His Greatest Wish by AndromedaMarine
A/N: To guest reviewer Reader AZ: You were right, and thank you for the catch. That Andromeda is Sirius's cousin makes Nymphadora Sirius's first cousin once removed. It has been fixed. But according to the Harry Potter Lexicon, Tonks was a seventh year Hufflepuff when Harry started his first year.
A/N2: To guest reviewer Kaaaaaa: There is zero slash in this fic. Zero. Sirius is dating a Ravenclaw, and Remus is waiting for Tonks. Consider theirs a bromance.
A/N3: I don't think I've ever had a third Author's Note before beginning a chapter, but this one is well deserved. This is the first new chapter since October 2012, and this is for ten distinct reasons. 1. I became insanely busy with school during both the fall and spring semesters (and at one point during the spring term I had three simultaneous group projects, so you can imagine how taxed I was for time) and this semester is actually my most intense because of several extracurriculars; 2. My Christmas vacation consisted of me spoiling my new niece, who was just barely over three months old and who, quite frankly, was/is more important than this behemoth of a brainchild; 3. Personal relationship problems sprung up (and persisted) which robbed me of both time and emotional energy to devote to this romantic story; 4. I became thoroughly entrenched in the Sherlock and Doctor Who fandoms after my nerdtastic cousin introduced me to it at the beginning of the spring semester at my university; 5. I hit huge roadblocks with HGW and decided to dedicate what little time I had for writing to working out my platonic Johnlock fascination and subsequently entrenched myself further in Moffat/Gatiss madness; 6. The aforementioned personal relationship problems culminated in the end of the relationship, which further robbed me of emotional energy; 7. LoveSnilyAlways requested I look over and possibly beta her own Severus/Lily story, which I accepted under terms that it would be placed as second priority to this story; 8. I took a summer job working for a moving company and so real life bit me in the arse again with respect to how much free time I possess; 9. My former creative writing instructor from high school bestowed upon me the enviable task of critiquing the rough drafts of the first installment of her post-apocalyptic trilogy, which bears a slight amount of priority over this because hers is original, fantastic, and she's on a schedule; and 10. My little sister is at fault for introducing me to Hank & John Green, the YouTube Vlogbrothers, who turned me into a Nerdfighter from video one and is responsible for at least part of my delay. I am deeply appreciative if you have read this far into this author's note, and I deeply apologize for how long it has taken to fight through the trenches of writer's block and get this up on here. I cannot promise a faster update speed after this due to reasons 4 through 9 (not including 6 or 8)—and I'm incredibly sorry if you have to wait another 11 months before 38 makes it to your inboxes. So, without further ado—I give you chapter thirty-seven.
The entire school (third year and above) was looking forward to the Valentine's Day Hogsmeade weekend, but the Circle of Seven had been distracted with their efforts to learn more about the Anti-Werewolf laws already in place and propose what to do about them. But one evening while in the library, Frank finally sat back in his chair with a sigh and said, "One of us might as well go into law or something. That's what it'll take to get all these righted. We can't do much from a library."
"No," Sirius grumbled and tossed a tome back onto the table, "we can't. And it's pissing me off."
"Dumbledore must be doing something, though; nothing about that hag has been in the papers for a couple weeks." Regulus looked around at the other seven students.
Remus spoke up. "I think we've been focusing on this for too long…we do have O.W.L.s coming up…not to mention Hogsmeade is next Saturday...not that I'll be able to go." Full moon was the day after Valentine's Day and though he had the Wolfsbane potion, the lycanthropy curse still robbed him of strength the day leading up to his transformation. He stood up and stretched. "I'm going to go to bed." He yawned, and gathered up his things. "We all should be studying for the O.W.L.s anyways, except for Reg."
Regulus rolled his eyes. "Doesn't mean I don't have exams too…yours are just harder. Besides, with Sev's training I can do almost everything you seven can."
"You can do fifth year stuff better than me," Peter said gloomily.
"Oh, cheer up Pete," Lily offered, "you'll do just fine in the O.W.L.s. If anyone should worry, it's Cordon. He wasn't too determined to begin with at his studies…and now he keeps getting distracted by owling Tuney all the time."
