Chapter XXXVIII - Happy New Year
Author's Note: Would like to apologize again for the last chapter. I realized after I posted it that it really wasn't finished. So for those of you that didn't realize - chapter 37 has an EXTRA 10 PAGES OF STORY! So please go back and re-read before moving onto this chapter. (It picks up after Gwen gives Lily the veil). Thank you.
Alice stepped into her house on Christmas Eve after going to mass with her family and her eyes widened in shock when she saw Frank sitting on the chesterfield in her common room.
"Frank!" She ran into his arms, laughing when he kissed her, spinning her in a circle as if she was weightless.
"Hi. I just got home from my mission and I had to see you."
"I'm so glad you did." She kissed him again and then blushed when she heard her father clear his throat from behind her. "Er, sorry, Dad."
Frank smiled warmly at her parents. "I have to leave again. I'm being sent on another mission first thing at midnight tonight. But I just wanted to stop in and see Alice and to ask you, Mr. Mason, Mrs. Mason, an important question."
"Go on then," Mr. Mason said, arms crossed in front of him. He was determined to look as stubborn as possible.
"May I ask for Alice's hand in marriage?"
Alice's mouth dropped open in shock and she almost squealed in delight before she bit her bottom lip, turning slowly to see her parents' reaction. Her father's expression hadn't changed at all. But then her mother beamed at them.
"You most certainly can, Frank Longbottom. You make my girl very, very happy. You have our blessing, right Thomas?" Mrs. Mason demanded, eyes on her husband.
Mr. Mason sighed. His wife had a point. "Yes, you have our blessing."
Frank grinned widely at Alice, tucking her brown hair behind her ear. "Well, Alice, will you marry me after you graduate?"
And when he kissed her. She felt like the most important person in the world.
Erica Eby, his girlfriend, was smiling at him when he arrived at her house to pick her up for the New Year's Eve bash downtown London. It still surprised him to think that he had somehow landed this great girl for himself.
"Hi Pete, you look great!" She told him as she closed the front door behind her.
He kissed her on the cheek and blushed. "Thanks. You look beautiful."
She smiled at that. "You're too sweet! Come on; tonight we're going to par-tay!"
Peter let her apparate them to the destination as he was never very good at apparation and figured letting someone else do it was always the safer route. When they arrived a few blocks away from Piccadilly's Circus, they could hear the music blasting and pumping.
"We're meeting Sirius, Remus, and Violet somewhere in there," Peter said as he took her hand in his and they began to walk towards the party.
Erica sighed. "Do we have too, Pete? I was really hoping it would just be the two of us tonight." She said, leaning in to kiss him softly so that her firm breasts were pressed against his arm.
Peter gulped. She did have a way of convincing a bloke. But he did want to see his friends too. "Well, we only have to say hi then I suppose we could go our own way. Do we have to meet your friends then?"
Erica nodded. "My friends definitely. Bella will be so upset if we don't go see them!"
"Oh, okay," he said, wondering why her friends always seemed to be more important than his own.
When they arrived at the party, Bellatrix Black, her boyfriend Rudy Lestrange, Darrius Zabini and a few other Slytherins were already present.
"This is sickening," Lestrange said, eyeing the crowd. "All of these muggles just here for the taking."
"For the taking?" Peter asked as Erica moved to sit on his lap.
Zabini nodded. "Yeah. Don't you just wish that you could do something to them, Pettigrew? Muggles are disgustingly foul creatures that plague our very existence."
"I don't know any muggles so I can't really say if that's true."
"But you can't say its not true either, can you?" Lestrange asked, grinning at Erica.
Peter hesitated. "Yes, but-"
"No buts, Pettigrew. Just a thought is all," Bellatrix replied, smiling sweetly. "So Erica, how's life with a Gryffindor? Have you corrupted him yet?"
Erica grinned and kissed Peter's cheek. "I'm still working on that."
Peter kissed her. "Let's go dance!"
They said goodbye to her friends and moved into the throng of people to hit the dance floor.
"Do you feel the same way as your friends about muggles?" Peter asked. He had found the conversation to be kind of alarming and it worried him.
Erica sighed. "I don't not feel the same. Muggles are terrible people, Peter. If they knew about our world and about magic … can you imagine what would happen to us? Remember the history books? Witch hunts … burning at the stake … impossible tests … Merlin knows it was rare that they actually caught us, but the horror is still there."
"Then why are we here, at a party with muggles and essentially made of muggles?"
Erica grinned widely now. "For the entertainment."
