Lily sighed. Ever since she had graduated from Hogwarts six months ago, her life had gone downhill. She wasn't training to be either an Auror or a Healer, her two preferred professions. She didn't have a boyfriend because she had broken off a relationship with a truly wonderful man. And her family was dead. Her parents had been killed by Voldemort right in front of her and her only sister had disowned her after that.
Now she was a waitress in a restaurant/bar in London that her only cousin owned. Lily had worked at her cousin, Daisy's restaurant the previous two summers and now she was on full time. She also lived in the small apartment that Daisy and her husband Mike, had recently vacated to make room for their growing family.
Lily sighed again as she glanced at her watch. Her break was over and she was badly needed in the restaurant because it was a busy Friday night. So she walked back into the kitchen from the back alley and into the main dining room. She surveyed the scene and then Daisy came up to her. "Lil, table of four that needs their orders taken. Table 16."
And then Daisy was off again. Lily sighed for the third time in just a few minutes and set off to take drink orders from Table 16. Unfortunately for her, Table 16 was not just an ordinary group of young men; they were young men she knew, young men from school. For a moment Lily's heart stopped, but then she realized that they wouldn't recognize her. She had dyed her gorgeous red locks brown and had charmed her brilliant green eyes to be chocolate brown. So she took a deep breath and went over to get the orders from the four Marauders.
"Hello, my name is Meaghan and I will be taking care of you tonight," Lily said normally. "Are you ready to order drinks yet?"
The four eighteen year old boys ordered beer, Lily checked their ids, which she knew had to be fake, but she knew that they were all eighteen, so she let it slide and then left to get their drinks. Right after she left, Remus got up and said he was going to the bathroom.
Fortunately the bathrooms were very close to the kitchens, so the three Marauders still at the table didn't notice when Remus ducked, not into the bathrooms, but the kitchen. Lily was right inside the door, just leaning up against the wall and breathing deeply, as if she had just run a marathon.
"Hello Lily," said Remus casually.
Lily jumped at the sound of her own name. For the last six months she had been going by Meaghan.
"Remus," she said as she looked left and right.
"What happened to you?"
"It's a long story Remus, one I don't wish to relate."
"Alright then, Meaghan, why are you working here?"
Lily exhaled deeply and closed her eyes. "I can't tell you here, but meet me back here at eleven and I'll explain what I can, ok?"
"What about the other guys? We have all been really worried about you, especially James."
"Do they know who I am?"
"Then don't bring them. Wait a minute, how did you know?" asked Lily opening her eyes quickly.
"It was pretty obvious. You are still Lily, even if you do go by your middle name. But, don't worry, James, Sirius and Peter see what they want to see; I doubt they will catch on."
"Ok Remus, and thanks."
Then Remus left and rejoined his friends. Soon after, Meaghan gave them their drinks and they ordered their meals. As the meal progressed Meaghan began to feel more comfortable around the boys. It had become obvious that Remus was the only one who was going to discover her true identity. This was due partly to the fact that the four were a little tipsy and partly because James looked her straight in the eye and didn't say anything. Even so, Lily breathed a sigh of relief after the quartet finished their dessert, paid their bill and left. This was replaced by a gasp at the enormous tip they had left her. Did they really know who she was?
True to his word, Remus arrived back at the restaurant at eleven. She had been waiting for him, so she let him right in and took him to the kitchen and made some tea. At first no one said anything, but after Lily/ Meaghan, had sat down with the tea, she asked quietly, "How is J-J-ames?"
It was Remus's turn to sigh. "He, he's doing ok now, but you saw him tonight. Was that the James Potter you know?"
Remus was right. James was not the same man she had known six months ago. The mischievous glint in his eye had been replaced by hard-set determination and he had rarely laughed or smiled all night. He talked as if whatever he was saying was going to be his last words.
"No. But what happened?"
Remus didn't want to through a ton of guilt and blame onto Lily's shoulders, but from the way she had asked her question, he knew that she knew that she was to blame. "It really tore him up inside when you disappeared. For a while there Sirius, Peter and I were really worried. He wouldn't eat or sleep or even bathe."
