LbN: Here's the first of the NSC! Hope you like the extension!!!


A very pregnant Lily Potter looked up as her husband, James, strolled into the door, sweaty from his jog.

"Did you check the post?" she asked.

"Nope!" he said cheerfully.

"Why not?" she smiled.

"Because I don't like sorting through mail," he laughed.

"Well I can't waddle out there," Lily grinned, "So you're going to have to go get it…"

"Ahhh, fine…"

When James returned with about thirty letters, he set them on the counter, and the two of them started going through all of it.

"We need to invent a charm to sort the post," James said thoughtfully.

"Tell Sirius to get on that."

"No way!" James said, shaking his head. "Not after his Galleon Flipper invention. I'll never tell him to make something again."

"Why would anyone even need a machine to do a coin toss?" Lily asked. "If he was going to set fire to his apartment, he could've done it making something useful."

There was a knock at the door, and James jumped up from the coffee table. "Speak of the devil," he said, letting Sirius into the apartment.

"Talking about me, eh?" Sirius asked with a grin. He strolled over to the parchment strewn table and cleared a small spot. He set two plastic sacks down and opened the first one. "Here you are, Lily! Chocolate-mint ice cream bars."

James laughed. "Damn! I wanted that one!"

Lily chuckled and began eating one of the bars, still looking at the post. The two friends had made a kind of game out of Lily's cravings. There was a long sheet of parchment on the bookcase that she had written a list on. Since about half of the food she wanted could only be bought at Muggle stores, James and Sirius had seen the opportunity for a competition. The foods on the list had initials by them, signifying which of the friends had found the item in question. Remus had even gotten one (Pepsi Cola) before he'd gotten his "monthly problem".

"Too bad, Prongs," Sirius said. "I brought some things from Remus' house. He's having a bad moon and doesn't want them destroyed." He pulled some robes from the other sack and handed them to James. Both men had a "Moony Drawer" in their house, so Remus could leave some of his things when he was going through his phases.

As her husband went to put the robes away, and Sirius looked through the ice box for something to eat, Lily picked up a large envelope. It had their names on it, but she didn't recognize the writing. "Sirius? Do you recognize this writing?" she asked. They'd all become a bit paranoid about the mail since someone had sent an Order member a cursed letter. They thought it was a prank, since all it had done was to singe his eyebrows. Still, the Wizarding world tended to stay clear of playing those kinds of jokes in the midst of the war. This in mind, the Order was on the lookout for patterns in bad mail.

"No," Sirius answered as James came back in. "Maybe it's adverts."

"What?" James asked.

"I found this in the pile," Lily said, holding up the envelopes. "I don't recognize the handwriting."

"Let's have it." James took the envelope and frowned at it. "Don't know. Here, I'll open it in the kitchen just in case."

He went quickly to the kitchen and the other two listened to parchment being torn. A second later, they heard him yell, "Bloody hell!"

"No! Stay here," Sirius said as Lily made to get up. He rushed into the kitchen to see James unhurt, but staring at a paper with a frightened expression. "What is it mate?"

"Look," James said, pointing to the paper. It was an old Daily Prophet clipping of his and Lily's wedding day. Their faces all had the Dark Mark burned into them, and over the picture someone had written "The Dark Lord shall triumph."

"That's sick," was all Sirius managed to say.

"What's going on, you two?" Lily called.

"Don't worry, we're fine," James said as they walked back into the living room. "We got Death Eater mail, though. I need to go see Dumbledore."

"No way, mate," Sirius said. "I'll go. You two stay here and put up protections. I'll either send you a Patronus or come back when I find out what he wants to do about this."

"Are you, Padfoot? You're marked, too."

"Marked?" Lily asked in alarm.

"I'm sure. You stay here with Lily. I'll talk to you soon." He squeezed James' shoulder and gave Lily a hug before leaving.

"What do you mean 'marked', James?" Lily asked again.

"Someone sent a picture of us with Dark Marks over our faces. I don't think that's a good sign," he said, waving his wand over the door. "There's not much use worrying too much yet. We don't know if this is a plan, or if they're just pissed at us."
"That's comforting," Lily said sarcastically.

"Listen, stay here. I'm going to put some more security charms on the windows."

Lily watched him walk into their bedroom.

He came back a moment later and sat next to her. "All done. Let's—"

He cut off as a smoky dog formed in the middle of the room. Sirius' urgent voice sounded from it. "Get out of the house, now! Dumbledore's been getting notice of these messages from other Order members, and he thinks there's going to be a mass attack. Apparate to the Hogwarts gates. McGonagall's going to meet you there and let you in."

By the time the dog disappeared, James already had his traveling cloak on and was helping Lily with hers.

"You don't think they have enough followers to do a mass attack, do you?" she asked.

"If they're only targeting Order members, they might. Plus, they don't know all of us, so they've got a smaller target group. Got your wand?"

"Yes. Let's go."

James pulled the front window's curtains aside a bit and peeked out. Scanning the street, he saw no one. "Take my arm. Keep thinking 'Hogwarts gates' in your head. As soon as we're on the porch, I'll move us."

Lily grabbed his arm and they opened walked out of the house. She locked the door quickly before they Disapparated.

When the tight pulling sensation had subsided, they were in front of their old school.

McGonagall opened the gates and beckoned them forward. "Quickly now," she said. She led them up the path, stopping once for Lily to catch her breath. When they entered the school, Albus Dumbledore was waiting for them.

"Welcome back," he said with a smile. "We've all had quite a morning. Perhaps we could hear your interesting story over lunch."

"We'd be glad to share," James said, grinning.

"You wouldn't happen to have any oranges?" Lily asked.

"I'll send a message to the house elves. I'm sure they can find something. Now, let's adjourn to the Great Hall. The windows make it rather hot in the Entrance Hall in early July."

The Potters followed their two professors into the dining hall. Even in the middle of a war that was rapidly growing closer to home, they were happy to be back at the school.


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