Peter's eyebrow rose slightly. "The music?"
Erica shook her head and nibbled gently along his neck. "No. Something much, much better. You'll see. When everyone celebrates the New Year, you'll see."
Then she silenced him with a kiss.
Lily stared at herself in the mirror in her bedroom in disgust. The dress was even uglier than she had remembered. The colour of ripe tangerines made her hair look awful. She pinned it up in braids and curls and hoped it gave her a bit of elegance and she carefully adjusted the bodice of the dress hoping desperately that her boobs didn't simply pop out during her walk down the aisle.
God, she hoped that James didn't laugh at her.
She stepped into her bright yellow stilettos and merely shook her head. Veronica had seriously twisted Petunia's arm in the wrong direction when it came to this dress.
Veronica came into the room then, her dark black hair making the tangerine look stunning on her and grinned at Lily. "Oh! You look wonderful! Come on; the limo's about to take off!"
Lily smiled back and hurried down stairs, grabbing her matching tangerine clutch as she did. Her eyes widened when she saw her sister. Despite the puffy sleeves, she looked like a vision. Lily had to bite her bottom lip to hold back the tears.
"Oh, Tuney, you look beautiful!"
Petunia grinned back and then laughed. "You look ridiculous! I'm sorry!"
Lily shrugged, laughing too. "It's alright. Today's about you. And you definitely don't look ridiculous! You look amazing! Are you ready to get married?"
They climbed into the limo and Lily met Marge, Vernon's sister who was essentially the female version of Vernon and just as attractive. Veronica was Petunia's friend from school and the other bridesmaid choice was Vernon's cousin, a small sour looking blonde woman named Bernadette. They pulled up in front of the church and the music began almost immediately.
Lily's eyes found James' where he stood next to their mother at the front of the church and she smiled at him. He grinned back and she bit her lip to keep from yelling at him when she saw the gleam of laughter in his eyes.
The ceremony was beautiful and Lily found herself tearing up a little when her sister promised to love and cherish Vernon forever. Despite her own feelings towards Vernon Dursley, he made her sister happy. She still wasn't completely sure why, but he did. She couldn't not be happy for them. She didn't get a chance to talk to James until the reception almost two hours later due to photos of the wedding party.
She hurried towards him, kissing him quickly on the lips. "Say what you're actually thinking and I will kill you, clear?"
James merely grinned. "I rather like how your boobs are exploding from the top here. I can actually see a pink nipple."
Lily blushed furiously and attempted to pull the dress up. "I've never worn anything so bold!"
James tugged his suit jacket off and slipped it over her shoulders. "I think my Christmas present was pretty bold." When she blushed again he grinned and kissed her forehead. "You look beautiful."
Lily buttoned the jacket up over her breasts and smiled at him. "Liar." Then she kissed him again and led him over to the dance floor.
The wedding turned out to be a great night. Everyone had a good time and Vernon had even danced with Petunia more than once, which seemed to be a big thing. James was always whispering entertaining things about the Dursley family in her ear and she found that she spent most of the night laughing.
She was very surprised when she saw Nana after dinner. Petunia hadn't invited her to the ceremony, but she had asked her to come to the reception on account of her being family and all. But Lily had a feeling that Deacon may have insisted on it.
"Nana!" She hugged her and kissed her cheeks and James did the same making the woman smile.
"Still a charmer, I see." Amelia replied making James grin. "And that is the most atrocious dress that I have ever seen! That oversized suit jacket makes it ten times better!"
Lily grinned. "I rather have to agree with that statement!" She held her hand out to her grandmother. "Nana, James asked me to marry him."
Amelia's eyes lit up as she touched the beautiful ring. "Honey, it's beautiful! That's wonderful news! When's the wedding?"
"September 1st," James said, grinning. "With the way things are going, you should be getting the invitation within a few months."
"Good. I want to see you marry this charmer with my own eyes." She kissed Lily's cheek again. "I'm very happy for you. I'm going to go find my son now."
They watched her go and Lily smiled up at James when his arm wrapped around her waist. "I want her to be at my wedding. I don't know why Petunia won't accept her even a little bit. She's really against the fact that she's magical and I … well, you know."
"She's jealous, Lily. Whether she admits it or not. I'm sorry, but even with as many interesting things as muggles have, being able to do magic is definitely ace and not being able to do it when those around you can has to be hard." James said simply.
She nodded. "I guess." She smiled brightly when she saw the object of their conversation make her way towards them.
