For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.



A/N: Chapters 1-25 have most recently been revised on 24 January 2022 to bring them in line with the prequel fic, Legacy, that I wrote after the fact.


June 14th, 1976

"It's simple, really," Lily's trying to convince him, telephone cord caught loosely around her feet. "The girls worked it out with me last week—I'm not imposing on anyone, I swear—" but it's already late night Monday as she's breaking the news, so she knows he doesn't believe her.

There's a sigh at the other end of the line. "Could you at least have let us know before boarding the train that we needn't pick you up? God—that owl you sent came in the middle of one of your mother's brunches. Dropped your letter right in Mr. Snape's salad—"

Lily sucks in a quick breath. "You had Sev's father to the house? Are you barmy?"

She's sitting on a rickety stool in the McKinnons' modest kitchen, marveling that their bought-this-morning telephone works in the house and wondering exactly when their daughter became attached at the hip to one Sirius Black—thoughts obviously far from the conversation. To be fair, Marlene's offer of room and board over the summer was generous, and she's the best person in Gryffindor to turn to for a social overhaul. However, while Lily's not in a position to be choosy, her first choice of constant summer companions wouldn't be the Gryffindor sixth year boys—a fact that Marlene seems to have disregarded.

Lily will be honest: she was really, really surprised when Marlene chased her down in the Gryffindor common room after their last O.W.L. and invited Lily to stay with her at her family's place. They've never been close, just like Lily has never been close with any of her fellow Gryffindors: she always spent too much time defending Severus to them to really form any meaningful relationships there. She knows Marlene probably just pities her, what with ending her friendship with Severus and finding that she doesn't really have anyone to replace it with, but she still kind of appreciates the way Marlene started nodding hello to her whenever they made eye contact in the common room and plopping down next to her at the Gryffindor table in the Great Hall during mealtimes, prattling away about the latest fifth year gossip that until recently always seemed to evade Lily. only hope that entrenching herself in Marlene and the Gryffindors' world won't be something she lives to regret.

"Your mother wanted to ask exactly how big this fight was between the two of you—you know how she gets." Dad's voice is tinny over the phone, but she can almost hear him shaking his head.

"It's big," Lily says shortly, uncrossing her legs (the cord still stubbornly around her ankle). "I'm not five anymore; you can't just set up a play-date and decide whom I'll be friends with."

"Have you met your mother, Lil?"

She tilts her head back in exasperation. "That's not the point. The Snapes actually came to the house? Has Eileen forgotten we're Muggles?"

Dad divulges, "Put on a fairly good show of it—you'd almost think she weren't a witch herself. Likely being polite, now that they know they won't be coming around anymore. But Lily, honey, if you've known for weeks, you've had ample time to call."

"The phones don't work at Hogwarts, Dad," Lily reminds him. "Electricity and magic aren't compatible in high quantities, remember?"

"You still could have written," he maintains, then, changing tack, adds, "Pet would have appreciated the advance notice that you're not coming to the wedding."

She groans a little, quietly: she had been hoping to avoid this particular discussion. "Dad, Tuney didn't invite me to the wedding."

Dismissively, Dad retorts, "Just because you're not in the wedding doesn't mean she doesn't want you at the wedding—"

"I see no reason why I should come to watch her lord her intolerance over me. If she'd rather have that absolute hag, Linda Baker, as her maid of honor…" she breaks off disgustedly.

"Linda's not a hag, Lily, she's a perfectly nice girl," replies Dad placidly. (Lily rolls her eyes.) "Anyway, I see no reason why you should run off to Scotland for the summer over a petty fight and a bit of offense."

She drums her fingers halfheartedly on the countertop, imagining his face—stoic but soft, with a genial smile. "My fight with Sev wasn't petty, Dad; it was a long time coming."

