduled for the week after your summer hols began, but she was quite insistent, and threatened to elope if we didn’t agree. It troubles me, how desperate she is to leave her home to go live with this man – don’t roll your eyes, Lily. I know you are, and it’s very rude. Your father and I believe that he is a decent sort of fellow, and your comments and eye-rolling don’t help.

Anyway, the change of plans means that you won’t be able to have a bridesmaid’s gown made in time, since just getting Petunia’s wedding gown done in the limited time we have will be close to impossible. I promise, you and I will go shopping to find a perfect dress for you. It will be some us time. We haven’t had any us time since the beginning of last summer, and I think we’re due. You can tell me all about the boys at school and I can give you bad motherly advice.

Since you won’t be a bridesmaid during the wedding, bringing a guest along would be completely appropriate (perhaps even highly suggested) for you. Feel free to extend the invitation to anyone you want, although I do want to warn you, if he is of the male persuasion, your father will undoubtedly want a long chat with him. I do hope that you will bring one of your friends. It is likely that Petunia and Dursley’s friends will be of a similar mind as your sister and her fiancé, and I would hate for you to be bored or lonely during the wedding. Weddings are supposed to be a time for joy, a celebration!

Petunia and Dursley have already picked out their new home, and they are practically moved in. It is number four Privet Drive, in Redhill, which is in the district of Surrey, which quite unfortunately is at least forty minutes driving time away from our home. It is a sweet home, with a lovely garden in the back, and some charming rooms. Petunia and Dursley have furnished the place in a lovely manner, and I have to say that both of them fit quite well into the neighborhood. Petunia, of course, is still living at home until the wedding.


Lily giggled a little at the remark, wholly like her mother to ensure that she didn’t present her daughters in a negative light.

The wedding will be a grand affair, since Dursley has ordered that no expense shall be spared, and the women involved have taken him quite seriously. As you will not be chief bridesmaid, Dursley’s sister Marge has very kindly agreed to stand in for you. Petunia has decided that she will be married in the local church, and then the reception will be held at the De Vere Grand Hotel in town. Both Petunia and Dursley are quite determined over what they want in decorations and settings, and the wedding planner has hardly had to do a thing. Your sister is a definitely a girl who knows her own mind, that is for certain.

The invitations have all been sent out, and of course, your father felt obligated to do some grumbling over the frilliness of them. I had to remind him, “Oh, but you can only throw your eldest daughter her dream wedding once!” He just grunted and returned to his paper, but he hasn’t complained since.

I hope that everything is going well for you at school. I find it quite unfortunate that I don’t know how things are going for you, since a certain sassy miss has yet to write her mother back for her last letter. You will have to tell us more about Quidditch, and that boy, James Potter. Why in God’s name did you ask my advice if you weren’t going to let your poor mum informed about what is happening?

I will be expecting a letter shortly, missy. Come back with all sorts of wonderful magical things to show us. Your Dad and I miss you very much

Love, Mum


Lily smiled, flicked a happy tear from her eye inconspicuously as she turned back to the front of her mother’s letter to read it again.

“Letter from your folks?”

The voice startled her – she had thought she was alone in her corner of the library – and her head snapped up to see Sirius Black leaning against a bookcase, a lit cigarette in his mouth. “Don’t smoke in the library,” she said automatically.

He rolled his eyes upward but did as she asked, conjuring an ash tray, stubbing out the cigarette, and Vanishing the whole thing. “Are you going to answer my question?” he asked, nodding towards the sheets of paper she held in her hand.

“What? Oh, yeah, it’s a letter from my mum. My sister’s getting married,” Lily said, grimacing.

“I take it congratulations are not in order?” Black asked.

“You guessed right. My sister’s marrying an ignorant arse,” Lily said, dropping her letter to the table and resting her chin on her hand. “She drives me crazy.”

“That’s what siblings are for,” he replied, settling himself into the chair opposite from her.

“I suppose so. We haven’t really gotten along since I got into Hogwarts. I guess we’ve grown apart,” Lily said, her thoughts more than a little sad as she went back through her memories, back to the pre-Hogwarts days.

“Being away from home changes a person,” Black commented.

She looked up dead in the eye. “Like you?”

He shrugged. “Perhaps.”

“Are you going to tell me what happened this morning or shall I die of curiosity?” she asked bluntly.

“Well, curiosity did kill the cat,” Black pretended to muse.

Lily giggled and threw her quill at him. “Don’t be an arse, Black,” she retorted.

