Chapter XL - The Order

The day after Hestia's funeral, Lily woke up curled around James, her eyes dry and sore. She slowly and carefully slid out of bed and watched in amusement as he rolled over and claimed more space. She wrapped herself in her robe and stepped into some slippers and headed into the washroom. She braided her hair into two loose braids, washed her face and brushed her teeth before she made her way downstairs.

Gwen was sitting at the table in the kitchen sipping tea and reading The Daily Prophet. She looked up with a smile when Lily stepped into the kitchen. "Good morning, sweetheart."

Lily managed a small smile back and reached for the cup of tea gratefully that Abby had just poured for her. "Good morning."

Gwen reached across the table when Lily sat down to take her hand. "How are you this morning?"

Lily shrugged. "I'm okay. I didn't have any dreams or wake up in tears so I think that's a good start."

Gwen smiled warmly. "That is definitely a good start. I lost my parents during the years with Grindelwald in a terrible tragedy. I know how badly it hurts and I promise that given time, it will get better. But it takes time."

"I know. It's just … losing them and then to find out that Hestia was killed as well. She was one of my best friends." Lily said sadly, sipping her tea. "All at once."

"I know." Gwen pat her hand gently. "Lily, as long as you want you have a home here, you know that right?"

Lily smiled. "Thank you. I … I put all of my things at the house in Godric's Hollow. I didn't know where else to bring them."

"That's perfect." She nodded at Abby who placed two slices of toast, two slices of bacon, and a scrambled egg in front of Lily. "Eat up. You need your strength."

"School starts tomorrow."

Gwen nodded. "Yes, it does. I was going to suggest taking more time but I think the faster you get back into your normal routine the easier it will be on you. You and James can apparate to Hogsmeade later on today."

"I agree," Lily said as she scooped up a forkful of egg. "But on one hand I don't know if I'm ready to face all of those people. I feel like … I lost everyone, even my sister."

"Lily, your sister is scared. You can't blame her for that. But what she did, kicking you out of your home, that was wrong." She told her, watching Lily closely. She knew that she was grieving as much for her sister as she was for her parents and her best friend.

Lily sighed, leaning back in her chair. She knew that what Petunia had done was wrong but at the same time she couldn't help but think that her sister hadn't made the wrong decision. "I don't blame her, Gwen. I know that she has every right to hate me and to worry for her own safety as well as that of her new husband. It's just … that was my home and I lost my parents and one of my best friends and now I've lost her too."

Gwen nodded. "But it will get better. And I'm sure Petunia will come around. She did say she wanted to be at your wedding. That doesn't sound like the words of someone who hates you. That sounds like a terrified girl afraid for her sister as well as for herself."

"I hope you're right."

Gwen smiled, sipping her tea and just watched Lily for a moment. She was playing with her food more than eating it. But she had taken a few bites which at least told Gwen that she was getting something into her system. "As for wedding plans, I'll understand if you want to put them on hold given the circumstances."

Lily shook her head, tears in her eyes again. "No, I don't. I thought I would. Mum and Dad, they won't be there to see me pledge my love for James, to start my life with him. Dad won't be there to walk me down the aisle and that hurts me more than I can stand but postponing the wedding won't change that. I know that. I can change those ceremonial things and well … I want to focus on it. Mum would be want me to focus on it." She explained, sitting up straighter in her chair. "I even found a dress."

"That's a wonderful start. Where did you find the dress?"

"In my mum's closet. It was hers. It's beautiful and I thought that if she can't be there for me on my special day then she could be with me as I walk down the aisle in the dress she wore when she married my father."

Gwen smiled warmly, "That sounds wonderful. I would love to see it."

Lily smiled back, feeling her heart swell a little warmer. "It's beautiful, Gwen. I put it with all of my things at the house. It's a little old-fashioned, but so beautiful. I feel like its an important piece of her for me to cherish on our special day."