She hasn't told her parents what exactly she and Severus fought about, and she doesn't know if she will. It would probably help them understand better, maybe even make them feel offended by Severus's beliefs—get them to stop trying so hard to get her to make up with him—but talking about it would contradict Lily's policy of trying not to think about him, to give him any space in her life or mind, ever again. (She's failing miserably on that count, but she's convinced that if she keeps trying, he'll somehow lose his place as the most important person in Lily's world, and she'll be free to start over. Maybe if she wants it badly enough, it will happen. Maybe.)

After a pause, she continues, "Tell Mum I'll think about it, okay? It's on July—sixteenth, was it?"

"Eighteenth," he corrects, self-satisfied. "You'll be back in England by then, I hope?"

"I'll…" She tallies weeks quickly. "I don't think so, but it shouldn't matter. We have Floo powder, things like that—I'm sure I'll pop in and out of England all the time; almost everyone at Hogwarts lives there, anyway."

"All right," Dad accepts. "I still don't see why you're spending half your summer hiding at the other end of the U.K., but—"

There's a sudden crack of thunder that nearly rattles the house, and Lily hastens to hang up. "I'm in the Wizarding world, Dad, everything's globalized for us. Look, I've got to go; we're having a lightning storm. Love you."

"Bye, honey."

Lily sets the phone in its cradle and reaches down to disentangle the cord from her ankles. What Dad doesn't realize, for all his good intentions, is that she's not denying but rebuilding. People aren't supposed to alienate you just for choosing a Slytherin, and that Slytherin isn't supposed to call you a Mudblood and cut ties with you. It almost makes her regret rejecting the other Gryffindors all these years—not quite, but just enough to take Marlene up on her surprising offer to house Lily for the holidays, if only for a chance to get away from Spinner's End and maybe make up for all that lost time.

Another thunderbolt jolts her from her reverie, and she starts towards the bedroom that she's to share with Marlene for the next month and a half. Marlene is sprawled across one of the cots, reading, when Lily pushes the door open a couple centimeters and peers inside. "Hi," she says to announce her presence, sidling awkwardly into the room.

Marlene glances up. "Hey," she says lazily, turning the page. "So did your sister take the news well?"

"Honestly, I don't think she was fazed by it; it's more my mother I have to look out for," Lily admits, glancing around the bedroom. It's small but not especially cozy; the walls are covered in Quidditch posters, and she's a little nervous about sleeping in a room with so many pairs of watchful eyes. "They're not making me go home, but I might have to go to the wedding—probably not the reception, though, since Tuney won't want me around all her friends."

Marlene laughs a little under her breath. "If it's that bad, just go to spite her, Lily. I could ask Black to go with you, make a big scene. He's probably dying to get out there and spend as much time with all of us as possible now that he's run away from his parents' house—they never used to let him see us over the summers."

"I think I'll pass, but thanks for the offer," Lily declines, smiling. "I don't hate my sister that much.

Mostly, Lily just—doesn't want to be alone with Black, even if she's just "alone" with him in a room full of her family and Tuney's friends. Out of the four Gryffindor boys in her year, Pettigrew is the one she doesn't really know, Potter is the one she dislikes the most, and Lupin is the one she tolerates the best—but Black? Lily doesn't know what to make of Sirius Black.

Their relationship—or their pattern, she should say; she doesn't know if what she has with Black counts as a relationship—has been complicated ever since first year, when he caught her crying in the girls' loo and stayed with her in there until she calmed down. She's pretty sure he knows she was doing it because she was lonely, but she's never admitted this to him, and he's never asked. Almost all of her interactions with Black have involved her yelling at him when he bullied Severus or, on occasion, Lily herself—like when word leaked out to the whole school in third year that Potter fancied her, and he and Black reacted by making Lily the butt of endless jokes about being a piece of arse with a shit personality. She wasn't about to give him ammunition to use against her, and she decided quickly that she'd made the right call.

