Special Sound Spheres

There was dust absolutely everywhere. Harry Potter coughed and took off his glasses to wipe them on his shirt.

"How long is it since you've been up here?" he asked Remus, who was just climbing the stairs to the attic.

"Oh, years," Remus answered, "If I remember correctly, not since . . . before you were born. So, effectively, yes, seventeen years."

"It shows," grinned Harry and his new guardian chuckled.

"Well, it's my parents' house; they should have cleared the place out. You don't have to help, you know. I know kids these days have other things to do."

"Well, I don't," shrugged Harry. And it was true, Ron was on holiday in Greece, Hermione was working as a receptionist in her dad's practice and Ginny was . . . still with Dean! he reminded himself sullenly.

"So you've come to help an old man throw out his memories, very admirable," smiled Remus, rolling up his sleeves, "Right then, let's get cracking."

They'd set up a clever magical system, whereby anything they threw down the trapdoor of the attic automatically ended up in the skip sitting in the back garden.

"Lamp?" asked Harry, holding up a rather ugly beside lamb with a torn shade.

"Throw it," answered Remus, and Harry aimed for the square hole in the floor.

They worked for most of the morning, opening boxes and discovering only useless documents and forgotten furniture, until Harry was starting to wonder what he'd like to cook for lunch.

That was when he found it, a small wooden box intricately carved with a stag's head and a flowering lily. This seemed more valuable than the rest of the other stuff, maybe he should ask Remus before he went prying into it.

"What's this?" he asked curiously, holding out the box. Remus dusted off his hands on his trousers and stumbled over to where Harry was standing. As he got closer to the boy, and the thing in his hands, a frown grew on his face, as if he were trying to remember something. Then the frown vanished and was replaced with a bittersweet smile.

"I'd forgotten," he murmured.

"What is it?" asked Harry, intrigued, sensing he was in for a good story. Remus looked him in the eye and smiled wider.

"It's yours," he told Harry, "Open it."

Not waiting for any more of an excuse, Harry levered open the lid of the box and found a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with old, yellowing string. How odd, he thought, it was addressed, (Auditions, The Producer, Wizards' Wireless Network, London), but it looked as thought it had never been sent. His eyes flicked to Remus, who had sat down on one of the boxes. The old man nodded.

Harry sat down opposite Remus and set the empty box down beside him, then he pulled the old string carefully and dismantled the packaging to find . . . another box, a spherical, glass one this time, much smaller, about the size of a cricket ball, with a yellowed label that titled it, 'A Very Special Sunday'. Inside was a golden ball, with a perfectly straight hairline crack down the middle.

Harry took it out of the glass container and glanced at Remus again.

"Shall I show you how to work it?" he asked, and Harry nodded, feeling a tad stupid.

Remus took the ball from him and split it into two halves, Harry saw the inside had a covering of golden wiring, like a speaker. The hemispheres didn't break away from each other completely, but when they were pulled apart, they continued to be connected by a golden strip of metal that arced out in a curve.

Remus leaned over and fitted the hemispheres over Harry's ears, so the metal curve ran round the back of his head. Then he stood up and made for the step ladder.

Harry was just about to ask were he was going, but he jumped when he heard someone speaking who wasn't in the room. 

"Is it working?" asked a girl's voice. The voice was very familiar, Harry struggled to place it. Of course! Images of the graveyard, of a ghost of a woman, of a lake, of a decent person flashed in his mind.

"Yeah, you're fine, it's recording. It's gone blue, see?" answered the voice of a young man. And her husband . . .

"Oh yeah, I don't think I'll ever get the hang of these things." Harry's lungs tightened. He was listening to his parents' voices, not screaming, not begging for mercy, not struggling to help him escape from peril, not angry or bigheaded . . . happy . . .

"Nevermind, when they listen to it over at the Wizards' Wireless, they'll love you so much, they won't even think twice about that."

"Don't, you're embarrassing me!"

"Well, it is, after all, what I do best." Harry could hear the teasing in his voice, and had the urge to smile himself. "So, this is James Potter presenting his beautiful girlfriend, Lily Evans, who is going to sing . . ." his father sounded like a circus performer, after a pause: "What are you going to sing?" There was another pause.

"I don't know," replied his mother's voice. "What should I sing?"

"I know!" said his dad, "What about that one from Figaro's Wedding?"

"The one sang by the woman who's worried her husband's cheating on her?" asked his mother, with a lilt of teasing in her voice.

"Hmm, maybe you shouldn't do anything muggle, that would require a vigil."

"You mean a vinyl?"