"It is. And the fact that you feel that way shows me that you're grieving, but that you're beginning to let go, all good things." Gwen sipped her tea as she spoke. "Why don't you run upstairs and get dressed and we'll head to Godric's Hollow? You can show me the dress and we can unpack your things and maybe discuss the house. It will take your mind off of things."

Lily wanted to say she wasn't in the mood, but Gwen was right. If she focused on the house, on the wedding, then maybe, just maybe she wouldn't think about the sad things. "That sounds great. Give me twenty minutes."

Lily had spent the entire morning with Gwen. They unpacked all of her things, hanging her clothes in the closet and putting her books on the shelves. She tried on the dress and Gwen marveled at it, agreeing that it was indeed perfect for her, tears in her eyes. Once the dress was safely hidden away, they went shopping.

Gwen gave her a key to the Potter vault and a second key to James' personal vault. Lily was a little overwhelmed at the sudden access to the vastness of the Potter fortune. The thought of spending money that didn't belong to her didn't seem right. Gwen only told her that it was thoughtful but she was a Potter now in almost every way and that meant access to the Potter money. They had lunch at a small bistro in Edinburgh and James met them as they were leaving the restaurant.

"Should I be concerned that you two are spending so much time together?" He asked, wrapping his arm around Lily's waist and tugging her close to kiss her cheek.

Gwen smiled at her son, reaching up to pat his cheek. "Not at all. And completely. Now, you two go shopping and start furnishing that house of yours. I told Dumbledore you would be back at Hogwarts by dinner for five thirty so be back at the manor by five to collect your things." She took Lily's hand in her own and squeezed gently. "Have a good time."

She disapparated and James grinned at Lily. "So, where should we shop first?"

If Lily had felt overwhelmed at being given keys to Gringott's vaults, it was nothing to how she felt now. They went into furniture stores and she found herself falling in love with tables and chairs and chesterfields and love seats and anything she loved, James told her to buy. After the third time, she took his hand and shook her head.

"If we're buying furniture together, you can't let me pick everything out. Now, the bookshelves were too perfect to pass up but let's find something we both like for the common room furniture, deal?" She told him.

James smiled at her as if he had only been waiting for her to ask. "Deal."

By three o'clock that afternoon, they had managed to have a really successful day. They bought nightstands as well as a book case, an armoire, and two cozy armchairs for the bedroom. A chesterfield, a love seat, an armchair, two bookshelves, two end tables and a coffee table for the common room. For the kitchen they found a gorgeous mahogany dining set with a matching china cabinet outlined in glass.

They apparated to Godric's Hollow to walk through the village and Lily smiled as she stared up at the magnificent and gothic style church, Godric's Abbey. It was made completely of grey stone, huge gorgeous coloured windows, the front one portraying the Angel Gabriel talking to Mary and a side one, portraying Jesus on the cross.

"James, let's go in there. I want to light a candle for my parents."

James nodded and followed her up the stone steps, eyes sweeping over the sharp ragged edges of the tall towers and the pointed peaks of the abbey. Inside was even more beautiful. Pews of gorgeous oak, the pulpit marble and sculpted with angels. Marble floors with a deep burgundy carpet down the center aisle and up to the alter, where three steps took you to the front. There was a plaque on the inside wall of the church that read:

Built by the Gryffindor Family:

"This Holy House holds the love of surprises

Let angels watch over you

And may God be with you."

~ Godric Gryffindor

He smiled at the plaque and watched as Lily made her way over to one of the stations with candles under the window. She lit two of them with the lighter provided and knelt down to pray. When she stood up and looked at James, he saw that despite the tears in her eyes, she looked better.

"It's beautiful in here," she told him as she walked towards him.

He nodded. "Yes it is. I bet the gardens out back are equally as beautiful, despite the winter. Would you like to walk?"

Lily took his hand and followed him out the back of the church. There was a beautiful statue of an angel and another one of what could only be Joseph holding his baby boy in his arms. There was a large fountain in the centre of the garden and Lily imagined that in the spring it was covered in flowers.

"It really is beautiful here."