"Lily, I just heard Nana ask Dad how he feels about both of his daughters getting married. You're getting married?" Petunia demanded, her gaze rather sharp as she zeroed in on her sister's left hand.
Lily nodded, smiling widely. "Yes. I didn't want to impose on your big day so I only told Mum and Dad and then Nana just now. September first."
Petunia took her hand to look at her ring and she scoffed at it. "It's an attractive ring, I suppose. Of course, mine is much nicer but its good enough for you. I suppose you'll be wedding planning all year then?"
Lily nodded again, surprised at the indifference in Petunia. She had hoped that the way that they had started to grow closer would continue. Not to mention that Lily's ring was definitely a lot nicer than Petunia's not to mention bigger. "Yes, I will be. I hope that you will be my Maid of Honour?"
"I suppose. By the way, I told Vernon that you and James were a little different. I didn't outright say you could do magic, but I hinted at it. I figure, he's part of the family now so this way incase someone slips up, it won't come as quite as big of a shock." Petunia explained, taking the glass of wine that was offered to her by a waiter.
"Alright," Lily said. "That seems like a good idea. Tuney, I'm sorry I didn't tell you about James and I being engaged, I just thought that with everything you've had on your plate because of your own wedding that it could wait."
"But you still had to go to Mum and Dad."
Petunia rolled her eyes. "You can never just let me have the limelight! I'm getting married and you announce your engagement, it's just rude, Lily!"
Deacon stepped up behind his eldest and wrapped his arm around her waist. "How's my beautiful daughter enjoying being married?"
Petunia smiled. "So far its just been a party."
James smirked, "Hey, you made a joke. Good job."
"Ugh," she muttered and stormed off towards her new husband with a big grin on her face.
James smirked again. "Oops."
"James, was that necessary?"
"Yes, it was," James said. "She was being a bitch."
Deacon cleared his throat. "That is my daughter you're talking about."
"Can't help it, Dad," Lily said. "He is actually telling the truth. She overheard Nana asking you about me being engaged and kind of got crazy."
"Sweetie, don't worry about her. You know how Petunia gets. She is happy for you in her own way." He reached for her hand and led her and James over to one of the empty tables and sat down. "I need to speak with you about something anyway. Cecilia and I were discussing it a few months ago and after you and James told us about what Mr. and Mrs. Potter gave you as an engagement present, we thought that it was the right decision."
Deacon nodded. "I've been offered a job transfer to Canterbury. It's a bit more pay and in management at the bank."
"Dad, you hate working at the bank."
He grinned. "Yes, I do. But tinkering with my cars doesn't pay the bills." He tapped his fingers on the table as he spoke. "Cecilia does most of her catering business in the house and we've discussed it. She's going to open a second catering business in Canterbury and leave Miranda in charge of the one here since she's been there since the start and knows how Cecilia likes to run the business."
"You're actually moving?"
He nodded. "Not far but yes, we're going to move. Cecilia and I have already started looking for homes."
"But, what about our house, in Surrey? I've lived there my whole life!" Lily said, feeling really sad at the thought of not having the house.
Deacon smiled. "That's what Cecilia and I were talking about. Vernon and Petunia are only moving into Vernon's flat for now as they haven't found a house they like yet. We already signed the house over into Petunia and Vernon's name as a wedding gift. We have enough savings put away to find something small for Cecilia and I and my new pay scale will balance the rest."
"You're serious about this?"
"We are." Deacon said, smiling at her. He held up the envelope in his hand to show Lily the gift. "Honey, are you upset?"
Lily shook her head. Upset wasn't the word. The thought of her parents leaving her childhood home made her feel sad inside. "No, just sad. I can't imagine you and Mum not living in our home."
"Giving it to Petunia and Vernon, that's not a problem for you?" Deacon asked.
James shook his head. "My parents gave us a house. You're doing the same. I think it's a wonderful gesture."
"I agree, Dad," Lily said. "I'm just very surprised. Petunia will be thrilled. She always said she wanted a house like this ours. I think it's a great idea."
Deacon grinned, leaning over to kiss her cheek. "Good. I need to go find your mother so we can go tell Petunia the good news together." He stood up, eyes scanning the crowd and then he blanched. "Good Lord, she's been into the tequila, there she goes with the crazy dancing!"
Lily laughed as she watched her father hurry to her mother. "Everything is changing."
"Yeah, I suppose it is. Dance with me."
Lily smiled and let him lead her to the dance floor as they swayed gently to the music. She rested her head against his chest, listening to the gentle rhythm of his heart. She wasn't mad at her parents, but she was truly sad. It was her home too and even though she was planning on moving out of that home a few months after she graduated, it was still her first home.