Alice leaned forward and rested her chin in her hands, sighing. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if they got married?"
Sev snorted, and his attempt at passing it off as a cough failed. "You're so…overly romantic, Alice," he said when she lifted an eyebrow at him. Lily did her best to pretend renewed interest in the book in front of her, her lips tight in an effort not to grin. Sev noticed but kept a straight face. "Is everything about who's going to get married?"
Alice reddened, obviously not wanting to make Frank uncomfortable, even though Frank had just started to dig in his bag for nothing in particular. "Well, no, obviously, but it's a big part….of…life," she finished lamely.
Remus rolled his eyes and left.
"Just…don't go playing matchmaker," Sev whispered to Alice once Remus had disappeared, and jerked his head in the direction of the library exit. "It'll be plenty hard getting him to trust someone enough to tell her about his 'furry little problem.' But if it didn't work out she'd be able to destroy him."
Alice stared at Sev in shock. "I—I would never—Remus isn't even dangerous!"
Sev's face darkened. "Did you learn nothing in third year defense? He is incredibly dangerous. Remus is fortunate to have the potion, and he is diligent enough with it that he is no longer a threat. But without it…everyone in Hogwarts and Hogsmeade would be at risk. Don't say he isn't dangerous. If he ever, ever, went a moon without it, no one would be able to control him. Not even me."
Alice looked down at her hands. "You knew what I meant, Severus. I just want everyone to be happy…especially Remus."
The tendrils from Lily's pendant reached into his chest. "I know. Just…use some judgment in who you try to set up."
Lily laid a hand on Sev's arm and pulled him towards her. She whispered in his ear as Alice went back to her books. "You didn't have to be so mean. Every girl dreams about who she'll marry. She just feels sorry for Rem."
"She shouldn't," Sev replied, equally as quiet.
"What did you tell him?"
"Later, Lily, not here."
When everyone was finally back in the common room, Lily pulled Sev into a secluded corner and stared at him pointedly.
"I told him everything," he said softly.
Lily's eyes widened. "Everything? Like everything you told me?"
Sev nodded, and glanced around the common room before continuing. "The stuff that's happening with Umbridge…it was time he knew what we're up against. Out of everyone…I trust you and him the most."
Lily started to reply, but the portrait burst open and Mary MacDonald came in with Tess Worthington at her side. They were chatting loudly, and suddenly James Potter leapt from his armchair beside the fire and called out, "MacDonald!"
Mary looked at him and the blush creeping up her neck was evident to everyone observing the scene. "Yes, James?" she asked, pretending to be shy, giggling behind one hand.
Lily rolled her eyes.
"Would you fancy going to Hogsmeade with me next weekend? For Valentine's Day?"
If Mary's face had been pink before, it turned beet red in a split second. "Of—of course I will!"
A huge grin split over James's features, and he bounded across the room to awkwardly land in front of Mary and take her hands in his.
Lily couldn't help but turn into Sev's chest and let out a snort of laughter. "It's about bloody time he found someone else to moon over," she managed to whisper in between laughs. When she looked up into her best friend's eyes she smiled. She saw his love for her simply emanating from the dark hazel and felt it in the way he held her against him. "Sev?"
"I love you."
Severus Prince kissed Lily Evans' forehead. "I love you too. What do you say we grab our Transfiguration books and practice up in my room?" Neither needed to study for the Potions exam the next day, since they could both do nearly every recipe which could possibly be on the test with their eyes closed.
Lily glanced back towards the main of the common room to where James and Mary were now sitting on the loveseat in front of the fire, his arm around her and her head resting on his skinny shoulder. Sirius and Remus had disappeared, probably putting their things away so they could come back down and mock the two students to the entertainment of others. Peter was sitting with Frank and Alice with their books and notes spread out across one of the tables, as they were trying to help him beef up his knowledge for the upcoming tests that professors had warned them about (especially the aforementioned approaching Potions nightmare), and Regulus was down in the Slytherin common room.
"Let's go," Lily replied, and grabbed his hand.