James squeezed her hand, turning her in his arms. "We should get married here."

"What?"

"We should get married here. It's going to be our village now. Our home will be just around the corner. It will give us a chance to get to know the parish and the priest so that our children can grow up with them. I want this to be our community, Lily. It's beautiful and I think we should get married here." He said, smiling widely at her.

Lily looked around, taking in James' idea. It really was beautiful and she knew that he was right, by September it would be perfect for a wedding. She had never considered herself to be overly religious but she had always believed in God and her parents had taught her to do so and she knew that James' parents had as well and she wanted to pass that tradition down herself. And getting married anywhere but in a church did seem strange to her.

"It's perfect."

"What's perfect, my dears?" A voice asked causing both of them to turn. The man approaching them looked to be in his late forties, early fifties. He had sand-coloured hair, soft blue eyes and wore blue jeans and a black dress shirt with the priest's collar loosened. "Welcome to Godric's Abbey, I'm Father Thomas Padrick, the priest here. What can I do for you?"

James extended his hand. "James Potter and this is my fiancée, Lily Evans. We were just thinking this garden and this church would be a great place to get married."

Father Padrick smiled warmly, creasing the corners of his eyes. "Well, that is perfect. What wonderful news is there but that of a couple in love. I don't believe I know you from the community?"

Lily shook her head. "No, we just recently bought a house here. We were just exploring the town."

Father Padrick nodded. "And you are both Christian?"

They nodded.

James smiled at him. "We will be here from time to time in the summer, getting settled but we won't actually be living in the town until we're married. We were hoping to marry on the first of September, as its the day we met."

Father Padrick smiled. "Come on inside. We'll take a look at my registry but I think September first is open. I would love for you to have your wedding here."

They followed him back inside the church and into the office off to the far side. A woman was typing behind a desk and she smiled at them before picking up the ringing phone.

"That's Vera, my saviour. She works here during the week to do the basic needs of the church." Father Padrick said as he opened a black day book on his desk in his own office. "Ah, September first, it is very much open. Are you interested?"

James looked over at Lily and she bit her bottom lip before nodding, a huge smile on her face. James grinned at her and squeezed her hand. "Yes."

He watched as Father Padrick wrote their names in on the day and Lily grinned at the jolt in her stomach as she read: The wedding of James Potter and Lily Evans. He grinned up at him.

"Well, I welcome you both to the community. Let's get some information down here so that we can communicate on plans and decorations and whatnot. Where can I reach you both?"

Lily smiled. "We'll be at our school until June but I suppose you could forward information there. It's in Scotland."

Father Padrick nodded. "That won't be a problem."

"It's called Hogwarts." James said, hoping he wouldn't have to explain too much about the school.

Father Padrick smiled. "A young witch and wizard, how nice." He saw the surprised looks on their faces and shook his head. "No, I'm not a wizard myself but as I'm sure you've noticed, this community holds both and I think that kind of integration is the most amazing thing in the world."

"It's wonderful to hear that," Lily told him honestly. "Especially from a religious man."

Father Padrick nodded, putting his pen down. "I was very shocked at first when I moved into this community and its sad to say but if others were to know, they wouldn't be as understanding as I am. But I have come to love everyone in my parish as if they truly were my own children. I've seen wizards help muggles and vice versa and the fact that some of you may have something extra, well … the ability to help is always appreciated. Even if in the past, those who practiced magicks were shunned."

Lily smiled at that. "Not everyone was against magic though, right Father? I remember my own father telling me about someone named Simon who used magic?"

The priest nodded at her. His eyes warming as if her knowledge of a biblical story was proof of her religious affiliations. "Yes. From the Acts of the Apostles. 'For unclean spirits came shrieking out of many who were possessed, and several paralytics and cripples were cured. As a result there was great rejoicing in that town. Now a man called Simon had for some time been practicing magic arts in the town and astounded the Samaritan people. He had given it out that he was someone momentous, and everyone believed in him; eminent citizens and ordinary people alike had declared, 'He is the divine power that is called Great.' He had this following because for a considerable period they had been astounded by his wizardry.' Chapter 8:7-11."

