Oh my dear lord, I am stupid. I finished this back in early April and I forgot to post it! I am truly an idiot and I apologize for inconveniencing anybody. Anyway, this is the last chapter. Thanks to all that have stuck with me through this whole thing, and I hope you like this last chapter as much as I do!
Disclaimer: I own nothing... especially not Harry Potter
Chapter Four: A Terrible Name
I awoke in my room a few days after Sirius and Remus had visited and found that I had overslept. Scowling, I got out of bed, took my shower, and began doing laundry. I heaved up the bucket-full of clothes and carried it out into the living room.
Sitting on the floor with his legs crossed and his hair tied back out of the way, was Severus. He was concentrating and measuring some random ingredient, his cauldron strategically placed in front of him. When I entered the room, he looked up from his scales and nodded once. I placed my basket on the couch that he had his back to and began folding laundry.
"Good morning," he said cheerfully, dumping the contents of his scales into the cauldron, which hissed dangerously.
"You sound awfully chipper this morning," I mused, "Should I be afraid?"
"Possibly," he replied, stirring the contents of the cauldron with a ladle.
I held up a pair of trousers.
"Wanna help me fold laundry?" I asked hopefully.
He looked up at me from the corner of his eye, his brow raised.
I shrugged, "It was worth a try. What are you making anyway?"
Severus added a counterclockwise turn to his otherwise clockwise turns and rested the ladle on the edge of the cauldron.
"I'm not sure," he said, and I looked up in alarm, "I mean, it's supposed to be one of those things you bought yesterday, but it seems to be taking its own course."
I folded a shirt and laid it on the couch, and then put my hands on my lower back. Wow, being pregnant is not easy; I was suffering from major backaches.
"Well, just don't melt the house down," I said, going back to my laundry as if people always made unknown potions in my home.
Something hit me in the head and I spun around, a shirt still in my hand. A galleon was lying on the floor innocently, sparkling in the sun's rays. I bent over and picked it up, and then looked at Severus questioningly.
"What's this for?" I inquired, holding up the galleon.
"Another one of those things," he said, his eyes still fixed on his concoction.
"A Vanilla Chai?" I asked, "They're made by muggles."
"Oh," he said, looking crestfallen, "Well, I haven't any Muggle money,"
"It's alright," I replied, pocketing the galleon, "I've got you covered. I'll keep this galleon and buy you as many Chais as a galleon would buy – just, in muggle money."
He spared me a smile before returning to his work. I finished my household chores before dropping into Starbucks and buying a round of Chais. When I returned, Severus quickly downed the Venti Chai I had purchased and cleaned his cauldron with an extra bounce in his step. I chuckled; apparently, he wasn't used to caffeine.
Later in the day, after I had finished cleaning up my mess from lunch, which had included macaroni and cheese, which I had never been able to eat without making a mess, the doorbell rang several times in a row. Severus and I shared a look of confusion before I ran to the door, Severus close behind with his wand at the ready. I opened the door to see a large group of Order members, standing with Sirius and Remus and cheering.
"What's going on?" I asked Remus, who was also grinning, though he looked tired.
"He's gone!" Remus exclaimed.
"Who?" Severus asked, stepping into the doorway with me, "Who's gone?"
"Voldemort! Last night, we received a message from Dumbledore saying that he had discovered his whereabouts, and we launched a surprise attack!" Sirius said, pushing a bottle of gillywater into my hands and grinning broadly.
Severus and I shared a concerned look, and I knew we were thinking the same thing.
"Were there any casualties on our side?" he asked incredulously, accepting a bottle of butterbeer that someone handed him.
Sirius shook his head along with several other people.
"He was only with a handful of others, and we outnumbered them easily. A hundred to five!" said a portly man nearby.
I broke out in a smile that I was sure would knock someone over. All the pent up emotions I had held – all the fear and the anger and the hope – suddenly came fourth. I burst into tears and threw myself onto Remus, sobbing hysterically.
"Oh my god!" I choked, covering my mouth with my hands, tears falling freely down my cheeks, "I can't believe it's over!"
I kissed Remus and the Sirius on the cheek and smiled broadly.
"I love you guys so much!" I said, wiping a tear away with my finger.