The week passed extremely slowly for James. He'd been so nervous about asking Mary MacDonald out on a date, which was compounded when the infernal Circle of Seven passed through the portrait with Severus and Lily practically clinging to each other. It wasn't that he no longer liked Lily Evans, he did...but after the fiasco the previous Valentine's Day, he wanted to stay as far away as possible so Severus and Lily would think he would forever leave them be. But James wasn't a quitter.
Mary was a pretty girl. There was no doubt about that, since she'd left a trail of heartbroken boys a mile long since she was almost fourteen. She wasn't the smartest witch in Hogwarts, nowhere near as smart as Lily, and James had always known he wanted to marry a smart witch. He'd spent the past year focusing on school and it had paid off...just not in the way he had hoped for.
It was late Wednesday night. James had given the Prewetts pointed looks that meant they should leave him alone, and when he sat by the fire with the intent of taking another look at his Potions notes, Mary sat down next to him.
"Hi there handsome," she said with a voice James had heard used on other poor unfortunate boys. When he looked up from his notes he saw Mary with her hair out of the bun it had been in earlier and a halo of light around her head.
"You don't look too bad yourself," James replied, turning on the charm. "In fact, I don't think I've ever seen someone as pretty as you are right now."
He saw a pink tinge spread across her prominent cheeks and knew that he had her. He wasn't a toerag like Lily thought. He was a nice guy. But he was only in the latter end of fifteen and he could afford to get away with a little arrogance when it came to girls.
Mary was the first girl he'd even considered asking out since his failure with Lily. James's father, Henry Potter, had told him over the Christmas Break that he and his mother expected him to marry a girl who would make them proud. James knew that Mary did not fit that description. But Lily did.
Mary's gaze wandered slowly, her eyes never leaving some part of his body. "You sure you want to wait till Valentine's to kiss me, James?"
"Maybe I want to surprise you," he replied, letting the leaf of parchment flutter to the floor before he tucked a stray lock of hair behind her ear and leaned in. She seemed short of breath, and to tease her even further, all James did was plant a soft kiss on her forehead. "Go to bed, Mary. We've got an exam tomorrow and I still need to study."
Looking simultaneously disappointed and thrilled, (no boy had ever kissed her on the forehead before), she gave him a sweet smile and licked her lips at him before swishing around to ascend the girls' staircase.
The Thursday exam went swimmingly for everyone except perhaps Peter, whose usual dreadfulness when it came to Potions compounded when Slughorn decided to spend half the examination period hovering between Pete's desk and the one which Lily and Severus shared. It did him no good either, when Lily and Severus finished the test fifteen minutes before everyone else, and elected to remain afterwards to do some of their own brewing for practice before the upcoming O.W.L.s.
James lingered momentarily by the door after everyone exited the now-hazy dungeon, his eyes passing over Severus to fall on Lily's cascading red hair. He stared for a beat before hitching his bag more securely over his shoulder and flashing a quick smile to the professor as he turned on his heel to leave.
When Slughorn retreated into his office, Severus flicked his gaze back at the door before saying to Lily, "What did Potter want before he left? He kind of just stood there for a few seconds like he'd forgotten something." He pulled a flagon of Horklump juice towards him and carefully poured out one pint.
Lily shrugged. "Not sure. I know Mary came to bed really late last night, close to one, but she didn't say anything or be loud on purpose to get Tess or Alice or me to ask her what happened with James."
Sev glanced over at her before tipping the Horklump into the cauldron. A red sheen rose from the surface of the bubbling liquid and he took care not to breathe it in. "Well, I didn't even hear Potter come up because I was busy being asleep—what were you doing up so late anyways that you know what time Mary waltzed in?"
"Oh come on, you know I can't sleep on exam nights. I'm always staying up to make sure I know everything."
"Touché," he replied.
"It's been odd, though," Lily continued as she counted the Chizpurfle fangs and set them aside to be added later. "Have you even seen James flirting with Mary before yesterday?"
Sev paused in his motion towards the unicorn horn, thinking. "No, not really."