But it was staying the family and that was really nice. Petunia and Vernon would make it their home. It was something she would have to be alright with. She just hoped that Petunia didn't change it too much.
Petunia hurried towards them, grinning widely as the song they were dancing to ended. "Lily! Mum and Dad are giving Vernon and I the house! Can you believe it?"
Lily smiled, taking James' hand in hers as they moved off of the dance floor. "I know, it's great! Congratulations!"
"They said as soon as they find a place and get settled its ours! I'm so excited! Redecorating is definitely in order."
Lily nodded, fearful of exactly how her sister might redecorate. "Right. Great!"
She watched her sister hurry off and then grinned when the countdown to midnight began and she kissed James when the clock struck twelve.
"Happy New Year," he whispered against her lips before he kissed her again.
"Happy New Year."
James winced as he reached into his pocket to tug out the mirror that was heating up and laughed out loud. He handed it over to Lily and she grinned when she saw the frosted message on the mirror: It's midnight bitches, I'm going to get shagged!
"I guess he made it."
James sighed. "Yeah, now we owe him money. Damn."
She laughed. "Guess we do."
It wasn't long after that when they waved Petunia and Vernon off on their honeymoon to Majorca. People began to disperse and everyone said goodbye.
It was when they were leaving the hall downtown London that it started.
The flash of red light blinded her at first and she stumbled back in surprise and then her heart stopped in her chest when she heard the screams.
Sirius panted heavily as he groped the blonde in the corner of the party. The thought that the bet was over, that he could actually have sex now was making him giddy. The girl was beautiful. Curvy and blonde and her name was Shay which he thought was oddly sexy.
She was sucking his neck and his hands were on her bum and he groaned at the sweet contact. But as much fun as it was, he wasn't actually enjoying himself as much as he should be.
The fact was, two months of celibacy had been rather refreshing. Having sex constantly with so many different woman just didn't seem as appealing as it once had. Not that he would ever admit such a thing to his best friends. He tugged back and nipped Shay's mouth softly.
"Good way to introduce the new year," he said easily making her smile.
Shay smiled back, coyly and linking her arms around his neck. "Definitely. Want to go find somewhere a bit more private?"
He was tempted to say yes; especially when her hand brushed his thigh gently. But he didn't think that it was the right thing to do at the moment. In fact, the idea of having sex with Shay was suddenly not appealing at all. He pulled back a bit and smiled.
"As great as that sounds, babe, I think I better get going." He kissed her forehead. "But thanks for a great night."
Shay pouted. "Are you sure that you have to leave?"
Sirius nodded. "I'm sure. But I have your number."
She grinned at that and he watched her walk away thinking that she had one hell of a fantastic walk. She was a muggle and he was pretty positive that he would never see her again nor would he call her. He shoved his hands into his pockets and glanced around the party.
He, Peter, Erica, Remus, and Violet had found a New Year's Bash downtown London in Piccadilly's Circus. The night was full of prize give-a-ways, dancing, live music and lots of people looking to party. The ball had dropped and it had been exciting but now he felt like the new year fun was kind of over.
Remus was dancing close with Violet, her head resting on his shoulder. They were a couple he really liked. Violet was so sweet and she was good for him; made him happy. He needed that more than he realized. Remus had a bad habit of pushing people away because he was so afraid that when they found out that he was a werewolf they wouldn't want him to be around anymore. He knew that when Remus came clean to Violet, she would be fine with it.
If he ever drummed up the guts to actually tell her that is.
Erica on the other hand, Sirius was still iffy on. She was really pretty and very sweet and Peter was clearly smitten with her, but there was something about her that put him off. First of all, he was ashamed to admit that he thought Erica was way too good for a bloke like Peter. Second, she seemed to be very needy. And lastly, she just bothered him.
But tonight, she was dancing with Peter somewhat awkwardly as Pete wasn't the best dancer in the world, and seemed to be having a great time.
Sirius sighed and headed out. He would let his friends finish out their nights with their girls. He was going to go home and go to bed and wonder why he had passed up the opportunity to have sex with the beautiful Shay.
He stepped out of the party area and hurried down the street, enjoying the feel of the cold wind as it hit his face. He wondered if Hestia was having sex yet.
Bad thoughts, Sirius, he told himself, feeling annoyed that he was even remotely jealous of the fact that Hestia was so happy. He loved Hestia. He knew that. He just didn't love her as anything other than a friend. He wanted her to be happy and to have the life that she deserved but at the same time he was a bit jealous that she was so happy and that he wasn't.
