Authors' Note: This fanfic tells the story of the Marauders and those closest to them, through the eyes of Lily Evans and Remus Lupin. Every odd chapter is from Lily's perspective, while every even chapter is Remus'.
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Megan and Christine
The peak of summer had come and gone, and I was praying that I could survive just another month at home. With another maddeningly long month until school, I found myself frustratingly limited to the confines of my house, where Petunia seemed to be keen on either insulting me or ignoring me completely. To be honest, I couldn't say which I preferred—though the occasions where she hissed "Freak" at me with that narrow-eyed stare were hardly flattering, I doubted anything could be worse than the icy silence that greeted me whenever I wished her good morning, or asked about her day.
This particular day was sticky and hot, and our air conditioner was broken. Sun was beginning to trickle in through my dusty bedroom window, and my sweaty sheets were clinging to my skin, just like they had the night before. I groaned. Heat and I were never a good mix. Earlier that summer, my family and I had vacationed to the French Riviera for a week, and my fair skin still bristled at the thought of the blazing red sunburn I had received as a souvenir.
But this late July heat was unbearable. A cooling charm would have done the trick, and the wand on my bedroom desk was awfully tempting. I gazed longingly at my wand for a moment, before the rational side took hold of me. You aren't supposed to do magic around Muggles, Lily, a familiar stern voice rang in my ears, even if they are your family. Besides, do you really want to give Petunia another reason to be angry with you? Sighing, I abruptly got out of bed and headed out of my bedroom before I could change my mind.
The Muggle world was always difficult to get used to the first few weeks of the summer, but I usually had fully adjusted by now. Something about this summer was different, though. Perhaps it was the fact that the past year of school—my 6th year—was quite different than the past few years. A powerful dark wizard, who called himself Lord Voldemort, and his followers, were growing more powerful, more dangerous. People were disappearing left and right, and the entire atmosphere of Hogwarts seemed much different. No one was safe, and fear hung thick over the Wizarding World.
"Lily, sweetheart, is that you?" My mum's clear voice rang from downstairs. She must had heard me getting up.
"Yeah, Mum, I'll be down in a second!" I called back down, glancing warily back at my wand on the desk. Hastily, I opened the door to my bedroom and started down the cushy carpeted staircase.
My mum was sitting in the kitchen, her dark brown hair swept into a neat bun, and she seemed to be eyeing over the morning paper. Across from her sat Petunia, her thin lips seemingly becoming invisible as she pursed them harder when she heard me come down the stairs.
"Morning, Mum. Tuney," I said cheerfully as I snatched a piece of toast from a stack that was sitting on the counter.
"Good morning, dear," My mum smiled at me, her piercing green eyes glancing up from the newspaper to greet me. "Sleep well?"
I nodded, applying liberal amounts of butter to my toast. "Very well, except for the heat. If only I could use my wand, I'd be able to fix it in a moment…"
Petunia scoffed loudly, and I looked over at her, but her eyes were locked intently on her piece of toast.
The three of us sat in silence for a few moments, my mum looking concernedly at the paper and Petunia having a staring contest with her buttered toast.
"Anything interesting in the paper today, Mum?" I asked, getting up to rinse my plate off in the sink.
"Well…" she began. Even though she wasn't facing me, I could read the concern in her voice instantly. Quickly, I sat back down at the table.
"What is it?" I asked, trying to control the note of panic creeping into my voice.
"More strange disappearances," she said, frowning. "Here it says a man just completely vanished…Sebastian Jones, aged twenty one…"
"Sebastian Jones?" I said sharply. "He went to Hog—my school," I said with emphasis, looking pointedly at Petunia. "He's the older brother of a girl in my year, Hestia."
My mum's frown deepened. "Poor girl…her mother must be terrified…"
"Yeah," I said slowly, thinking of Hestia and wondering what it must be like, to lose a sibling. Well then, of course, I thought sadly to myself as Petunia stood up to clear off her plate without so much as glancing as me, You sort of already know what it's like.
"I'm heading over to Vernon's, Mum" Petunia said airly, without so much as glancing at me. "I'll be back a little later." Swiftly, she walked out the front door and the faint start of an engine told me that she was gone.
"Anything else in there?" I asked, trying to ignore Petunia's icy behavior.
"I'm afraid so," My mum said, her voice dropping to nearly a whisper. "A whole family found, dead. A mother and father and a little girl. Causes unknown."
My whole body started, and a voice I barely recognized as my own asked, "What were their names?"
Her eyes scanned the page. "Hughes. Evelyn, David, and the little girl was Marcie."