Remus smiled warmly.
"Let's go and celebrate, shall we?" he said, and I looked back at Severus, who was leaning against my doorway, a small smile on his lips.
"Come on, Sev!" I exclaimed, and he shrugged and followed us.
The crowd that had gathered at the Leaky Cauldron was so large that the owner, Tom, had to do an expanding charm to fit in all the people comfortably; I don't think that he ever had such good business before. All sorts of people were there. Order members, including Albus Dumbledore himself, and anti-Voldemort people. Actually, even random civilians had come to join the celebration. Muggles walking nearby looked alarmed at all of the strange people dressed in robes running around, whooping and giving each other hugs and handshakes. I sat on a barstool between Severus and Sirius, sipping my gillywater and watching the crowd happily. Sirius was talking animatedly to Tom about the battle, helped along (and sometimes de-exaggerated) by Remus.
The smile on my face seemed to be frozen there; I was still shocked that everything was going to be alright; that I wouldn't have to lie awake in fear that Voldemort was going to find out where I was and kill me and my baby. I rested my speculatively hand on my slightly bulging abdomen and sighed in content. I took a swig of gillywater when a revelation occurred to me. James' murderer! He was dead, and avenged.
Yes, it had appeared that I had stopped thinking of Severus as my late husband's murderer. Dumbledore had been right – Severus hadn't wanted to kill James as much as he hated him, and he had suffered immensely for trying to get out of it all.
I looked over at Severus, whose bottle of butterbeer was clenched in his hand, untouched. His expression was very serious and pensive, and I wondered what he was thinking.
"A penny for your thoughts," I said to him, and he jumped, splashing his beverage onto his lap.
"What?" he asked dryly, absentmindedly siphoning the butterbeer from his robes with his wand.
"What are you thinking?" I translated.
He shook his head and tried to look as if he were enjoying himself. He took in a mouthful of his drink slowly and surveyed the crowd. I raised my eyebrows at him skeptically, and he frowned at me. He leaned over close to me so that nobody else could hear what he was saying.
"What of the Death Eaters?" He hissed angrily into my ear, "They are hungry for power. The death of their leader will only open a spot for a new one."
That was a good point. I elbowed Sirius in the ribs and he turned to me.
"What was that for?" he asked, rubbing the spot I had elbowed him.
"What did you do with all the rest of the Death Eaters?" I asked casually, with Severus listening intently over my shoulder.
Sirius gave a barking laugh and replied, "Them? We rounded them up quick enough. You see, they must have realized something was wrong, because as soon as we finished with the ones we had originally attacked, a whole mass of them apparated on the spot. We snagged them – caught them off guard."
"Excellent," Severus whispered from behind, a wicked grin flitting across his face.
Sirius eyed Severus charily for a moment. He pointed to his own eyes with his index and middle fingers, and then pointed to Severus with his index finger. He narrowed his eyes.
"I'm watching you, Snivelly," he whispered in a taunting voice, then turned back to Tom and Remus.
I turned my head slightly over my shoulder and Severus and I shared an amused expression. I turned to face him, grinning, and Severus tried to hide a smirk as he sipped his drink.
"Weirdo," Severus muttered to himself as he took another sip of his drink.
I didn't know why Severus was being so somber, but I figured that he was having a school-days relapse. He used to walk around, looking all sinister and thoughtful by himself. He wasn't much good at Quidditch or flying or anything physical, but he was so quick on his feet that it made you wonder if he practiced jumping up from a sitting position to make his reflexes stronger. And now, well, he seemed to be thinking a lot more than usual, which was saying something. Eventually, I grew tired of watching him and rose to my feet to join the festivities.
All over the bar, people stopped me to shake my hand and ask how I was feeling and to tell me what a wonderful day it was. All the while I smiled and said I was doing wonderfully and that the weather was glorious. And for once, I wasn't plastering a smile on my face – I was happy, and feeling like myself after all this time. The world was, at last, lacking fear. People kept offering to buy me drinks, which I politely refused because of my pregnancy. Nobody seemed to notice yet, which I didn't mind; they probably thought that I had just gained weight. I laughed at the prospect of this, for I exercised every day and ate relatively healthfully.