But—he's from a family of the worst kinds of purebloods there are, and every now and again, Black and Lily got shoved together into painfully sincere conversations about what it's like to love pureblood supremacists. Even though she'll never admit it to him, Black was the first person to plant doubt in Lily's mind that Severus was who she thought he was when he told Lily that Severus was calling other Muggle-borns "Mudblood" when she wasn't around. It's ironic, really—because on the rare occasions they talked about Black's family, it was Lily telling Black not to give up on his brother, that there was still hope for him, probably because at the time Lily thought there was hope for Severus, too.

According to Potter's letter to Marlene the other day, Black finally bit the bullet and ran away from home at the beginning of the summer. Marlene wouldn't tell Lily why, even though Lily's sure Potter told her, but she figures that's fair enough, after all the times she's thrown in Black's and Potter's faces that she's never going to be friends with either of them. Still, she feels a pang of something for Black—enough to make her want to avoid him even more than she already did.

Why did she agree to Marlene's offer again? Oh, right: because Black suggested that she should. God, she's going to regret this.

"So what do we have planned for tomorrow?" she asks now, unlocking her trunk and rummaging inside for pajamas.

"Staying here, I think," says Marlene. "We were going to go to Pete's, but he had to cancel last minute—he'll still be coming over with the others, but his parents had something come up and didn't want us there unsupervised."

Lily shrugs, grabbing a clean pair of pajamas and her dressing gown. "No, no, it's fine, don't worry about it," she insists distractedly, tugging open her robe. "What time will everyone be coming over?"

"Er… well, I said quarter after eleven in case you want a few hours to get ready, but knowing Jay and Black in particular, it could be anywhere from nine to noon," replies Marlene, flipping another page. "How late do you sleep in on holiday?"

"Not too late; I probably won't be up by nine, though." There's silence for a few minutes as Lily changes and Marlene makes progress on the novel, until Lily flops down on her own cot and turns on the lamp on her bedside table. "How's the book?"

"Decent," Marlene muses. "Just a romance my mum recommended—you wouldn't believe how inappropriate her tastes can get, honestly." (Lily suppresses a thought about exactly how much of those tastes Marlene inherited.)

"Sounds like my mother," Lily mutters, "but she usually passes her library stock on to Tuney. You read much?"

Marlene shrugs. "A bit. Nothing heavy." She slides in a bookmark and tosses the book onto the nightstand between them. "Think we should turn in? It's going on eleven."

"Yeah, all right," Lily consents, peeling back the covers. A moment passes; then Marlene blows out the dim candle and all is quiet.

Lily's startled when Marlene speaks, thinking she'd long ago fallen asleep. Her voice is far too soft, too—penetrating, in a way. "I know why you're here."

She pauses, waiting, but Lily is cautiously motionless, making sure to keep her breaths even. "I know Snape finally hit a nerve—why it took so long for you to ditch him is beyond me—but you need people more than people need you, and that's all right, since it's not like people hate you because of him. But look, Lily, just because you haven't gotten close to anyone for five years doesn't give you an excuse to feel above us—and I know what kind of reputation the Gryffindors have. Arrogant snobs, right?"

Lily doesn't reply, half to not discuss it and half because it's true.

"But we're not just—we've got secrets, all right? Big ones. You think you know us girls because we share a dormitory, but—I'm sure you were at least a little surprised to see this house, right? And that's just the tip of the iceberg." Marlene draws a breath, lets it out shakily. "I don't want to lecture you, so—don't be so quick to judge, yeah?"

The question is still hanging when Lily falls asleep.


It looks to be early when she wakes up—only a faint gleam of sunlight trickles in through the uncovered window, and there's a soft, constant snoring coming from something in the room. It takes a minute for her to realize that it's Marlene, as she's momentarily forgotten where she is; Lily's never spent the holidays away from home before. Shaking herself out of her reflections, she slides out of the cot and reaches into her trunk for her dressing-robe and slippers. Donning these, she leaves the room, quietly shuts the door behind her, and promptly starts singing on her way to the kitchen—it's a longtime summer-morning habit that she's never bothered to break.