James nodded. "Of course, once he came to believe in God and accept Jesus he stopped doing magic and instead came to believe in miracles."

Father Padrick nodded, smiling again. "This is true. But m'dear boy, now it is the twentieth century and why can one not accept the magical arts and still believe in miracles as they are both still part of that supernatural world, am I right?"

Lily smiled. "Yes."

Father Padrick smiled warmly at them before picking up his pen again. He finished taking their information and they said goodbye. Once they were in the street again, Lily turned to smile at James.

"We did it. We started furnishing our home, we picked a place to get married and the date is officially set. Can you believe it?"

James tugged her close and kissed her softly. "I can believe it. I love you, Lily." He kissed her again and she curled into him as they held each other.

"I love you, too. Thank you … for everything."

James only nodded. "You're welcome. Come on, I think we need to head back to Hogwarts."

They apparated back to the manor to gather their things and within forty minutes were unpacking their things in the Head's dormitory.

Lily knocked on James' door frame and smiling at him when he turned. "I'll be back later. I want to go find Alice."

He nodded. "Alright. See you."

Lily hurried to the Gryffindor common room and smiled when Sirius tugged her close in a bear hug. "Hi Sirius."

He kissed her cheek before he pulled back. "I feel like I've missed you more than I've seen you."

She nodded. "The holidays were a little different than expected."

Sirius nodded. "Definitely." He squeezed her hand. "Alice is upstairs. I'll see you later."

Lily watched him sit back down and sighed. Hestia's death had affected him a lot more than he wanted to admit. She hurried up the stairs and knocked on the seventh year girl's dormitory. She jolted in surprise to only see three beds set up. The fourth four poster having vanished from the room.

"It shocked me too when I came back," Alice said from her spot on the bed. "I guess they didn't want it to stay here like a terrible reminder to us that she was gone."

Lily moved to sit on the bed with her friend, crossing her legs. "Probably." She put her arm around her friend and they hugged tightly. "I haven't even grieved for Tia like I should."

"Honey, you lost your parents too. I think Tia would understand. Besides, I know you miss her."

Lily nodded, pulling back and leaning against one of the four posters, "I do. I've been trying to stay busy so I don't sit around and wallow but I miss her. She was so happy and she had finally fallen in love and Ben was a great guy and he's gone too. It's just …"

"Terrible," Alice supplied, taking her friend's hand. "I know. I want to stop talking about it and thinking about it but then I think well that's just cruel. They should be remembered."

Lily nodded and the two of them sat in silence for a few moments. Then Lily saw the ring. "Alice, is that what I think it is?" She asked, pointing to her friend's hand.

Alice blushed, holding her hand out so that Lily could admire her new engagement ring. "I didn't want to tell anyone because of what happened. It seems wrong to be so happy when I'm so sad at the same time. But … Frank proposed. He came home on Christmas Eve and he asked my parents' permission and then asked me right there in my common room in front of everyone."

"Alice, that's wonderful news! Congratulations!" She hugged her friend and grinned widely. "Both of us engaged within months of each other!"

Alice nodded. "I know. You'll be my Maid of Honour?"

"Where else would I be?"

Alice grinned. "Now we both have weddings to plan. Without Hestia."

Lily smiled. "She'll be there with us. I know she will be. She wouldn't miss our weddings, Alice. She'll be there. And she'll be there to see me marry James on the first of September, 1979 in Godric's Abbey in Godric's Hollow."

"Godric's Hollow? The town of Gryffindor where muggles live among witches and wizards?" Alice asked in surprise.

"Yes," Lily said, smiling. "James' parents bought James and I house there for Christmas. It was crazy and I was in shock but its perfect, Alice. It's a beautiful little two story cottage with a master bedroom, a small room and a tiny bedroom. It's perfect. James and I went shopping today and started buying furniture for it and we went to the church and officially signed ourselves to get married there. It's wonderful."