I was walking back to my barstool when Dumbledore waved me over to where he stood with Dawlish and Amelia Bones. They all shook my hand and grinned broadly, and then Dumbledore brought me over to a corner of the bar. He looked at me over his half-moon spectacles, smiling, and then spoke.
"How are you, Lily?" he asked.
I nodded my head and pursed my lips.
"Brilliant," I said cheerfully in reply.
"Good, good…" Dumbledore said, and took a sip of his beverage, "I think that it would be best for you to keep the Fidelius Charm on your house for the time being, just to be safe."
I furrowed my brows and lowered my glass. I gave a small tug on my ponytail and gave him a questioning look.
"Why, Albus?" I asked, pushing my bangs away from my eyes.
"Because," Dumbledore started, "I think that it would be best for the time being. Just as a precaution. You never know what might happen in the aftermath of Voldemort's downfall."
He merely smiled as I stared and waved a hand as he turned away.
"Good evening, Lily," he said, "And have fun."
Feeling slightly anxious, I strolled back over to my stool and sat down. Severus eyed me suspiciously.
"What was that about?" he questioned as I absently sipped my water.
I shrugged and replied, "Albus seems to think that I should keep the Fidelius on my house for the time being. Seems to think that it's a good idea. A precaution."
Severus nodded and said, "I think so, too. You never know what might happen in the aftermath of Voldemort's downfall."
I gaped at him.
"That's exactly what he said," I observed, but Severus merely shrugged.
"It's true," he responded, "You just want to live a normal life again, and believe that none of this ever happened."
He was right. I opened my mouth to retort, but I couldn't find anything to contradict him, so I scowled instead. He ogled me for a while with a hint of satisfaction before returning to his thoughts.
At probably about seven, I told Severus that I was ready to go home. He agreed and rose from his stool. I gave both Remus and Sirius a hug, and then Severus and I started for the door, pausing only for people to shake my hand and ask how I was doing. All the attention was strange – I knew that the people were all concerned for my well being (and possibly for my sanity) seeing as this was my first true public appearance since James' death. I was, contrary to popular belief, quite sane, and I was showing it rather plainly with my actions.
Finally, after what seemed like an eternity or two, Severus reached the front door and pushed it open. He walked out, not bothering to hold the door for me, and stood in the crisp, night air. I joined him on the side of the road and took a deep breath, taking a moment to relish in the fresh air.
"Bit congested in there, wasn't it?" I said as we started down the street.
Severus pulled his cloak more tightly about him and looked up at the sky.
"Quite," he replied, and we stopped walking.
"See you in a moment," Severus said with a small smirk, and then turned on his heel and disaparated with a crack.
"Yes, I suppose I will," I replied to nobody in particular, and then apparated to my Godric's Hollow home.
I had just pulled a loose shirt on to complete my pajama ensemble when the door to my bedroom burst open and Severus ran in, clutching his left forearm. I turned to face him, startled. His eyes were open wide and he had an expression on his face that I could not identify. He shoved his arm under my nose, wrist up, and I tilted my head away, surprised at his lack of secrecy.
"Look!" he said, brandishing his arm in front of my face.
"Chill!" I exclaimed, and pulled his arm down so I could look at it better.
I gave him a cold look and studied his arm, which had nothing more interesting than a freckle on his wrist.
"I don't see anything!" I said briskly, and then apprehension dawned upon me and I gasped, "Wait! Oh my –! Sev! I can't believe it!"
His dark mark, which he had worn for many years as a reminder of who controlled him, was gone. We both stared at his forearm for a moment, our mouths ajar and our expressions blank except for our wide eyes. We looked up at the same time and closed our mouths. I gave a whoop and threw myself on him in an embrace. Startled at my sudden weight, his knees buckled and he almost lost balance. He caught himself and tried to look dignified.
"Oh Sev!" I exclaimed loudly, a huge smile spreading across my face, "You're free!"
I pulled myself away from him and saw that his expression was in shocked disbelief and his eyes were glued to his forearm. He looked up at me, his dark eyes full of thought.
"It's over," he breathed, and looked back down at his arm, "I'm free."