The tune in her head is a recent single by the name of "Moontrimmer," popular at Hogwarts in the last month more for its beat than for its lyrics—and its wide range makes her voice crack repeatedly as she rummages through the McKinnons' pantries, looking for cereal and utensils. "I get lost in the astronomical space between you and me," she bellows as she gives up upon finding a stack of Chocolate Frogs and starting to unwrap one. "Like the shining sea, but we'll Banish the Kelpies if you'll only come Moontrimming for—POTTER!"

She's glanced over her shoulder and spotted a fairly unwelcome face. "Don't you just love The Peverells?" he asks, unbidden, from where he's leaning in the doorway.

Lily realizes that the Frog has jumped out of her hands and now is leaping, unfettered, across the counter. Recognizing her company, she scrambles to tie her dressing-robe tighter.

"God, Red, I'm not going to molest you," laughs James Potter.

"Potter," she acknowledges, blushing a little. "Wait—Red?"

"I'm trying out new nicknames. It suits you—the red hair and all, I mean," he says cheerfully.

He's dressed as an obvious pureblood, though he's taken off the school hat and exchanged black robes for midnight blue—a kind of cross between standard and dress robes, as they lack the cuffs necessary for formal occasions. He looks scattered, his hair extra messy and glasses askew, like he's stumbled out of bed too early in the morning.

She rolls her eyes. "I wasn't expecting you yet. What time is it?"

"Ten to eight," replies Potter promptly, stepping into the kitchen. "Aren't you going to get that?"

"Get wha—oh," she realizes, then turns around and grabs hold of the Chocolate Frog hopping dangerously close to the edge. "Marlene said you wouldn't be here until after eleven."

He smiles and shuts the door behind him. "Did she mention that I like to be early?" Without waiting for an answer, he adds, "The breakfast food's on the far left, if you're looking for it."

"Thanks," Lily mutters begrudgingly, reaching in for a box of "Common Welsh Greens—Your Daily Crunchy Vegetable Staple, Now With Thirty Percent More Spice!" and a bowl. "You come here often, then?"

Potter shrugs. "Every week or two since fourth year—in the summer, that is. Your first visit, I'm guessing?"

She nods, looking for milk. "Cold drinks go in the—"

"Icebox," Potter finishes for her, grinning. "Not that there's any ice in it; Cooling Charms work so much better."

"Of course," she says, more to herself than to him. "I'm so used to the refrigerator…"

"You don't get out very much, do you?" Potter interrupts as Lily finds the jug of milk. She turns around and stares; he blinks. "Just, you know, since all Wizarding houses use iceboxes instead of refrigerators. No electricity and all…"

She grabs a napkin and agrees, "Guess not."

He lets her chew in silence for a minute. "Marlene still in bed?" he asks finally, when she's already half-done.

"Yeah. How long have you been here?"

"Not too long, er…" Potter pauses to think. "Maybe ten minutes before you came in here? Wasn't too boring until then; I brought a book."

She raises her eyebrows. "Since when do you read for fun—since when you do read at all?"

His laughter fills up the tiny room. "It's Quidditch Through the Ages, not the Apocalypse." Lily tilts her head in consideration, then drains the remaining milk and crumbs and brings the bowl to the sink. When she turns to leave the kitchen, Potter's looking at her intently, his brow furrowed. "I thought you hated me, Red."

"It's Evans," she corrects softly. She lowers her eyes and gently pushes past him to the door. "I never hated you, Potter," Lily mumbles before stepping gratefully out into the hall.

And she doesn't—hate him, that is. Oh, she can't stand him—his cockiness, his popularity, the remorse he's never had for the way he's bullied Severus and sometimes Lily herself for so many years—but she doesn't hate him. To hate him, she'd have to have given a lot of thought to him, and she really never has—at least, not until this year, when he suddenly changed his mind about her aforementioned shit personality and started incessantly asking her out. Potter's propositions were always more of a nuisance and a source of confusion than anything—at least, until Severus called Lily a Mudblood and her entire world turned upside down overnight.