"Me neither," Lily said. She stirred the Wiggenweld brew counterclockwise three times before adding more salamander blood. She watched as it turned yellow. "James has been rather introverted this past year. I wonder what made him suddenly take interest in someone like Mary."
"How do you mean?"
Lily made an odd sort of noise that sounded somewhere amidst a cough, a snort, and a laugh. He stared at her. "How many poor saps has Mary strung along and then cut loose since she was thirteen? And how many of those poor saps did she actually date for more than a month?"
Severus weighed his answers. "More than I could possibly want to know…and none?"
Lily smirked. "Exactly. So what makes anyone think James has a better chance than any of them?"
"Well, for one, he asked her out."
Lily gently nudged Sev's shoulder with her own after making sure he wasn't holding any spill-able ingredients. "They always ask her out, Sev. Usually because she's been in their faces flirting with more than her eyes. And the poor saps always flirt back."
"Mary's been making owl eyes at Potter for what—"
"She hasn't, not for a year now. She sort of backed off after the whole Laura catastrophe."
"That's why she blushed?"
Lily nodded. "I know this is stupid, Sev, but Mary hasn't been sniffing around—at least not around him—and James hasn't been flirting. So—what's the deal?"
Sev grumbled. "I really don't care about Potter, Lil."
"Neither do I…I'm just saying it's weird."
They fell into mutual silence after that comment, and focused on making sure the Wiggenweld Potion didn't turn too turquoise before they added the sloth brain mucus.
They sat the Charms and Transfiguration exams on Friday and by the time the Circle of Seven made it to the Room of Requirement Peter had worried the ears off of Frank and Alice because he couldn't Silence his raven no matter how hard he had tried. Sirius let his bag drop to the floor the moment they made it inside, and the Room read his mind by providing an extra-large pouf directly in front of him, onto which he fell, face first, arms at his sides.
"The O.W.L.s are going to absolutely suck," he mumbled, "if they're going to be any harder than what we were just slaughtered by."
"Of course they'll be harder," Lily said with a grimace. "We'll have quite a time of it to keep on top of Quidditch, too."
"Hnrrrrggg," Sirius moaned into the pouf.
Severus said nothing as he dropped his bag beside Lily's and sank onto a squashy sofa with his eyes shut, rubbing at his temples. He smiled softly when he felt Lily curl up on the sofa beside him, her head tucked neatly under his chin.
Lily watched as her friends abandoned their schoolbags and relinquished their tired bodies to the comforts of the Room of Requirement. Sirius rolled onto his back and lay with his eyes shut and his hands clasped behind his head; Peter spotted an armchair of his own and went to settle into it; Alice sat on yet another sofa with her legs folded beneath her and Frank's head resting in her lap. Remus, however, sat at the wooden table, two books open and a leaf of parchment in front of him. He pulled his ink bottle and a quill from his bag and set to alternately reading and writing.
A few minutes passed where only the scratching sound of Remus's quill punctured the atmosphere, but it was disrupted when the heavy door opened and Regulus slipped in, looking ragged.
"McGonagall tested us on Cross-Species Switching," he reported in a thoroughly agitated voice, "and Peeves just tried to assassinate me on my way up here by knocking that enormous bust of Gifford Ollerton—you know, that giant-slayer from the 1400's?—down the sixth floor landing."
At this pronouncement, Peter shuddered from his spot in the armchair, and Remus set down his quill. Sirius grinned, but quickly stopped when he saw Alice frown at him from across the room.
Regulus let his bag slide from his shoulder to land unceremoniously on the floor, and he dropped into the seat across from Remus before allowing his forehead to come into contact with the wood of the table with a loud thunk. He spoke to the tabletop. "How have none of you gone completely mental? You're all in O.W.L. year and I'm about up to my neck here in dragon dung."
"I have," Peter offered with an unhappy expression on his face. "I had to go to Madam Pomfrey last week for a Calming Draught."
"And Tess Worthington burst into tears in the middle of Charms on Monday," Remus stated with sympathy in his voice before returning his attention to the books and parchment spread out before him.
Regulus lifted his head enough to glance at Remus's parchment. "What's the novel for?" he asked.