My action-packed day had drawn to a close. Thunder boomed overhead as I lay in bed, and as tired as I was, I couldn't fall asleep. Lightning streaked across the sky and I rolled over with my back to the window, trying desperately to clear my head so that I could sleep, but my attempts were in vain. Groaning as another clap of thunder sounded and rain pelted my window, I planted my pillow over my head to stifle any thoughts. My brain was chock full with information, and I could hardly keep my eyes closed, never mind actually falling into a slumber.
Grumbling, I threw my pillow across the room and sat up. I decided that I would go into the kitchen and get myself a midnight snack; maybe some cheese and pepperoni would help to make me drowsy enough to sleep if I didn't die from terrible breath. I dragged myself out of bed and padded into the kitchen, only to find that the sliding back porch door was open. Squinting in the dark, I stepped out onto the patio and slid the door shut behind me. There I found Severus, sitting in a rocking chair under the overhang. He had a mug in his hands full of what I could tell was hot cocoa. He was staring out into the rain, into space, and didn't acknowledge my entrance. A bolt of lightening streaked across the sky, illuminating his grim, yet thoughtful, expression.
"Rain is a funny thing, isn't it?" he murmured aloud, causing me to jump, "Peculiar. Sudden. It falls hard. Ends abruptly."
"What's your problem?" I asked, taking a seat beside him in an empty chair.
He turned to face me, his expression very much like the one he used to wear as a kid.
"Problem? What problem?" He snapped, "I have no problem."
I rolled my eyes at the ceiling. What a liar.
"Yeah, and my real name is Bob. Talk to me, Sev." I said in reply.
He fumbled with his mug for a moment before speaking. When he did, his voice was so low I had to lean in to hear him.
"I just…" he mumbled, "The war is over and everything is safe again. You'll be wanting your life back."
"Ahh…" I whispered to myself, seeing the problem instantly.
I sat up in my chair and sighed. A smirk fluttered across my face as Dumbledore's words came back into my head from the other day.
"It would seem that your future child has everything but one aspect – and a rather important aspect, at that..."
I made up my mind in a millisecond. I cocked my head to the side and peered at the man sitting before me.
"You know what?" I said to him with a grin on my face, and he looked up from his mug. "You've kind of grown on me, Sev. I don't know if you should leave."
"You're bluffing," he said guardedly.
"No, I'm not." I replied, crossing my arms and looking at him seriously, "Think about it. You have nowhere to go, and let's face it, I need someone to hang around here and keep me company."
I patted my stomach and added as an afterthought, "And to keep this little guy company, when the time comes. He'll have everything he could need except for one aspect – and a rather important aspect, at that."
Severus eyed me, still uncertain.
"And what aspect would that be?"
I sighed and looked straight into his eyes as I said, "A fatherly figure."
He gave me a searching look before saying slowly, "You know, Ev – Potter, I have no romantic interest in you."
I furrowed my brows before adding defensively, "Nor do I in you, Severus, I'm just saying I could use someone around here… to help me out."
Severus looked back down at his mug and let out a long breath, his brows raised.
"I haven't a job," he said bluntly, "Nothing to bring in money."
I raised an eyebrow and replied, "I hear old Sluggy's retiring from his position at Hogwarts. They'll be needing a new potions master."
Severus stared at me, his mouth the slightest bit ajar.
"Black is going to have a field day…" he warned in a sing-song voice.
I clapped my hands together once and grinned.
"So! You're staying then?" I inquired to clarify things.
"So it would seem," Severus replied in a hard voice, reverting his eyes to my abdomen.
He nodded towards my midriff and asked, "How do you know it's a boy?"
I patted my stomach with the usual affection and grinned slyly. I looked at Severus with confidence.
"Motherly instinct," I replied, and we both stood to go to our separate sleeping quarters.
"I've got a name, too. Harry James Potter. Waddya think?" I asked as Severus reached for the sliding screen door.
A ghost of a grin flitted across his face as he slid open the door and stepped back to allow me entry to the house.
"I think that's a terrible name," he said haughtily as I stepped inside.
"Thanks a lot," I replied dryly, though I was grinning.
This was merely the beginning of a long and interesting friendship, to say the very least.
A/N: Parting is such sweet sorrow. Sorry for the wait for this last chapter. thanks to my readers!
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