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Chapter ?( What chapter are we on? Sorry, can't remember!)
Dinner was an unusually cheerful affair. Lupin, Tonks and Mr Weasley arrived home early from work, and when they were all sitting down, Fred and George apparated just outside,bringing with them their latest merchandise. Mrs Weasley rose to the affair magnificently with soup, pork chops and fire whisky trifle, and everyone talked and laughed as if they had forgotten the horrors that lay outside the door.
Hermione and Ron sat next to each other, for once talking perfectly normally, although it seemed that they were having a vicious spoon fight underneath the table. Harry sat with Ginny, watching them.
"Shame, isn't it?" She commented. "The only way they can talk is through fighting."
"All they ever do is fight." Harry muttered in between mouthfuls of potato. Ginny didn't seem to notice the bitterness of his tone, however, and laughed.
"Don't worry, Harry,"She said in a mock-reassuring tone. "Some day Ron will learn a higher means of communication."
Harry faked a laugh.
Oliver sat further down the table, eating politely, and thanking Mrs Weasley profusely. His obviously fake behaviour was starting to irritate Harry.
"Harry?" Ginny's voice floated into his brain.
Harry turned to face her. Her hair had at one point, been neatly tied back. Now it had escaped, spiralling around her face. She looked so beautiful that in that moment Harry could've hugged her, or burst into tears. Instead:
"I'm sorry." He said heavily.
"I understand."She said.There was a thick pause. "Well, no I don't, but I hardly suppose you expect me to."
She put her fork on the table.
Harry laughed weakly.
"You could say that, yeah."
Ginny looked thoughtful.She picked up her fork and twirled it in her fingers.
"It was my birthday present." He said quickly, looking as though he was examining his plate closely.
"It was..." He paused. "They were being nice,I know that, but it was like they did it on purpose..." He finished hesitantly, placing the Put Outer in her lap.
She looked at him curiously.
"It was his. Dumbledore's."
"Oh." Ginny began to examine the Put Outer in a gentle way. "It's ok, Harry. You're still going to his will opening, right?"
"Yeah."Harry sounded non-commital.
"It'll help you feel better."
"I know. It's not like I don't know he's gone, I mean, I saw him...I saw it happen. I just wish it hadn't." Harry sighed, then smiled, remembering. "Death is an adventure. He told me that once. In First Year."
Ginny smiled and placed the Put Outer back in Harry's hands...
"Hello, Potter. Welcome to my mind."
Harry couldn't see. It was dark, darkness pressing on his eyeballs, darkness so thick that he could barely breathe.
"Open your eyes, foolish boy. Come and see the nightmare..."
He could hear begging, but it was like a far off sound, an echo in time. Someone begging for their life...It was him! Harry struggled, but it was as though bonds held him.
"It'll happen. Over and Over. Nothing you can do." That voice was incredibly familiar, but Harry couldn't place it...
"Heard you got a front row seat, eh, Potter? You enjoy the show?"
"Get away from me!" Harry snarled, the voice taking him straight back to Potions."Or-"
"Or what? You should show me more respect." There was an awful pain in his neck, he felt as though he was being snapped in two...
"Get off me!"
"Dumbledore should have known. Letting a mere boy defeat the Dark Lord...How did the Minister put it? The Dark Lord found it most amusing,'Dumbledore's man, through and through'. How mistaken he was..."
"Get away from me! I hate you!"
"Words spoken by your father boy, and look what happened to him." The voice was gloating, mocking. Harry tried in desperation to open his eyes, but to no avail...
"Your mother however, she had more sense. She always stood up for me, to your brat of a father. Many a time..." It seemed that Snape was talking to himself now.
"She was amazing at potions. Slughorn said she had natural talent, he always made us partners. Of course, she was a Gryffindor..."
"I don't want your life story, Snape!" Harry spat, flailing his legs violently, but his voice came out small and insignificant. Snape wasn't listening anymore. There was light! Harry opened his eyes and breathed deeply. But-
He was in one of Snape's memories. He had to be. It was the horribly familiar potions classroom, with Slughorn beaming at the front of many students. Harry could see Snape, and his mother, at a back table. Snape was doodling in his copy of Advanced Potion Making, apparently paying no attention to what was going on around him. Harry couldn't see his father, or Sirius. However, he saw Lupin hunched in the corner, taking notes and occasionally looking over to where Snape sat. Harry longed to make Snape burn, but couldn't.