“It was nothing,” he finally answered with a wag of his head. “Just my mum venting off some steam.”

“It sounded like more than just some steam,” the redhead answered. “And Regulus was pretty terrible when I confronted him about it.”

“About that,” Black said, trailing off.

“What about it?”

“I don’t need you defending me,” he said with finality.

“I’m sorry, you weren’t there to defend yourself. Two of your best friends had hustled you out so you could deal with a Howler, remember?” she retorted tartly.

“Yeah, but I don’t need you fighting my battles for me. I can handle myself,” he answered firmly.

“They needed to be reminded of what manners and civility are,” Lily argued. “I was just putting them in their place.”

Black pushed himself out of the chair, paced the small space between the table and the bookcase. “I’ll say thank you for jumping in there, but I don’t want you to do it again.”

“What, worried about me?” she asked lightly.

“Yes.”

His answer surprised her. “Don’t,” she ordered. “I am more than capable of taking care of myself, and I don’t need some big, strong man to fight my fights for me.”

“Well, this big, strong man doesn’t need a slip of a bird fighting his fights for him either,” he said fiercely. “It isn’t your fight, so back off, Evans.”

“Don’t tell me what to do,” she began heatedly.

“Don’t be stupid, Evans,” he cut in. “You’re Muggleborn, smart, pretty – ”

“You think I’m pretty?” she interrupted.

He rolled his eyes. “Don’t be such a bird,” he said sardonically. “Stay on track with me here. You already piss them off by just existing; it’s sheer stupidity to shove their faces in it.”

She didn’t pretend to misunderstand what he was talking about. “If I’m a target, then why should I worry about getting into fights? They’re going to try and kill me anyway.”

“There’s no need to bump your name to the top of their list, Evans,” he said. “There’s a war coming. You know it, I know it, every single damned person in the world knows it, except for those dumb fucks over at the ministry with their heads in the ground. You’ve already had your side picked for you. Don’t let your fate be decided in the same way. Keep your profile low key.”

A chill ran down her spine. “You sound prophetic, Black,” she said quietly, looking down at the table, at the creased pieces of paper in her hand, full of her mother’s happy ramblings on her eldest daughter’s wedding and excitement over her youngest returning home soon for Christmas hols.

“I am a Black, Lily,” he answered, shoving his hands into the pockets of his trousers. “I know things.”

“Like what?” she asked. Her words might have been taken for teasing, but her manner certainly was not. She was sitting straight up, all of her energy focused on Sirius Black and what he was saying.

He looked at her, as if weighing her, then sighed and slid back into the seat across from her. “Voldemort’s supporters are preparing for war. All these attacks on Muggles and Muggleborns and Muggle lovers? They’re just practice for when the real thing starts.”

“Practice?” she parroted.

“Not everyone is proficient with Dark Arts and the Forbidden Curses,” he said grimly. “Some are just kids, barely out of Hogwarts, or not at all. This is a chance for all of them to prove their loyalty to the ‘Dark Lord’ before the war actually starts.”

A chill enveloped her insides, hardening her stomach into a block of ice. “And there’s no hope for peace before that?” she asked, examining her hands.

He let out a quiet bark of laughter. “How could that be possible? Lily, these people are bent on wiping every single Muggleborn and Muggle lover off the face of the planet. And if Muggles are killed with them, all the better in their minds. Nothing less than complete genocide would satisfy them.

“But why?” she whispered. “What did we ever do to them?”

“Lily, how old were you when you first heard the term ‘Mudblood’?” Black asked, eying her seriously.

She was quiet for a moment, then said, “I was eleven. It was the beginning of my first year at Hogwarts.”

“What could an eleven year old have done to offend – who was it?”

“I don’t remember,” she muttered, looking away.

He gave her A Look for a minute, then continued, “Like I was saying, what could an eleven year old have done that was so offensive to merit that? Absolutely nothing. These people are xenophobic, racist fools with their heads so far up their arses that all they see is brown.”

She giggled, and he grinned back at her. “People fear what they don’t understand, and for the families that have been preaching superiority of blood for centuries, the influx of Muggleborns with just as much raw talent and power confuses the hell out of them.”

“If your family is like that, why aren’t you?” she asked, regretting the question the second it was out of her mouth, sure that it would make Black close up as he had done in the past.