"I'm glad," Alice told her. "Frank and I haven't set a date yet but we definitely want it to be soon. How was Petunia's wedding? Before …"

Lily didn't need her friend to finish the sentence. "It was nice. She looked beautiful and Vernon looked happy. I guess he makes her happy and he's not really a bad guy he's just … well … different. But it was a nice wedding, but my dress was atrocious. I wore James' suit jacket for the entire reception so that my breasts wouldn't pop out. My parents gave her the house for a wedding present."

"Your house?"

Lily nodded, scratching her nose. "Aye. But … well, she kicked me out."

"WHAT?" Alice demanded. "You're kidding?"

She shook her head. "I wish I was. She told me to get my stuff and go and that I wasn't to live there anymore. I know she's just scared, Alice. She knows Mum and Dad were killed by Death Eaters and she's worried for herself and for Vernon but … I was heartbroken. My whole life has been there. So I packed up all of my things and took some of the things I wanted from Mum and Dad and I guess I officially live at James' house now until I get married."

"Wow," Alice said, her eyes wide. "I can't believe what a complete bitch you're sister is sometimes. Is she at least still going to stand in your wedding?"

"Yes, as Maid of Honour."

Alice nodded. "Well, that's something anyway. Well, now that you have a location, we need to do some dress shopping."

Lily grinned widely. "I actually found a dress."

"Where?" Alice asked, grinning.

Lily quickly filled her in on finding her mother's wedding dress and how perfectly it fit.

"That sounds perfect for you. Now we just need to find me a fabulous gown!"

They laughed and as they both discussed upcoming plans for the wedding, both of them felt like Hestia was there, listening in and agreeing with their ideas.

Classes started up again the next day and Lily found herself falling back into the routine. Life was normal. Head Duties, time spent with James, letters back and forth with Gwen about the wedding, and discussions with Professor Slughorn about getting her Potions' license in March. It was just that sometimes out of the blue, she would think of her parents and of Hestia and how much she missed them and it would hurt so much that she couldn't breathe. Then it would be gone.

She knew that overtime, it would all be alright. But for now, it still hurt every minute of every day to think of them. By the time the first two weeks of school had passed, Lily decided it was time to check in with her sister.

Dear Petunia,

How is married life with Vernon? Is he treating you the way he should? I hope so. I hope the house is working out for the two of you. It still feels unreal to not live there anymore but I brought all of my things to mine and James' home and Gwen told me that I more than welcome to live at James' house until the wedding.

Speaking of the wedding, my plans have been getting done faster than I expected. It will be 1st of September at Godric's Abbey in a town called Godric's Hollow. It's a really special town where non-magical and magical people live in harmony together. It's where our home will be. We spoke to Father Padrick at the Abbey and its all set up. I'll be wearing Mum's dress and my bridesmaid will be Alice, I guess as Hestia is no longer with us. I haven't fully decided on a colour yet for the bridesmaid dresses but I am leaning towards a lavender. I will keep you updated.

James is doing great. He wants to help with as much as he can and when I wake up crying thinking of Mum and Dad or Tia, he just holds me and comforts me. I'm so grateful for him. It still surprises me that after all this time how much I used to push him away and now I can't imagine my life without him. He's made me a better person and made my life better. I love him more than I say aloud.

I'm starting weekly lessons with Professor Slughorn tomorrow. He's going to teach me everything he knows in preparation for my Potions license. I wanted to work at the Ministry and be a scientist. Do something great with potions but with the war coming up … I haven't told James, but I think I might apply to the Auror Academy. I want to help. But I'm afraid if I tell him that he will talk me out of it. He wants to keep me safe and yada yada, but I can do my part. I've an excellent hand with my charms and my potions are great and deadly. I know I can help.

I hope that you will stop being angry with me as you read this. And I hope to hear back from you with some fabulous wedding plans as my Maid of Honour. I want you to stand there next to me, Tuney. I want you to support me and to be my sister. Could you do that for me?

