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And once again...for the Hogwarts Online prompt of the day.


A New Beginning


Lily had packed and unpacked her trunk so many times Harry had to repair the hinge on the lid. It was almost like brushing her teeth, her Aunt Hermione had laughed, once in the morning and after each meal. Lily insisted that she had to have it just right so her robes wouldn't wrinkle or her inkpots leak.

To say Lily was excited finally be going to Hogwarts would be like saying the Burrow had been a quiet place, full of well mannered children who were always quiet and followed directions. Lily was beyond excited. She dreamed of being sorted, talking non-stop about what she wanted to do and what she wanted to see.

"You can't keep calling me Jay Jay." James had chided her. "Your house mates will think you're a baby."

"You can't take that old broom, it looks stupid." Al had told her when she insisted she was taking her mum's old one.

"Make sure you do all your homework, not just the easy parts." Her mother had warned with her Dad peeking around the edge of his paper.

By the time she added up all the advice from her aunts and uncles and the warnings that her cousins gave, her she was a little uncertain that they really knew what Hogwarts was all about. She knew her Aunt Hermione did. She had read all the books. Lots of times, and Lily wanted to do the same.

Hogwarts, A History, lay hidden under Lily's pillow, and although it was dog-eared and worn, it was her most precious possession. That's why she was beside herself the night she set it on fire.

"It wasn't my fault," she sniffed out, running her snotty nose and soot on her sleeve.

"And whose is in young lady?" Harry ground out.

"Al's," she sobbed, wanting to wail but knowing now was the time to show that restraint Grams was always harping about.

"Someone could have died," Ginny cried, turning her back on the smouldering ruin that had been their home and burying her head in Harry's shoulder.

"Why's it my fault?" Albus asked incredulously, hugging a broken lamp to his chest.

"Why do you have that thing?" James asked.

"I didn't know what to take."

"Idiot."

"Toe rag."

"Nargle toothed …"

"Boys," Harry snapped. "Save it for later."

"Al wouldn't do a Lumos," Lily sniffed again, louder this time and with more feeling.

"I can't use magic out of school," Albus said, toeing the ground. "Underage magic, remember?"

"That's not what you said when you used the Nox," Lily said, looking up at Harry for his approval.

"He did Dad. I heard him," James added. "I didn't know she was going to use a real candle. If I did I would have taken it away from her."

"Wait." Ginny dried her eyes on Harry's robe before letting the kids see her face. "If Al used a Nox…who used the Lumos in the first place? Someone had to turn on the lights if he put them out."

"We should go to Grams. Right, Dad?" Lily asked hopefully, tugging on Harry's sleeve.

"Lily?"

"I'm fine, Mum, really. It's just my eyebrows and those little hairs on my arm that aren't there no more."

"I meant the Lumos."

Al guffawed and earned a scowl from his father as James grabbed the lamp and transfigured into a mirror so Lily could see what was left of her hair. "It'll grow back. Right, Mum?"

"Yeah, Mum, tell him his'll grow back too and it's a good thing we weren't killed or something worse," Lily nodded furiously.

"Harry?" Ginny said, a note of pleading in her voice.

"Gin, why don't you go to the Burrow? Take James and let them know we are coming. I'll bring these two along." Harry gave her a quick hug before turning back to the children. "First though, James?"

"I didn't…" he started but cut off when he was swallowed up in his father's arms.

"Thank you," Harry said softly, stepping back and locking his eyes on his son. "If you hadn't moved so quickly we would've lost her."

"Nah, it's…"

"No, I am proud of you. You have no idea how proud." Harry felt the sting of tears before giving him a gentle push toward Ginny.

He made Albus and Lily stay with him while he answered the Ministries questions and waited until they had put the last ember out, afraid that the wind would fan it into fame again and reach the surrounding houses.

"You're sure it was an accident?" Kingsley asked, ruffling Lily's hair only to pull back his hand and stare at it then raise it to his nose and sniff his palm.

"Yeah," Harry jerked his head at the girl.

"Make sure, Potter. I would hate to think old animosities are starting up again."

"What's a animal oz thing?"

Kingsley ginned and squatted down. "Animosity…like…being bitter over something. You know about how secret we have to be? Well, sometimes no matter how hard we try, people still find us. Lily, did you see anyone around the house before this started?"

"Only that girl that Mum calls a harpy."

"Did not," Albus chimed in. "Dad, she's making it up. James sent her home hours ago."

"When was this? Was she in the house? How did she get in?" Kingsley pulled out a note pad and started scribbling as Harry put his hand on the quill and shook his head.

"Nah, they only kiss down behind the shed. Mum won't let her in the house no more," Lily offered. "Mum says she puts tattoos on people."

Albus rolled his eyes and sniggered. "Did not, she said she had designs on James, not…" He stopped suddenly snapping his head up to his fathers.

"Ohh, you tooooold. You are going to be in so much trouble…" Lily whispered, her eyes growing large. "Dad? Can I get a tattoo? I like James'. It's sooooo cute."

Harry took his glasses off and pinched the bridge of his nose. "You never had kids, did you Kingsley."

"James? Are you sure she never went inside?" Kingsley frowned down at the boy, seeing him nod and lower his head. Putting the note pad away, he turned back to Harry. "I take it you have this under control."

"Shacks, I haven't had anything under control for eleven years now."

"That's how old I am. I got my Hogwarts letter and everything," Lily tugged on Kingsley's sleeve, then stopped and sent up a wail that threatened to wake anyone that had managed to sleep through the commotion of the fire.

"Lils? Albus? Thank gods you are okay. Harry, Gin just ran into the Burrow." Arthur Weasley said in a rush, hugging Lily with one arm as he wrapped his other around Albus. "She said you guys were okay, but I had to see for myself."

"I lost my letter," Lily cried. "Every thing is ruined. My trunk and all my stuff."

"How did it start?" Arthur looked at the rubble as Albus pointed to Lily and she pointed to him.

"Lily Luna Potter, what did you do?"

"Gramps! I'm wounded. Why me?"

"History. Now how did it start?"

"Not now, Dad. Ginny is going to be worried sick if I don't get these two out to the Burrow and they need to get to bed."

"Yeah, just sleep with a bucket of water handy," Albus said with a laugh which was cut short when his father slapped the back of his head.

Later that night, rather early in the morning after the kids were all asleep and Harry had a chance to shower off the smell of smoke, he found Ginny stretched out on the grass looking up at the sky. He lay down with her, resting his head on her stomach.

"Just be glad they weren't hurt. It's not like we lost anything important," Harry sighed deeply.

"I know. I was just thinking you don't have to repair the roof now."

"What was wrong with the roof?"

"Someone nailed one of those plastic owls Muggles use to scare away snakes on the roof… only she used spikes. It was leaking."

"Only your father would have had one of those."

"Only your daughter would have nailed it up there…with spikes."

"We can make the new kitchen bigger."

"That what Mum said. Harry? What are we going to do with her?"

"Send her to Hogwarts. At least we will be safe nine months out of the year.

"Stop!" She slapped his head and pushed him away as she sat up.

"Come on, Gin. A new house, a new beginning?"

"A new baby?"

Harry looked at her stomach and swallowed hard, opening and closing his mouth with no words coming out.

"Harry?"

"Don't take this wrong. But….could we have another boy?"