Lily put her head in her hands and leaned her elbows on the table. "I know that it's all my fault Remus, but you just have to understand that what I did, I had to do."
"But why Lily? You disappeared without a trace! Even now James doesn't know if you're alive or dead or captured! He spends all of his free time trying to find out where you are!"
"Remus! You don't understand! They were going to kill him!"
"Who was going to kill whom?"
"Voldemort," whispered Lily. "He came after me. That's why I had to go into hiding. Not even Dumbledore knows where I am."
"You think impersonating a muggle will keep you safe from Voldemort? If anything it makes you more vulnerable! There is no one around to protect you or help you."
"He killed my parents in front of me Remus. I came home one night after I got home from Hogwarts. I walked into the living room and there he was. He knocked my wand out of my hand." Lily shuddered at the memory she had been repressing for the last five and a half months, but then continued. "And then he asked me to join him. I refused. Then he revealed my parents tied up. He tortured my mother. He asked again. I refused. Oh Remus, my parents thought that I was just letting them die. So then he killed my father. With one terrible spell, my father was dead. And I still wouldn't join him. So he killed my mom. Then he turned on me. I grabbed my wand and ran out. Then I apparated to a hill near my house. I saw him walk out of my house and put his mark above it. Then he destroyed it. Later, the Ministry showed up. They only found the bodies of my parents." Lily was sobbing gently into her hands now.
Remus finished the story, more for Lily than himself. "The Aurors deduced that you had been killed because your neighbors had seen you go in, but not out."
"I went out the back way," stated Lily.
"And they had seen Voldemort go out by himself. For some reason James didn't believe you had died. Neither did Dumbledore, so we all tried to hope you'd return."
Remus put a comforting arm around Lily and said gently, "Why didn't you go to James or Sirius or Peter or Alice or Fiona or me. Any of us would have helped to protect you. You would have been safe. We would have talked to the Order and Dumbledore."
"I didn't tell you the whole story. I left out the taunting portion of the evening. After my parents were, were murdered," Lily took a deep breath. "He told me that he wasn't going to kill me right then. No, he was going to go after everyone I loved."
"That's an empty threat Lily."
"No it wasn't. He had found my parents; it was only a matter of time before he found my sister and her husband and then moved onto my friends."
"But he still can go after them Lily, only now you wouldn't know."
"He thinks I'm dead. When I said I lunged for my wand, well it was then that he shot the killing curse at me. It just barely missed me, close enough to make it look real and yet I was still alive. Then he laughed and walked out. Then I left."
Remus mulled over the new information Lily had given him and pieced it together with her initial story. "What did he tell you?"
"I told me that since he was done with my parents he was going to move on to my boyfriend, James. Then after James he would kill Alice, Sirius, Fiona and you."
"What about Peter?"
Lily thought for a moment. "I don't remember hearing Peter's name, but that doesn't mean he didn't say it."
"So, what are you going to do now? James really misses you, we all miss you."
"You want me to come back," stated Lily.
"Yes, you aren't helping anyone by being a waitress and Voldemort is getting stronger. We need someone of your skill as an Auror or a Healer or and In-field Healer."
"Remus, if I go back people will get hurt! I am not going to watch you and others get killed because of me!"
"Alright Lily, it's your decision. Just know that we all miss you and James needs you."
Remus got up to go and Lily said, "Thanks for coming back Remus, but stay after from this place now, ok?"
"Sure thing Lily. Thanks for the tea."
Then Remus was gone and Lily locked up and went to her apartment. Now she was alone. Alone and in darkness. Ever since the murder of her parents, Lily had been afraid of the darkness. Her house had been dark when she entered it and the darkness had concealed her greatest fear. Every night when she got up to her apartment, she paused before turning on the light. Tonight was no worse. All of the terror she had felt the night of her parents' murder flowed through her body. She couldn't do it; she couldn't turn on the light. In the darkness she moved along the wall and into one bedroom of the two above the restaurant. She collapsed on the bed without taking off her clothes and stared out the window. Like every other night since Hogwarts, Lily looked out the window and stared at the stars, thinking of James and what he was doing at that time.