He was quiet for a long moment, so long that she thought he hadn’t heard her question, then he said, “I was fortunate enough to have the Sorting Hat put me in Gryffindor.” With those words, he stood up, gave a half bow to her. “I’ll let you get back to your letter.”

She watched him go, dumbfounded. How was she supposed to go back to her letter – from her Muggle mother, with thoughts of Voldemort and his followers and everything Black had told her swirling about in her head?

*~*~*~*


She was still distracted the next day when she met with Potter for Transfiguration review and couldn’t find it in her to pay attention to a single word he said.

“Evans! Oi!” he hissed at her, waving his hands in front of her face.

She jumped back, startled. “What?” she demanded, a bit irritably.

“I’ve asked you the same question three times, and all I got in response was a vacant stare off into space. Is there something else you’d rather be doing? I’m more than happy to leave the library,” he answered, his annoyance clear.

“No, I’m sorry. I’m fine. I promise I’ll pay attention now,” she said hurriedly. “What was your question?”

She did try valiantly, but it wasn’t long until her attention had wandered again, back to worrying about her family and trying to determine what she should write in her reply to her mum and wondering if she’d put her family in danger and if she should just drop out of Hogwarts so that they wouldn’t be.

“Bloody hell, Evans, if you’re not going to pay attention, then I’m not going to bother to try and teach you this,” Potter said irritably, slamming closed the book he’d been asking her questions from.

She jumped, and to her horrified surprise, felt her eyes tear up. “I’m sorry,” she said, her voice muffled as she immediately dove her head into her arms, not wanting him to see her crying. “I’m sorry,” she repeated.

Nothing happened for a long moment, then his hand was on her back, rubbing slow gentle circles over it. “It’s alright. Hell, Lily, I’m sorry for yelling at you. Just please don’t cry.”

So much for hiding it then. Lily pulled her face out of her arms. “It’s not you,” she said, sniffling. “I talked to Black and I’m worried about my family and I don’t know what to do and why are people so stupid?”

He shook his head. “I don’t know. They just are.” He hesitated, then asked, “Do you want to talk about it?”

Her head went back into her arms and she shook it slowly back and forth. “Why does everybody want to talk about it? Why doesn’t anyone do something about it?”

“It’s not that simple, Lily – ”

She cut him off. “It should be! It’s not that damned hard – and meanwhile people are out there dying!”

“What would you propose we do? Lock anyone up who spouts off anti-Muggle propaganda?” he demanded, frustrated.

Perhaps at any other moment, she would have recognized the irony of the situation: Potter trying to talk sense into her. But she was hysterical to care, and she spat, “People are dying! People like me, and my family! I don’t want anything to happen to them, but anything can while all the stupid politicians sit on their hands and blather about!”

He pulled on her arms, pulling her, and her chair, closer to her, and then she was burying her face in his shirt. “It’ll be alright, I promise, Lily-flower. Everything will be alright.”

“I’m just so scared,” she said with a low sob.

“Everyone is, Lily. There’s nothing wrong with being scared. You just can’t let it hold you back from doing something about whatever you’re scared of,” he told her soothingly.

“What can I do? I’m stuck in this stupid school, and my family’s out there, and a war’s going to come and I won’t be able to protect them,” Lily wailed.

He apparently had no answer for that, given that he didn’t say anything, just continued to make soothing sounds and rub circles across her back. “It’ll be alright. It may not look like it now, but things will turn out okay.”

Finally, she sniffled, and the waterworks began to shut off. “I’m sorry,” she began as she pulled away from him.

He cut her off with a wave of his hand. “Don’t worry about it, Lily,” he said. “What are friends for?” The last was said with his customary disarming grin.

“Apparently getting their shirts soaked while consoling hysterical females,” she tried to quip, but it fell horribly flat. “So, where were we with Transfiguration?” she said briskly.

“Lily, we don’t need to go back to studying. You’re still upset. We can just relax if you want,” he suggested hesitantly.

“I’ll be fine, Potter,” she said, trying to make her voice sound as firm as possible. “We were talking about wandwork necessary for the bigger Transfigurations.”

He looked at her, then sighed, and continued with the lesson.

*~*~*~*


The rest of the week passed by quickly. Lily tried to write a response to her mother, but either they were to frightening, and she knew, would send her mother into a dither, or they were fill of the sort of inane chirpiness she knew her mother would see through in a split second. Crumpled pieces of paper littered the floor around her bed as she sat on top of it, a pad of paper on her lap and a pen in hand.