Please write back. I would LOVE to hear from you.

Love Always,

Your sister,

~Lily~

She folded the letter and sealed it before making her way towards the owlery. Once it had been sent, she headed to McGonagall's office. She knocked quietly on the door and smiled at her professor when she was asked to come inside.

"What can I do for you, Miss Evans?" McGonagall asked, folding her hands on her desk.

Lily smiled and bit her lip at the same time. "I am interested in applying to the Auror Academy."

McGonagall's eyebrow rose in surprise. "That is unexpected news."

Lily's smile faded a little. "You don't think I can get in?"

"That's not what I said. I said it was unexpected. The Auror Academy only takes the best and the brightest and while you are on the right track academically, I'm not sure its what you're looking for. I thought you were going to take your Potions license?"

"I plan to. My test is set for the fifteenth of March, but … there's a war going on, Professor and I want to do something. I want to fight back. And if being an Auror can help me do those things than I want in." She explained, her eyes showing her determination.

McGonagall nodded. "I understand that need, Lily. I think it's great that you want to help out and that you want to become an Auror, but are you truly ready for that? Auror training is very hard. They bring you to the ultimate limit and test you in extreme levels. I have no doubt that you would be successful, but I don't think its something you would want. Have you spoken to James about this?"

Lily shook her head. "No. I know he's going to tell me it's a bad idea. He wants to protect me because I'm muggleborn and I get that but I know that I can protect myself."

"Yes, you can."

"So, will you help me, Professor?" Lily asked, watching McGonagall closely. She still wasn't completely sure on where her professor stood on this.

"Yes, I will. ButI have a proposition for you as well. I was going to wait until the end of the year, but this has made me change my mind."

"What is it?"

McGonagall smiled, standing up now. "Dumbledore is a great wizard. He defeated Grindelwald in the 1940s and he locked him away in a wizarding prison so that he could never again let his need for power take over the world. Now there is a new war emerging, this one also for a battle of power but also because a power-hungry racist bigot wants to make his ideology the law of the land. No one wants to see him succeed or see this happen."

"Okay."

McGonagall smiled. "Do you know what a phoenix is, Miss Evans? Sorry, re-phrase that, what a phoenix represents?"

Lily nodded. "A phoenix is known for its crimson feathers and golden tail and they represent hope. A phoenix bursts into flame and is reborn through the ashes because of its magical properties and has healing tears. They say the song of a phoenix gives hope to the pure and strikes fear in the heart of the impure. They represent hope."

"Something we all need right now with the last nine years finally seeming to accumulate here with Voldemort's need for power," McGonagall explained. "Dumbledore has been slowly putting an organization together over the last two months, he's calling it the Order of the Phoenix because when someone thinks about a phoenix they think of hope. That's what he wants to stand for, hope for the future, a better future."

"What is this organization?" Lily asked, her interest peaked now. The idea of providing hope was something that was definitely desperately needed in these dark times.

McGonagall smiled. "It's a group of people who are going to be partnered together to help him against him. Members are coming from all different branches of magic including those without magic such as Squibs and those magical creatures willing to help us such as house elves and goblins."

"Diversity that Voldemort doesn't and won't possess."

"Exactly," McGonagall replied, her smile widening. "It's a true mark of what we are fighting for, our right to be who we are and it directly contrasts the philosophy that Voldemort is sprouting about purebloods."

"How do you … I mean … how do you fight?"

McGonagall's eyes were serious now. "We fight as needed. We are there to protect those who need protecting and hopefully we can find out some of Voldemort's plans ahead of time. Smart and able young witches and wizards would be a great benefit to our cause. If you are still looking to help the war. To help us provide hope."

"Join the Order of the Phoenix?"

McGonagall nodded. "You would be sworn to secrecy, but you would be able to help, without having to go through the Auror Academy unless of course that is still something you would like to do."

"No, forget the Academy, this sounds better. Where do I sign up?"