"Now that our exams are finished for at least this weekend, I'm trying to do more research to counteract Umbridge."
Over on the sofa, Alice exchanged a glance with Frank. "Have you heard anything from Dumbledore about the Wizengamot vote?" Alice asked curiously, although with worry in her eyes.
"No," Remus replied, dipping his quill back into the ink bottle.
"It would have been in the papers," Sev supplied from his increasingly comfortable position with Lily's body warm against him. "But yesterday in a miniscule square near the back page they mentioned a halt in voting procedures."
Remus glanced over at him. "I saw that too."
"What does that mean?" Peter asked, his eyes wide.
"Nothing, really," Sev answered with a sigh. "It's the second one that's happened, and by the looks of it Umbridge isn't too happy about it."
"Well that's good," said Regulus, his forehead still resolutely pressed to the wood of the tabletop. "Maybe Dumbledore is doing something about it then."
As sure of this as Severus dared to be, he couldn't help but recall the Headmaster's words that the possibility existed for the Wizengamot to completely ignore his cautions and advice. The first time around it had taken the Ministry another twenty years or so to boot Dumbledore out of the Wizarding court, but as so many things were different in this new timeline, Severus no longer had insight as to what would or wouldn't happen. Wrestling with Dolores Umbridge's vile proposals had exhausted the Circle of Seven, enough so that especially with the O.W.L.s coming up and the ungodly amount of homework being set them by the overly-stern professors, no one save Severus and Regulus had any time at all to devote to the cause.
However, Remus had been planning his 'novel' for several days. Unable to visit Hogsmeade with the others the following day, Remus was resigned to a day alone in the castle.
"I hope so," Severus replied, while thinking to himself, though I'd expect Dumbledore to mention something to either Remus or myself…but since when have I been able to predict his moves? He could feel his eyelids drooping, his head tipped gently to rest against Lily's, and Severus Prince fell asleep.
Saturday morning dawned with a layer of snow coating the grounds, but blue skies and bright sunlight shone down on the school. Severus met Lily in the common room.
"Mary's already gone," Lily mentioned as she grasped Severus's ungloved hand after they clambered through the portrait hole.
"So was Potter." Severus unconsciously gripped Lily's hand a little tighter, and Lily responded with an affectionate squeeze. "You know I still don't trust him, don't you?" Sev asked with a glance at his girlfriend.
Lily looked around to see if anyone was near them. Seeing no one, she led Sev to a tapestry which concealed an alcove. As soon as both students slipped behind it, they dropped their carried cloaks to the flagstones and Lily grasped Sev's head in both hands, pulling him down into a kiss. Severus automatically looped one arm around Lily's lower back and his other hand came up to cup her neck. He pulled her close to him, so the lengths of their bodies touched from chest to thigh. The hand on her neck slowly wove into the red curls, until he gently held the back of her head.
They didn't come up for air for about a minute. Sev relented by placing several kisses down Lily's jawline before nipping at her earlobe. "That was fantastic, Lil," he breathed, still holding her close.
"I love you, Severus Prince. I love you with everything I know, and everything I don't, so when will you get it through your thick, middle aged skull that I can't and won't love anyone else?"
Slightly ashamed, though no less adamant in his distrust of James Potter, Sev pressed his forehead against Lily's. "It's in my nature. I want to protect you—and while nothing could have shown you that more clearly than my memories, it's not fair to ask me to forget about someone who used to make my life miserable."
"Used to, Sev, used to! He's not the same boy."
Severus closed his eyes. "Of that I am not sure."
Lily briefly pressed her lips against his. "I am. So will you trust me on this? Can you trust that I have thought long and hard enough about what we have that I would not give it up for anything?"
Sev frowned, and as always, Lily read his mind.
"I would not give you up, Sev, even if it meant I could have my father back."
Unbidden, tears sprang to Sev's dark hazel eyes. "You don't mean that—"
"But I do," Lily interrupted, bravely keeping her own tears in check. "I do, I really do. He raised me, loved me, he experienced magic with me. But you taught me, Sev, you taught me what it means to be in love and how to be strong when it feels like I'm not strong enough. You gave me a world that my father couldn't have—and I have you until forever. Forever couldn't've happened with my dad."