I closed my eyes for a moment, trying to picture anyone with the name of 'Hughes,' but my mind drew a blank. They must have been Muggles, I realized with a sinking feeling. It was bad enough when the Death Eaters killed off Wizards for refusing to join them, but it seemed they had moved on to killing innocent Muggles. My face swelled with heat and anger. A little girl?
"You don't think this was…?" My mum began, her voice quavering a bit. I gave a curt nod, and her face crumpled. "Lily, maybe it's not the best idea if you go back…at least until it's safer…" She looked at me with pleading eyes.
I looked at her warily. We had this conversation before. "Mum, you know I have to go back. I can't leave—my friends—they're in danger, everyone's in danger. I can't leave Alice or Emmeline—or Remus!"
My mum's face turned stony. "And what about us, Lily? How can you expect us to just...to just ship you off to school like nothing's wrong?" Her voice was shaking now, and she looked like she was fighting back tears. "You say everyone's in danger—you know that doesn't just mean your friends! It means you, too!"
"I'm aware of that, thank you," I replied coldly. "But, as I've told you repeatedly—it's much safer for me to be at Hogwarts than here, which is why—" I looked at my mom, taking a deep breath. "—which is why I think you and Dad and Tun—Petunia should really consider going into hiding. Or at least take advantage of Dumbledore's protection!"
Mum waved her hand impatiently at me. "We can't just up and leave, Lily. We have responsibilities—your father and I. We don't have unlimited money, we…we have to keep doing our jobs. We have to keep working. But Lily, dear—" The quiver in her voice now took on a tone of begging. She looked at me, every line in her face expressing fear. "If you could just stay with us, we could at least see you…know that you're safe…protect you…"
"Mum," I held up a hand, stopping her. "You can't protect me anymore. Not against this. This stuff—it's dark magic, Mum. Darker than you—than I—can possibly comprehend. But if I just sit at home, uneducated and unprotected, trying to dodge a couple Killing Curses thrown my way—I'll be the one in the next Sunday paper, cause of death unknown. I need to be out there. Not yet, not until I finish school but—that's where I'm heading, Mum. I'm going to help stop him. It's—it's what I need to do."
There was a moment of heated silence between us, and I could feel my heart pounding louder against my rib cage. Her eyes were sparkling with tears, and her lips pursed tight. She looked a bit like Petunia, which was to say, frightful. She opened her mouth and for a moment I thought she was going to scream at me or maybe even hit me. I wasn't prepared for her to burst into tears—loud, noisy sobs, as she gasped for breath and said "We—" she sniffed, "Your dad and I—we're just—so—proud—"
I got up immediately and wrapped my arms around her, as she cried loudly into my shoulder. I patted her on the back until I heard her breath start to even. She pulled away, and looked at me, her green eyes red and wet.
"Be careful," she whispered, as I wiped a tear from her cheek. "Please, Lily, promise me you'll be careful."
I nodded silently, and a slow smile crept on to her face. "You've grown so much, Lily." She placed a stray red curl behind my ear, and kissed my forehead, before standing up. "I'm going to go find your father, dear. It's nearly twelve and he promised he'd go to the market today to pick up some groceries."
I followed her up the stairs, but turned into my room instead of continuing to the end of the hallway where my dad was sleeping. I plopped down on the bed, and looked around the room, and began to think.
Mum never gets that emotional over anything, I mused, leaning back on my bed. Perhaps she and Dad really do understand that…well…I might not come back here. I was trying to push the thought out of my head when a familiar loud screech came from my window. In a split second, a large, regal looking onyx colored owl stood perched at my windowsill, carrying a rolled up Daily Prophet and two small letters.
Although I was desperate for news, I immediately tossed aside the Prophet onto my bed. The Ministry was keen on making it seem as though the whole Death Eater situation was under the Ministry's control, and the Prophet basically catered to the Ministry's beck and call. So, knowing the Prophet would be frustratingly sparse of any real news, I looked to my letters.
One was written in familiar handwriting—Alice's, it was safe to assume. I couldn't help but smile, although I did feel a twinge of sadness that I hadn't seen my best friend in almost three weeks. The last time that she had Apparated into my house gave Tuney such a fright, I thought she'd nearly wet herself. And shortly after that, she'd gone on holiday with her family to Morocco, and had surely been busy tanning on the beach while her family tried desperately to behave like Muggles.
But the other letter caught my eye—a slanted, messy scrawl that I couldn't quite place. And though I was desperate to hear if Alice had any news, curiosity took hold of me, and I quickly opened the second letter.
Miss me yet? I'm sure the past month without me has been absolutely excruciating, so I won't write too much about my summer (wouldn't want to make your longing for me any worse, eh, Evans?) other than that Padfoot and I are officially housemates—I got him to write your name on the back of this letter so that you'd open it. Moony and Pete are here visiting for the next week or so, so do feel free to drop by and grace us all with your lovely presence.