With a frustrated groan, she threw all of it aside and pushed off the bed, pacing. “This is pathetic, I can’t even manage to write a letter to my own mother.”

“Lily, quit being so dramatic,” Marlene said sharply from her bed. “Just write the stupid thing and be done with it. You’ve been agonizing over it all week.”

“Well, I’m sorry if I don’t want to send my mother into a panic,” the redhead retorted just as sharply, glaring at her friend.

“I don’t see why you don’t just tell them,” the blonde said, examining her nails as she applied a fresh coat of pink polish.

“Maybe because I don’t want to scare them? They’re not like your parents, Marlene,” Lily snapped. “Yours can take care of themselves against Dark Wizards – they know spells and shielding magic. They probably know more about what’s going on than you do. I’m my parents only connection with the wizarding world. They know nothing of the politics it has.”

“Aren’t you always saying knowledge is power?” Marlene retorted

“Get off your damned high horse, Marlene, and face the real world.” That snapped her friend’s head up. “My parents are defenseless. There is nothing they can do to protect themselves. And because they’re parents of a Mudblood,” she spat the word with distaste, “they’re bigger targets than your parents are.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?” Marlene demanded, pushing off the bed and ignoring the knocked over bottle of nail polish.

“Your parents are purebloods; you’re descended from one of the purest lines the wizarding family has. That gives you protection, Marlene, whether you realize it or not,” Lily retorted.

“That’s bullshit! My family has been supporting pro-Muggleborn and Muggle legislation in the Ministry for ages. How can you say that they’re not targets? I’m just as scared as you, but that doesn’t mean that I’m letting it incapacitate me!” Marlene yelled.

Lily glared at her friend. “Let me spell it out for you. So far, only halfbloods and Muggleborns and Muggles have been attacked. Purebloods are safe.”

“That doesn’t mean that it’ll be like that in the future,” Marlene argued. “If He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named goes on as he has, purebloods will be on his next list of targets.”

The redhead shook her head. “Only if they’ve done something really heinous, like marry a Mudblood.” Marlene flinched at the word, and Lily’s gaze dropped to the floor. “I’m going to go get breakfast.”

“Suit yourself,” the blonde said flippantly as she turned to clean up the mess her nail polish had made.

“I will,” her friend retorted.

“Fine!” Marlene yelled over her shoulder, not even bothering to turn around.

“Fine!” Lily knew she was being childish, yelling like this, but she was just so – argh! She went down to breakfast, hoping that biscuits and porridge would make her feel better.

It wasn’t to be. Frank grabbed her when she walked past him to take her seat. “There’s an emergency prefect’s meeting after breakfast,” he told her.

“Fine, I’ll be there,” Lily snapped, still annoyed from what had happened barely five minutes earlier.

He frowned at her. “Are you alright? You look upset.”

“I’m fine, just hungry. May I get my breakfast, or does that not suit your highness?” she retorted.

His eyes flashed. “I don’t know what the hell is wrong with you, but don’t get pissy at me just because I care.”

His anger – and hurt underlying that – made her feel ashamed and she looked down at her feet. “Sorry,” she mumbled.

He let her arm go at that moment. “Apology accepted. Go get some food. I’ll see you at the meeting.”

“Yes, Mr. Head Boy, Sir,” she quipped sarcastically.

“Lily,” he warned.

“I know, I know” she said with a bit of a giggle, as her mood lightened, talking to him. “I need to grow up.”

She was still grinning a little as she took a seat next to Sirius Black further down the table. “What’s so funny?” Potter inquired, holding a pitcher of drink in the air over his glass, mid-pour.

She shook her head. “Nothing you’d be interested in,” she informed him, smiling as he reached for the plate of toast. “Pass the marmalade, will you?” she asked.

The morning mail arrived at that moment, newspapers and packages dropping down with loud thumps, landing in food and drink. Owls carrying letters landed more gracefully and extended them to their recipients. While Alice was distracted with cleaning her breakfast off her sweater, Lily filched her paper, unrolling it.

The title screamed at her: Five Muggleborns killed; 14 Muggles. She could feel the blood draining from her face, panic spreading through her gut, and she hurriedly scanned the body of the article. Eight of the dead Muggles have already been identified as the families of three Hogwarts students…Six have yet to be identified…Most tragic was the discovery of a family of three in Brighton...

The paper was thrown down, landing in her plate and knocking over her glass, but she paid it no mind.

“Lily?” someone asked as someone else reached over to snag the paper.