Now that Severus is gone and she's found herself thrust into the midst of her fellow Gryffindors, she almost wants to see where the tension between herself and Potter goes, if only because she knows Severus would have loathed to see her and Potter having anything close to a civil conversation. She wonders whether that says the most about Potter, about Severus, or about herself.

"So are we friends, then?" Potter calls after her, right on her tail.

She bursts into the living room and throws herself in an armchair, where he can't scoot in next to her. "What makes you think you know me well enough to be my friend?" she retorts, starting to get annoyed.

"I know you have Common Welsh Greens every morning because you hate vegetables but want the nutrition in them," Potter blurts out, sitting on the loveseat across from me. "I know you're probably the only student at Hogwarts who enjoys History of Magic. I know you've been friends with Snape since you were eight—"

"Don't talk to me about Snape," she spits.

Potter visibly pulls back, away from her. "I know you're here because of him," he adds softly.

Lily exhales shakily, taking a second to compose herself. "None of which you heard from me," she insists.

"Then let me get to know you."

She fidgets uncomfortably and eventually meets his eyes. "I should go get dressed."

The intensity dies down; Potter grins again. "But you're so much more attractive wearing outgrown pajamas and hair looking like—that." Lily touches her (undoubtedly frizzy) hair self-consciously; he smirks in response.

She suggests, less than threatens, that he not do anything stupid, and she all but sprints out of the living room. Retreating down the hall to Marlene's room, Lily hears Potter pick up the song in a disjointed alto: "So won't you say with me, Reducio! To the astronomical space between you and me…"

She takes as long as she reasonably can to get ready for the day. Wizarding though Potter's clothes may be, Lily opt for her more comfortable attire—jeans and an Appleby Arrows T-shirt—before painstakingly setting to work on brushing her hair. It's a lengthy task even without her purposeful lack of speed, given that it's so thick and tangled. About ten minutes into the task, Marlene stirs in her cot and promptly buries her head under the pillow.

"G'morning," Lily says, though it's less a cheery greeting than a snarl as she yanks fruitlessly at an especially stubborn knot.

Marlene rolls on her stomach. "Five more minutes, Mum," she mutters—quietly, with her mouth now pressed up against the mattress.

"That's Lily to you," Lily corrects her casually, "and you'll want to go say hello to your guests; Potter has been here already for at least half an hour."

"Half an hour?" moans Marlene half-irritably, half-incredulously. "It's got to be…"

Lily reaches around her cot for the nightstand and grabs her watch. "Half-past eight. Nearly an hour, then, and Black might have shown up in the ten minutes I've been in here, too."

"So you're hiding from Jay?" Marlene asks dully, now having resigned herself to awakening and dragging herself off the cot. "I apologize on his behalf if he said anything grossly inappropriate. Christ, I said after eleven…"

"In your defense as a hostess, you did warn me they'd probably get here early," Lily says with finality. "Hopefully you have an extra brush; I might be occupied with this one for a while."

She nods, glancing at Lily fully. "Arrows suck," she comments offhand of Lily's apparel. "Everyone knows the Magpies are the most successful team in the league."

"Not everyone takes a regional interest in supporting Scottish teams, Marlene," Lily retorts. "I thought you Scots wanted devolution, anyway, not centralization by taking over the country."


Lily shakes her head and yanks hard on the brush. "Muggle politics. I forgot for a minute that no one in the Wizarding world keeps up with it. Do you even know who the Prime Minister is?"

"Don't know, don't care," shrugs Marlene, throwing open her dresser drawer (she'd unpacked last night when Lily was on the phone with Dad). After a pause, she closes it. "On second thought, everyone coming sees me more often in PJs than not. Try to be quick, yeah? I won't abandon you with Jay again, I swear."

"Yeah, all right," Lily agrees over her shoulder as Marlene leaves the room with a little wave.

After another fifteen minutes of battle with the brush, Lily gives it up, not wanting to keep Marlene waiting (however much she may want to avoid Potter), and takes it with her back into the living room. Black is here by now, though she can hardly see him from the other side of the Daily Prophet he has open, and another one of those inexplicable pangs of something goes through her. Lily skims the headline with dread: "MINISTRY REPORTS DEATHS OF ANOTHER THREE MUGGLE-BORNS."