P.S. Hexing someone via post is extremely unkind…luckily I got Wormtail to open your last letter for me.
I hissed with annoyance as I threw aside Potter's obnoxious note. Of course he enlisted Black in his never-ending quest to badger me into going out with him. While every girl in the school seemed to throw themselves at Potter's feet, I knew better. The only reason he kept chasing me was because I was the only one who said no, and I certainly wasn't going to give into his childish tactics of trying to gain my attention.
Thoroughly annoyed, I picked up Alice's letter, hoping to find something a little less…infuriating in her letter.
This past week has been absolutely fantastic! We went to the Ministry's embassy the other day, and got recommendations to all of the tourist attractions for magic folk. Yesterday we went to this beautiful enchanted forest that had this lovely river with this absolutely stunning waterfall—we went down it on boats that had this special sort of charm on it, and didn't even get wet! It was absolutely fantastic.
The Muggle beaches are lovely, as well, although it would be much more fun if you were here. Luckily there are enough attractive Muggle boys around to keep me entertained! Speaking of boys, I've been exchanging letters with Frank Longbottom quite frequently…he might visit me sometime while we're here, which would be quite lovely.
Anyway, tell me more about what's going on at home? Is Petunia still awful? You do know that you're a witch, right? Meaning you can Apparate just about anywhere you'd like…
I must get going, but I miss you so much Lils! Keep me posted on what's going on at home. I haven't had much time to keep up with the news.
I laughed as I tucked her letter safely into my desk drawer, and pulled out a bit of spare parchment to begin to write her back. I was very interested to hear more about Frank Longbottom, and how she slipped him into her letter so cavalierly…
But she didn't know any news. My heart sank a little, knowing that she was one of my few connections to the rest of the Wizard world while I was at home. Not that my parents forbade me from seeing them—oh, no, it wasn't like that at all. But, my parents missed having me around while I was at Hogwarts, and for all I knew my time with them was limited. Lily, stop, I scolded myself, it hasn't come to that yet. Don't think that way.
Still, I was desperate to hear more than the lies of the Prophet. I looked blankly at the piece of parchment before a lightbulb went off in my head. Of course—Remus!
Quickly, I began to compose my letter, hopeful that I'd be able to get it to him by the end of the day if I wrote quickly enough.
How are you? I hope you're summer's been quite well! Though I daresay if Potter is keeping you hostage at his house, it isn't likely.
My summer has been exceptionally dull thus far. Mum and Dad are reminding me every moment they can that they think I'm a nutter for wanting to go back to Hogwarts this fall, and Petunia thinks I'm a nutter regardless. Needless to say, I'm anxious to get back, although things have been much quieter around here.
I set down my quill for a moment, wondering how I should phrase the next half of my letter. I didn't want to seem too concerned—although, of course I was—but I couldn't have him worrying for me, either. My friends were already overly concerned about me, as a Muggle Born, and I didn't want him to think that I was worried as well.
I've been trying to keep up with some of the Muggle news, as the Daily Prophet is pretty much rubbish these days. Disappearances and deaths, everywhere…even my Mum is starting to worry. I reckon it's him, but I am shocked as to how he can attack so…out in the open. A Muggle family? A little girl?
I'm wondering if you've heard anything, anything at all…I'm just a bit cut off here and Alice is vacationing in Morocco for the rest of the week.
Anyway, Remus, let me know about your summer, and how you are! Your letters are always my favorite to read.
P.S. Tell your friend, Potter, that if he isn't careful I might just have to come over and hex him in person.
I read over the letter once more, hoping that I didn't sound too concerned. Hopefully Remus wouldn't try to read between the lines, although I knew from experience that he always did. Carefully, I folded the letter, and wrote his name carefully on the outside of the parchment.
"Zephyr," I said to my beautiful owl, perched expectantly on my window sill, "Find Remus and give this to him, will you? I expect he'll be at…James Potter's house." I shuddered, and looked apologetically at Zephyr, who would inevitably have to deal with Potter.
Zephyr took the letter in his beak, hooted gently as I pet his head, and fluttered gracefully out the window. Hopefully Remus will write quickly, I thought as I flopped back on my bed. The temperature was beginning to rise again, and the heat was making me very tired. I shut my eyes for a moment and felt myself slowly drift into sleep…
I woke with a start, nearly jumping out of bed. The sun was still outside my window, so I glanced at the clock—only 3:30? I'd been asleep only an hour, and I wondered what could have woken me. But then, I heard it again—an ear-splitting scream coming just from downstairs. I jumped out of bed and bounded out of my bedroom.