She didn’t answer. Instead, she sprinted from the Great Hall, hiking her robes up to her knees, and ran as fast as she could to the Owlery. Her letter was a quick scrawl across a piece of parchment, the address a little more carefully printed on the back.

Dear Mum and Dad,

Just writing to see how you all are doing. Hope all is well! School is grand but very busy.

Love, Lily


An owl was sent off into the morning, her gaze clinging to the dark speck until it disappeared.

“Lily?” Potter was standing in the entrance of the Owlery when she spun around.

“I don’t want to talk about it,” she said quickly, cutting him off before he could say anything else.

He ignored her suggestion, like he always had when he didn’t like them, and asked, “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” she replied shortly, wrapping her arms around herself and hugging tightly.

“No, you’re not,” he countered easily.

“Are you calling me a liar?” she demanded heatedly, ready to turn her fear into ire and unleash it on him.

“Yes,” he said, crossing his arms across his chest and frowning her. “If you were fine, you wouldn’t have turned white at breakfast. If you were fine, you wouldn’t have run at of the Great Hall like a banshee was on your tail. If you were fine, you wouldn’t be here, sending a letter to whoever it is you’re so panicked about.”

She stayed stubbornly silent, holding herself as closely as she could.

“Come on, Lily, what’s the matter?” he asked, a touch of impatience threading through his voice.

She didn’t answer for a long second, and he opened his mouth to say something, probably ask her again, but she cut him off with a quick shake of her head. “I’m scared,” she said simply. At his uncomprehending look, she elaborated tightly. “My family is three people living in Brighton. And no one knows who the dead Muggle family was.”

“I’m sure that your family is alright,” he said.

She nearly cracked a smile at that. “It’s not just that my family might have been attacked. There haven’t been any attacks in Brighton. Voldemort hasn’t been anywhere near there. Even if they weren’t the ones attacked, this time, they could have been.” She sighed. “It’s hard to explain.”

“He struck at your comfort zone?” Potter suggested.

She flashed him a grateful though still wane smile. “Exactly. Just like that.” Still, her stomach was a block of ice.

Potter stared at her, a grin slowly spreading across his face, crinkling his equally grinning eyes and stretching his lips wide, then reached out and grabbed her hand, pulling her towards the entrance.

“Potter!” she protested, too surprised to do anything but let him drag her wherever he intended.

“Lily.”

Frank was standing in the entrance, a hint of a frown on his face as he looked at them, and the redhead could feel her grin slipping away. Potter put himself between her and her friend, demanding belligerently, “What do you want?”

“I need to talk to Lily,” Frank said. “Prefect business.”

“She’s upset right now,” Potter said fiercely, still keeping his body between her and Frank, as if he was worried Frank might do – something?

She put a hand on Potter’s shoulder, felt him jump, slipped the other from his grasp. “I’ll be okay, now,” she told him quietly. “What do you want, Frank?” she asked.

“You not to be an emotional wreck, for one,” he said, with a touch of acerbity.

She rolled her eyes. “I’m working on it.”

He nodded. “We have a prefect meeting, remember? After breakfast? It starts in five minutes.”

“I had forgotten,” she confessed. “Thank you for reminding me.”

He shrugged. “It was no trouble for me. We should be going,” he reminded her.

She nodded, then turned to Potter, who’d been ignored for the extent of their conversation. “I really do need to go,” she said softly, looking down at her feet. “What you wanted to show me, or whatever it was, can we do it later?”

Potter nodded, not saying a word for a long moment, then asked, “Are you sure you’re alright? I think I can take him if you’d rather go lie down or something.”

She couldn’t help it; she giggled and he smiled at her. “I don’t think there’s any need for that; I do appreciate the thought though. I’ll be alright, for at least the prefect meeting.”

“Lily,” Frank called from the entrance of the Owlery, obviously impatient.

“Coming,” she tossed over her shoulder. “I’ll see you later.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” he warned her.

She was startled at his fierceness. “I’ll be alright, Potter. I promise. It was just a touch of me being silly and stupid,” she reassured him. “I’ve really got to go.”

*~*~*~*


Read and review please!
 
 
Feeling: busy
 
 
 
Anya: PP Lizzy & Darcydancinggoldfish on October 4th, 2007 02:59 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm hoping to put more up soon - I've been busy catching up with my life and getting it on track (plus reinstalling my Microsoft programs on my laptop), so things have been a little hectic, but I'm working on it! :D