I wrote this as a gift fic for Florahart as part of the Snarry Holidays fest 2008.

Disclaimer: Is not, never was, never will be, mine

The White Road

by Perverse Idyll

"Who is the third who walks always beside you?
When I count, there are only you and I together
But when I look ahead up the white road
There is always another one walking beside you…

– But who is that on the other side of you?"

T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land

Chapter One

The first time Lily sees her son naked with Severus Snape, she changes the channel with such a furious snap of her wrist that the scenes of her life spin into a nauseating blur before her eyes.

Blasted magical gadget. Her son's life is not a serial, ta ever so. It's not a bloody porn flick.

dark, flat nipple on white skin, wet flash of tongue

Oh, bugger.

Except when it is.

It started like this. Several weeks before, Albus had found her sitting at the edge of the playground sifting the hot sand with her bare toes. James was off refereeing yet another awkward meeting between Sirius and his younger brother. The sun was beating down, and a gritty, sweet odour, almost like chalk, pervaded the air. The blaze of light on the sandy waves made the grains glitter like the sea. When the leather seats got a gentle push from the breeze, the chains of the swingset mewed and creaked. Lily's heart creaked with them. This wistful ache of memory was the main reason she liked to sit there.

She'd sensed Albus's presence but, in the midst of that honey-laden, summery peace, had only propped her chin up and smiled a vague invitation for him to join her. His shadow eclipsed the sun, then a heavy golden ball landed in her lap. At that, she glanced up – the white of his hair was giving way to streaks of auburn, and there were moments when her mind scrambled to catch up and remember who this youthful stranger was. The Grindelwald effect, she and James had dubbed it. That cat-eyed, mellifluous snake had even had a chastening influence on Albus's wardrobe. Oh, he was still gaudier than your average wizard, but lately the colours actually matched.

Curious, Lily hefted the ball, squinting at the double row of tiny, inscribed numerals. The device looked rather like a gold-plated model of the planet Saturn, only its rings weren't as wide.

"There's some very fine viewing to be had, my dear," Albus had said, smiling as if he'd just made perfect sense. "If you feel like watching the telly, that is."

The only television Lily remembers is the one that used to stare out of the fake-mahogany cabinet with fussily carved side-doors and shallow, dusty end-shelves that had been delivered by lorry one day when she was about seven. A long, cumbersome crate had been deposited, with a splintery boom, on her mum's Arabian carpet (bought during a liquidation sale from one of those import markets that are often, as she discovered later, run by Squibs). Lily's father had loosened his tie and proceeded to have a rare old time wielding a crowbar on the packing materials before he nipped to the fridge for a cold one and back to spend a happy hour sweating over the wires and hook-ups. That night Mum had stripped the plastic sheeting off the sofa so they could all pile on and make a tour of the channels, cooing over the colour episodes and getting fussed at the latest Coronation Street. Mum had spoken her mind about letting the girls watch, but Tuney had whinged and bargained like a pro, and if Tuney was going to get her way, then by God so was Lily.

This is the same hulking monstrosity on which, curled on the vinyl sofa in the serenity beyond death, alone among her family to have crossed beyond the veil – not counting James, of course – she watches the soap opera that was once her life.

Lying sideways on the sofa one endless afternoon, Lily fools with the silver band above the gold-filigreed ring that conjures the channels and sees the picture jump. Suddenly she's not in it anymore. Harry is. And just like that, she discovers that she can watch Harry's life, too. James is a different combination of silver and gold; it's all in how she manipulates the controls. Lily's got her own channel, and so has James, but Harry trumps them both.

There's a black band as well, located under the silver and gold. A ring of shadow. Bugger if she can figure out what it does.

The gold ring sports more than a hundred channels. Twenty-one of them correspond to the years of her life, and she can go forward or backward as she pleases. She can slot it into number one on the silver band, tune in and watch herself do nothing for hours. Or she can adjust the silver band and spy on the child she left behind.

But not on him having sex with – well, anyone, to be honest, because what mother would? But especially not with a man twice his age. Not a homely, cold-blooded, Dark-stained bastard with thin lips and a nose like a treacherous shoal that would spell shipwreck for the most innocent kiss. Not Snivellus fucking Snape.

long, bony fingers, callus-rough, like the tines of a pitchfork buried in Harry's fringe of black hair

Swearing, Lily smacks the dial to stop the wild rotation of numbers and bats the golden Saturn right off her lap. It twinkles across the floor until it fetches up against a high-heeled sandal with a plastic heart over the toe-straps (Tuney's) and wobbles to a stop, the number 13 floating languidly on the surface. On her own frequency, that would simply be a record of her thirteenth year. No picture comes up, though, because she's using the station navigator and she's always stopped at number three. That's quite enough, thank you. Because the level of personal detail is a bit – well, to say it violates privacy is an understatement. Maybe someday she'll venture beyond her immediate family, but she's not that desperate for entertainment yet. There are some things it's better not to know.