"Voldemort again?" she asks, curling up in the same armchair, patterned-pink and overstuffed, as before. She would dread the answer if it weren't so inevitable.

Black nods, not looking up. "Morning, Evans," he greets gruffly, flipping the page.

"Red," acknowledges Potter simultaneously.

"Evans," she tells him in vain. From her seat next to Black on the couch, Marlene dismally fails to pass off her laugh as a cough.

Surprisingly, it's nice, just sitting. Students don't leave their dormitories at Hogwarts without dressing for school first, so the casualness of the day sets a more comfortable, less avoid-Gryffindor-housemates-at-all-costs atmosphere—even if she is in the room with Potter and Black. Potter keeps watching her out the corner of his eye, though, so Lily eventually breaks the silence to ask Marlene, "Anyone else coming?"

"You're morphing into quite the social butterfly there, Red," comments Potter unnecessarily.

Warningly, Lily spits out her surname again. Black promptly sneezes all over the Prophet.

This time not bothering to keep her laughter to herself, Marlene replies, "Lupe and Pett, plus Mary if she can find a way to come out."

She's referring to Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, and Mary Macdonald, all Gryffindors. "Why wouldn't she be able to?" Lily asks distantly.

"Doesn't live near enough to anyone hooked up to the Floo Network," says Marlene, passing Black a box of tissues to clear his mucus off the paper.

Lily nods, pursing her lips. "It'll probably be another couple hours before Lupin and Pettigrew arrive, then."

"Mmh," mumbles Marlene, glancing over Black's shoulder at the paper that he's now resumed reading.

"So it's just us for now?" Lily presses, borderline desperate.

"Mmh," she repeats.

Potter looks entirely too thrilled about this; Black (and Marlene, for that matter) remains unresponsive, engrossed in the Prophet. Sighing, Lily draws her knees together and braces herself for a longer morning than she had hoped for.

Gradually, the others trickle in. Pettigrew Flooes in around ten, a little before Marlene's family starts to come out of the woodwork. By the time Lupin appears in the hearth, the little house is bursting at its seams: besides him and the five of them, Marlene's—count them—parents and four siblings are crammed together in the kitchen across the hall.

"Bit loud in here," is Lupin's first comment as he stumbles out of the fire. "I was going to suggest turning on the WWN, but that might not be the best idea…"

He is welcomed by a chorus of greetings and mixed reactions to the idea, culminating in Marlene darting into the kitchen and turning on the Wizarding Wireless Network full-volume. Black and Potter cheer, while the rest of them grumble to themselves.

"Fancy seeing you here, Lily," Lupin says to Lily after the chaos has somewhat dissipated. "Did Marlene drag you in here without telling you about James first?"

She blushes faintly. "Staying here for most of the summer, actually."

"We'll all be seeing a lot more of you, then?" continues Lupin, the corners of his mouth twitching slightly upward—probably at the notion of keeping Lily Evans in close proximity to him and his mates for a month and a half.

Marlene answers before Lily has the chance. "I'll see to it that you will," she cuts in with a self-satisfied smirk. "Budge up, Black, don't leave Lupe just standing there…"

"But it's so much healthier for him to be on his feet," Potter comments, looking a little squashed himself with Pettigrew on the loveseat. Lupin rolls his eyes and perches gingerly on the edge of the couch.

It's a bit slow going, since Lily doesn't really fit into their long-established group dynamic. She catches Pettigrew's occasional empathetic look—she doesn't mind it, as he looks to be just as out-of-place as she is. When Black decides a while later that it's time for lunch and everyone parades into the already overcrowded kitchen, she sees Pettigrew fighting his way towards her, but Lupin beats him to the punch.

"You look a little lost," he provides, falling into step beside her.

She smiles weakly. "Your lot is a handful," she agrees, understating. "And I don't even really know Marlene much."