"Limpwort Root!" Lily had her hand up, waving it in the air in the manner of Hermione.
"I think you'll find it's belladonna."
"But it isn't! It's Limpwort Root, I know it!"
"Perhaps, Mr Snape, you would favour us with your opinion."
Snape glanced at Lily then said;
"Then Limpwort it is! Now today, we will be attempting the potion on page 364. If you would kindly set yourselves up..."
Lily beamed, then set out the table with a flick of her wand.
A strangely familiar looking boy raised his hand.
"Yes, Mr Longbottom, if you wish to borrow ingredients, they are in the back cupboard.Begin, please!"
Harry walked over to where his mother and Snape were talking.
"Told you it was Limpwort." She said, sticking out her tongue.
"I favoured more with the belladonna."
She flicked her hair out of her eyes and tipped a powdery substance into her cauldron.
"Then why did you say it was limpwort?"
Snape shrugged, chopping up a leaf.
"There should be more house unity. Houses should be permitted to talk to each other." Lily said, stirring the powder. It turned a blinding white, like milk.
"We aren't talking."
Lily looked annoyed.
"Then what are we doing?" She asked, prodding Snape. "If we aren't talking, maybe I should move."
"Where, next to Loopy?"He scoffed, nodding towards Lupin's corner.
"Yes. Possibly next to Remus." Lily was obviously teasing now. She waved exaggeratedly to Lupin. He waved back uncertianly."And don't call him Loopy!"
Snape spat into his cauldron.
"You didn't seem so uptight when I was calling Potty yesterday." He commented.
"Yeah well Potter's different. He's a prat and a bully with a huge head. I'm surprised he can fit through the doors into dinner with that mug!"She glanced over at the abandoned seats near Lupin. "Him and Black deserve to be isolated."
"Of course they do!" Snape muttered a swear word under his breath that plainly showed how he felt about Sirius and James.
Harry wanted to tear Snape's greasy head off his shoulders by now, but he was forced to watch.
Lily raised her hand and waved it in Slughorn's direction. He beamed and began to walk in their direction.
"Finished, have we, Lily?"
"Yes, Sir." Lily smiled, obviously proud of her work.Slughorn waved his wand, collecting a vial of her potion and pocketing it.
"Turn to page 222, I think you'll like that potion...Mr Snape? And why have you barely started?"
"Sorry Sir. No ingredients, Sir." Snape stared dully at his book."Prices have gone up, Sir."
"Back cupboard, as I have reminded you several times. Mr Weasley! I would appreciate it if you could turn around, I'm sure Miss Williams can work without continous help! Mr Longbottom, that looks excellent..." Slughorn drifted to the other side of the classroom in a puff of compliments and complaints.
"Hmm...Now this looks worthwhile."Lily had turned to the appropriate page and was grinning." ' Simple love potions..' "
"Oh Good Grief!" Snape smiled, pointing his wand at his cauldron."Well have fun. I've got more important things to do."
"What, your new book? '50 ways to plan Potter's demise,now with detailed diagrams'?"
"Leave a vial of your potions on my desk, finished or not! You are dismissed!" Slughorn waved his hand.
The students piled out of the classroom noisily, but Snape walked slowly next to Lily. Harry hated him. He hated the way Snape followed Lily like a leech.
"You, er-got any homework tonight?" Snape seemed embarrassed now. Lily turned a pinker shade but managed to look calm.
"Yeah." She held up a piece of paper. "Permission note from Slughorn, saying we can go and study in the Restricted Section."
Snape smiled, but to Harry it looked like a leer.
"Well, er-see you, Lily."
"Bye."Lily stood motionless for a moment, then recovered herself and walked up the marble staircase, her bag banging against her hips furiously at her rush to get up to the Gryffindor Common Room.
Harry stood, his mouth wide open with shock. Was that-? Was that what it thought it had been? Harry turned, and with a flash, he was back in his chair at the Burrow.
He pocketed the Put Outer and sat still, trying to think. That had looked so awfully familiar that Harry felt physically sick.
Lily and Snape had reminded him forcibly of Ron and Hermione.