"That's the one. So what's big in the wizarding world these days by way of music? What about the one that's on the Wireless now? That one about the girl that reckons her feller only loves her 'cuz she's loaded and breeds dragons for a living?"

"Have you ever noticed that these singers never have satisfactory love lives?" asked Lily, with a grin in her tone.

"It's all going to change with you," came the reply and there was the sound of the kiss. Harry closed his eyes, smiling, savouring it. He was loving his parents more and more with every sentence they uttered. "Why don't you do something of your own? They'd be even more impressed with that."

"I don't know . . ." started Lily. Come on, Harry thought pleadingly, He wanted to hear his mother sing!

"Come on," James said, "Just pretend I'm not here."

"No! I want you here! Stay!"

"OK, then pretend I'm not recording you."

"OK." Harry heard the hollow sound of something wooden being shifted, and a few mismatched notes that sounded like they were coming from a guitar. The notes grew into chords and notes in sequence, in melody. He heard her take a deep breath and start singing.

As soon as the first words had emerged, he remembered it . . . all of it . . . somehow . . . In any case, he had heard this voice before, he was sure of it, and wondered how he could have forgotten anything so beautiful.

As I sit here

Watching the world collapse

People falling through the gaps

Is it supposed to be like this, like this?

As we fight here

Saving only some

Oh, it feels like hope is gone

Is it supposed to be like this, like this?

Remember when you read those stories

When sometime it looked bad

You'd always know it would be fine

And you'd end up just glad

This sturdy, stable, real world

Is twisting, breaking, bending

It's hard to think there's gonna be

A final, happy ending

As I write this

Hearing of broken lives

Curses, hexes, deaths and knives

Is it supposed to be like this, like this?

As I hate this

Hating my family's tears

Watching their resurrected fears

Is it supposed to be like this, like this?

When I lose my faith completely

I'm about to suffocate

When I know I can do nothing

But sit here, stare and wait

It's hard to gather something

That persuades me we'll survive

When many have already died

How many left alive?

Ad I lie here

Where all civilization falls

I feel crushed between white walls

Is it supposed to be like this?

As I cry here

In a time that's thundering

I just can't help wondering

Is it supposed to be like this, like this?

"If we ever have children, I'll make you sing to them every single night until we send them off to Hogwarts."

"And I shall choose to take that as a compliment and ignore the subliminal message in that comment," Lily replied. There was a thunk of her putting down her guitar while Harry smiled. "Are you alright, James? You've gone awfully red." Harry snorted, and heard James cough.

"I'm fine, that was brilliant."

"Thank you."

There were shuffling sounds, followed by the guitar again, making terrible, drunken notes.

"Oi, gimme that back!" came Lily's voice. There was a sound of someone getting to their feet on a creaking floorboard.

"Nope, you'll have to pay a ransom."

"What?" demanded Lily. There followed many creaking floorboards and scrambling sounds. "Hey! Come back with my guitar! Come on! Gimme!"

"Not until you pay the ransom," teased James. Lily sighed.

"Which is how much?" she asked resignedly.

"Er, wait a minute, let me think . . . I reckon . . . about a zillion kisses should do the trick."

"Sod off," she laughed.

". . . To be paid over a period of as long as we both shall live . . ." continued James, a smirk tinting his words. Lily was laughing. ". . . With five hundred per cent interest per second."

"I'm changing banks," came the reply.

"You what now?" demanded a very worried sounding James.

"I wonder if Sirius does snogging loans."


Lily broke into hysterical giggles.

"Calm down, I'm only teasing, you twat."

"I'm a twat that loves you." There was a soft hiss of clothing.

"Put me down!"

"Will you marry me?" Harry laughed. He had always thought asking someone to marry you should be done with great reverence, but  his dad had asked it as if he were asking a small favour.

"You ask me that every day, James," Lily scolded, good-naturedly. "Now put me down!"

"I know," he replied, as if it were obvious to everyone. "And you always say something along the lines of 'maybe later'. So what's it gonna be?"

There was a very long silence . . . in which Harry spent most of the time chewing his lip in excitement.


There was a loud thump, and Lily's voice said, "Ow!"

"Pardon me?" asked James faintly. Lily ignored the phrase.

"You know, I don't think we should send off this Sound Sphere," she mused.

"What did you say?" asked James again, his voice so quiet, Harry could barely pick out of the words.

"What I do think we should send off," Lily continued, before the recording came to an end with a click, "Is wedding invitations."

A/N: The song is adapted from So Solid Crew's Broken Silence, originally about Gang Warfare