Once again, he was the only one in the group completely single and for the first time in his life, it bothered him.
He sighed and then jolted when a scream shocked the night and he immediately bolted towards the sound. He turned the corner and found a group of Death Eaters openly torturing muggles who were on their way home from their own New Year's celebrations. He drew his wand and was about to jump into the fray and attack when he stumbled.
He gasped when realized he had tripped over four dead bodies that had been thrown into the street. But the shock didn't come until he saw that he recognized two of them.
Hestia Jones and Benjamin Stokes were dead.
As the first police siren began to wail, the Death Eaters disappeared in clouds of black smoke and Sirius fell to his knees and cried.
"Happy Fucking New Year," he whispered and he let himself sob until the muggle police officers pulled him away.
Less than two blocks away, more Death Eaters had appeared outside of the hall where wedding guests were leaving and more New Year's celebrations were continuing. As soon as James recognized the dark black robes his stomach dropped. He needed to get Lily away from here.
James grabbed Lily's hand. "Come on, we're disapparating!"
"NO!" Lily shrieked, tugging her hands away. "James, these are people that I know!"
James swore half-heartedly as he tugged out his wand. He was well aware that it was people that she knew, but all he could think about was getting her to safety. Keeping her safe. "Come on, let's help people escape! But stay by me!"
They hurried towards the crowd, wands ready. But the dark black robes and pointed hats of the Death Eaters showed no mercy. Lily dueled as best as she could and she worked to get rid of the killers in front of her. But when the skull mask came off of the one to her left, her heart leapt into her throat.
"Why Miss Evans, I had no idea that you would be on the menu tonight," he said, his voice silky and cold.
She looked into his eyes, terror filling her heart. "Malfoy."
"Indeed," he said, grinning widely at her and causing his handsome face to look twisted. "Muggle baiting just got better. Are these people that you know that you're trying to defend or simply the foul creatures that call themselves muggles?"
She blasted him off of his feet and when he crashed back into the building so hard that stone seemed to crumble down, she smiled. "I'm not afraid of you anymore."
Malfoy stood up, dusting off his pants as he marched towards her. "Not afraid of me? Good. When you have your mouth wrapped around my -"
"Finish that sentence, Malfoy, and I'll chop your cock right off myself," James said angrily, wand pointed at his heart.
Lily stepped back when James shot a curse in Malfoy's direction. The duel between them was very intense but she couldn't concentrate on it because another Death Eater had shoved her to the ground. She rolled away, climbing to her feet as quickly as she could and blasted him away from her. She found herself fighting another Death Eater nearby and lost track of James and Malfoy, but she could hear the spells and the sounds of battle behind her.
It was a blur.
Spells flew past her. She avoided them. She tossed spells around her. Some were avoided, some hit targets.
All she knew was that it seemed rather sudden when all of the Death Eaters vanished in clouds of dark smoke and she found herself standing in the middle of the street across from the hall where Petunia got married surrounded by injured people.
Amelia found her first, hugging her tightly. "Oh Lily! Thank the Lord that you're alright!" She hung on a few seconds longer before moving to hug James who had come up behind them. "You're both alright?"
"I'm fine. We're both fine." James said, reassuring her as she clung to her granddaughter.
"This is what it was like when I was your age," Amelia told them. "Muggle baiting … it's just murder and mayhem. To come out and openly attack muggles because they can. It's sickening. Grindelwald apparently is the example they're using. But this is worse … it's not to make a point. They're enjoying themselves."
James nodded. He could see that himself and it was sickening. He looked around. He needed to help. "I need to see how many people are hurt."
Lily watched him hurry off and she looked around for signs of her parents. "Have you seen Mum and Dad?" She asked Amelia.
Amelia shook her head. "I was hiding. When those monsters disappeared, I saw you and James and simply came straight towards you."
Lily nodded, but her eyes continued to roam the crowd of people. James wrapped his arm around her, kissing her forehead. "James, what is it?"
James hesitated for a moment, reaching to take her hand in his. "Lily, I'm sorry."
He closed his eyes before he spoke but it wasn't him that spoke the words that shattered her world. It was her grandmother.
"We didn't save them."
"What?" Lily asked, her heart pounding in her chest. She looked over to where Amelia was pointing and the ground seemed to move beneath her as she fell to her knees. "No."
James knelt down beside her, holding her close to him. "I'm sorry, baby. Your parents are dead."
Then the world went black around her.