"Need a diversion to get some fresh air?" Lily blinks uncomprehendingly back at him; he chuckles. "With a prank, I mean. God, and to think that they didn't make you prefect, not even recognizing a scheme when you're invited to help with one…"

"Think I'll pass on the diversion—I don't want to be rude to Marlene—but thanks for the offer," she declines awkwardly.

Lupin shakes his head. "I'm still getting you out on the patio for lunch. I'm getting a little claustrophobic myself, and that takes a lot for me."

"Whatever you say…"

"So passive. Come on, let's go outdoors," mutters Lupin, mostly to himself, but he turns to Lily and grins nonetheless.

He opens the sliding door leading out to the deck, and she follows him outside, two of Mrs. McKinnon's sandwiches in tow. The house may be small, but the neighborhood is cozy, the yard richly floral. There's no more than a couple meters between any of the trees, and the patch of garden on the side of the house is spilling out of its picket fence. "Nice out here," she remarks.

"Mum's big on nature," interjects Marlene unexpectedly; Lily glances back toward the house and realizes that Marlene's come out with them—she seems to have spilled out of the overflowing kitchen. Marlene adds over her shoulder to Potter, who's trying to follow her out, "Stay inside, Jay, you look far too conspicuous to be out here." To Lily and the others: "Muggle neighborhood. Keep it in mind while you're outdoors."

"Let me guess: Potter's recent nickname fascination was inspired by you," Lily suggests to her.

Lupin's forehead creases in confusion. "What—"

"Red," she intones darkly, glaring in the direction of the house.

Marlene laughs. "He's been calling her Red all day," she informs Lupin. "For all our sakes, I'm going to hope it's just a phase."

Lily continues to seethe, tearing through her sandwich. "Reckon you passed all your O.W.L.s?" asks Lupin, lowering his voice.

"Hopefully," says Marlene nervously, through a mouthful of cheese and lettuce. "I know I bombed History of Magic and Arithmancy—why I ever let Alice talk me into Arithmancy is beyond me—but as long as I survived Herbology, I'll be all right."

"I love Arithmancy," Lily pipes up, unbidden. Marlene rolls her eyes. "You want to be an Auror, right?"

"Mmh," confirms Marlene. "I need five N.E.W.T.s—I'm doing the core classes. You?"

"I want to get in the Department of International Magical Cooperation—but just in case, I want to have a solid background in more than the requirements."

Marlene shrugs noncommittally—she's never been too interested in Lily's History of Magic line of study. "And Lupe?"

They both turn expectantly to Lupin, who blanches. "I'm—not sure yet," he admits; the girls let him leave it at that.

Lily's mind is stuck on Marlene's choice in occupation—and the implications thereof. "So Lupin—"

"You can call me Remus, Lily; Lupin is far too stuffy."

"Or Lupe," puts in Marlene thickly (she's chewing again).

"Or Rem," Lupin concludes triumphantly.

Lily smiles, even though it's hard to think of him as anything but Lupin. "Remus, then—did you read about the latest killings?"

Lupin darkens. "You'd have to live in a hole not to; it's all anyone talks about these days," he says grimly. "The Muggles are baffled; wizards don't officially exist in their world, you know. Even Muggle-borns—wiped right out of the government records once they're enrolled in Hogwarts."

"You have any Muggle ancestry?"

"My mother," he affirms. "Dad's worried sick about her, and it gets scarier every day…"

He breaks off, touches a hand to his forehead, and finishes off his sandwich. Marlene, too, has gone quiet, tracing along the rim of her plate. For only a moment, Lily reflects on what they're starting to call war—but it reminds her too much that she should have stayed home, so she quickly tosses her napkin on her plate and heads back inside.

The song from earlier—"Moontrimmer"—is playing on the WWN again when she enters the kitchen. Potter catches her eye, and to her surprise, she doesn't feel the urge to call him out on his immaturity when he yanks Black out of his chair and starts to dance, sneaking glances at Lily all the while.