McGonagall smiled. "Consider yourself signed." She took Lily's hand in her own. "Seventh years only. I need those old enough to fight, to apparate their way out of trouble and only those truly capable of handling themselves in extreme danger."

"You want me to do some recruitment?" Lily asked.

Her professor nodded. "I trust you."

Lily smiled widely. "I'm ready."

McGonagall's smile widened. "Good."

It didn't take long for Lily to recruit James, Sirius, Alice, Remus, and Peter to the Order. She hadn't entirely wanted to ask Peter but he had overheard and was so gung-ho about helping that she could hardly turn him down. The six of them met with Dumbledore in his office a week later and were surprised to find a few more seventh years present from Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw.

No one commented on the lack of Slytherins in the room.

Dumbledore explained the concept of the organization and how their help would be needed. He wanted to do some reconnaissance on Voldemort and his Death Eaters and he needed as many able-bodied men and women to do the task. When they left his office, Lily knew that she wasn't the only person feeling like she had a purpose and it felt wonderful.

When she returned to her dormitory, she found an owl at the window holding a letter for her. She traded the letter for a treat and quickly opened the envelope. She had barely read the first paragraph before she began to cry and James pulled her over to the love seat to hold her in his arms as she read the letter aloud.

Lily,

I'm sorry that you think Petunia is being hard on you by pushing you away but we spoke together and have decided it is best for everyone involved if we never have to see you again. I am writing this letter as Petunia is truly heartbroken over the concept of telling you she never wants to speak to you again, but its how she feels. How we both feel.

With the death of your parents still so fresh on everyone's minds and now to talk about a wedding just seems callous. We will not be attending and Petunia will not be your Maid of Honour. The less we have to deal with the freak show that you call your lives is better for everyone.

Do not contact us again.

Do not contact Petunia again.

In our eyes, she doesn't have a sister anymore.

Vernon Dursley

James' grip tightened on her as she let out a gasp and he swore under his breath. "Lily, honey, I'm sorry."

"Do you think she really means it? We've never truly been close, I know that but this summer … we made such progress this summer and now …" the sobs grew louder and James sighed.

"Lily, I'm sorry, but I think she does mean it."

He held her close as she cried, desperately wishing there was something he could do to sooth her grieve.

Peter was grinning widely as Erica nibbled on his earlobe. They were in an empty classroom somewhere in the castle and she had let him take off her shirt. He had managed to unclasp her bra but so far she wasn't letting him take it off, but the soft kisses were still nice.

She pulled away and smiled at him, tugging the bra off to expose herself. "Pete, can I ask you something?"

Peter nodded, his blood pressure steadily rising as he watched her bouncing breasts. "Anything."

"This organization thing you joined, how come you didn't ask me to join too?" She pressed her breasts up against his bare chest and watched as his Adam's apple bobbed.

"I didn't think you'd want to."

Erica nodded, kissing his chin. "That's fair. Will you tell me the dangerous adventures you do? My hero."

Peter nodded again, his grin widening as her hand slid down the front of his pants. "Of course. I'll be your hero."

Her grin widened and she kissed him.

Later on that evening when she stepped back into the Slytherin common room she smiled at Bella, taking a seat next to her friend. "Told you Peter was a great choice."

Bella's eyebrow rose slightly. "Meaning?"

"He's sweet and attentive and actually cares about me during sex. Not to mention, completely my ticket in."

"Your ticket?" Bella rolled her eyes. "He's never going to turn on his friends for Voldemort, Erica. He's too much Marauder."

Erica only smiled. "He's already eating out of the palm of my hand. Trust me, Bella, when I'm through with Peter Pettigrew he'll send his own mother to the Death Eaters if I ask him too."

Bellatrix watched Erica head up the stairs and shook her head. The girl was truly evil and damn if she didn't respect her methods. She stretched out of her legs and scratched the tattoo on her arm that she had received in the summer. She didn't care what Erica did, there was no way she was moving away from being Voldemort's number one. No way.