But Lily silenced him again with another kiss. "We've managed to basically ignore him for the better part of a year now, sweetheart, so let's continue to do so. I'm looking forward to an absolutely lovely Valentine's Day in Hogsmeade with my wonderful boyfriend."
With a slightly dazed grin on his face, Sev picked up their cloaks and passed Lily hers before they exited the alcove and continued their walk to the village.
James strode down the snowy road to Hogsmeade with Mary MacDonald clinging to his right arm. Snowflakes drifted down over the only Wizarding village in Britain, layering the landscape with a soft white blanket. Most of the students were still in the castle, eating breakfast. James and Mary were heading to The Three Broomsticks to have breakfast there instead. Only a few students did this regularly, as Hogwarts food was far superior to young Rosmerta's, but James had several thoughts on his mind that needed thinking on. And the noisy Gryffindor table would have crowded his mind.
"Ease up a bit," James said suddenly. Mary's grip on his arm had cut off circulation and he shook it out. "There, that's better."
"What was that?" Mary asked, indignant tones in her voice.
"You were holding on too tight," James replied lightly, shooting her his trademark Potter grin. "I'm not going to run off."
Mary didn't say anything, but gently hooked her arm through his.
Back in the Gryffindor Common Room, Remus had just come down from the boys' dormitories with his book bag slung over his shoulder and dark bags under his eyes. Sirius came down behind him, his black hair sticking up in all directions as he had not bothered to tame it.
"Hey mate," Sirius spoke quietly, "what do you want from the kitchens? I'll bring it up to the Room for you."
Remus smiled, weakness and tinges of pain rimming his eyes. "Just some toast. Thanks, Siri."
Sirius gently clapped his best friend's shoulder and grinned. "No problem. See you in a few minutes."
They clambered through the portrait hole and parted ways at the corridor turn, where Remus made a beeline for the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy and Sirius headed down the seven staircases to the Great Hall. He'd woken earlier than usual to accommodate Remus's waned strength; after bringing breakfast up he would go back down to meet Jacqueline.
Sirius had been thinking a lot lately about Umbridge (so had the entire Circle), and the more introspective he became the more he realized that his greatest fear at this point would be for anyone else to find out that Remus suffered from lycanthropy. It told him a lot about himself, and thus had made him mature more in the past few months than he had in his first fourteen years. This thought carried Sirius all the way down to the kitchens, where he was immediately greeted by six House Elves carrying a platter of food between them.
"Just toast, please," he asked kindly, smiling down at them all flapping their enormous ears.
"Is you wanting anything else, Master Sirius?" Misty asked, trotting forward with a plate piled with toast, kippers, and scrambled eggs. "We is having breakfast served right now upstairs!"
Sirius shrugged. "It's for Remus, he's not feeling well."
Misty flapped her ears hard. "We is wishing him to feel better soon!" she squeaked as Sirius took the plate and cast a warming charm over it.
"Thank you," he said with a smile to the House Elves, who all grinned as they waved him back through the portrait of the fruit basket. When he emerged from the doorway beside the main staircase he saw Regulus coming up from the Slytherin dungeons with a sullen expression on his face. "Hey, little bro!" he called out.
Regulus slunk over, casting frowning gazes back over his shoulder in case other Slytherins were behind him. "Yeah?" he asked.
"Going to Hogsmeade today?"
Reg nodded, eyeing the plate of food. "Pete and I are going to spend most of the day in Zonko's and Honeyduke's. That for Rem?"
"Yeah. I'm taking it up to him right now, then I'll be back down to meet Jackie."
Reg lifted an eyebrow and hummed. "See you later," he said as he turned to go into the Great Hall for breakfast.
Ten minutes later Sirius opened the door to the Room of Requirement and found Remus hunched in the corner with his arms wrapped around his knees, head down and shoulders shaking.
A/N4: There is no canonical name for James Potter's father, so I used the name from It's a Wonderful Life.