Like the fact that her son is off his bloody nut.

What the hell was Snape doing with his robes peeled away, his erection quivering like a dowsing rod pointed straight at Harry? And Merlin, what was Harry doing, what hex could possibly compel him to fasten his young mouth onto Snape's tainted body? Severus Snape should not appear anywhere in Harry's life except as a villain, in Harry's future except as a detested memory.

She wants to yell for James, to throw things – ruddy sharp things – at Dumbledore, storm back into the world and kick Severus in the bollocks. She can't believe he'd seduce her baby, her little boy. She can't believe Harry would let him. Slimy pervy bastard, touching her son.

With a violent shake of her head that does nothing to dislodge the image of Harry leaning forward to run his tongue over Severus's nipple, Lily jumps from the sofa to retrieve the dial and snap off the telly. In her haste, she trips over Petunia's other sandal, Accios it, and stoops for the channel-changer. Blinking hard, she nudges the sandals together, lining them up, calming herself with this small domestic gesture. It's odd how many trivial details of her childhood find their way into this make-believe living room.

She levels a glare at the telly, forbidding stark-naked Severus and his rude willy to desecrate her screen again.

The tube's surface is black; she must still be on the frequency associated with the silver band. Since she's channel one, James two, and Harry three, it's likely thirteen is a void.

My, but Severus's skin looked childishly pale. And his ribs will evidently stick out for all eternity. At Hogwarts, he was greedy about food but forever dyspeptic, unable to finish what was on his plate. She remembers the phials of homebrewed potions he brought to every meal, his shrugging admission that they helped settle his stomach. And those scars? No surprise there. She has a fair idea how he must have come by them. And was there a circle of hair around each nipple? As a boy, he was never much prone to taking his shirt off, but she's sure his chest used to be hairless. Merlin, that was a long time ago. His body's still smooth, angular but not so reminiscent of a stick insect now, and distinctly younger than his face –

What the devil are you on about, you silly witch?

Face hot, Lily almost chucks the dial at the console. Instead she squeezes it, and the screen flares to life. Startled, she just manages not to fall on her arse. The picture flickers, stabilizes, but it's so unrelievedly black that she guesses it was only some sort of power surge. Then the staticky speakers emit a gurgling, choking sound, and she realizes that the blackness is more condensed in the middle of the screen. Also, it's moving. She can see pale smears.

Crouched, the golden ball clutched to her chest like a snared snitch, Lily frowns at the coalescing image of (bastard, horrible racist loser, Death Eater) Snape sprawled out on his back, a dim figure centred in the picture tube.

Thank Merlin for small mercies, he's no longer naked. Self-dramatizing git never outgrew his obsession with black robes, apparently. They're spread across a dirty plank floor, in near-darkness. Cautiously, her stomach unknots. Harry's not there, under Imperius or otherwise. Severus, looking careworn and middle-aged, lies alone, his face twisted in –

She leans forward and the knot returns with a vengeance. Agony. He's in agony.

Lily's eyes close and open, click-click, like a doll with movable lids, as if one blink of denial can wipe away what she's seeing. But Severus remains, and there's blood – a lot of it, all over his face, his clothes – everywhere, blood's everywhere, and his thin, still-beautiful hands gleam, slick red gloves that clutch his torn throat as he tries to staunch the wound.

He's dying. The conviction slams into her, harder than the bludger that knocked her off her broomstick and into the infirmary her fourth year. Just like that, the sterile walls of serenity in which she's sheltered for more than a decade crack around her. Old memories dribble in, laced with pain.

Turn it off, she tells herself. But she doesn't do that, and she doesn't look away. The pain spreads, and to her own astonishment she starts to weep, jerkily, like a distraught teenager, holding her stomach in fear that she might throw up. Her cheeks are wet with a scalding rain, and within seconds she's coughing phlegm. Merlin. The depth of her grief stuns her. She's forgotten how horrible it feels.

Outside, Sirius's motorcycle farts and growls – more than once, Lily's been grateful that she can summon her parents' house and put a roof between them – and she hears James laugh derisively. She'd bet money that he's practicing daredevil stunts on his Zephyr ten-speed, putting his all into impressing his old schoolmate. Surprising, really, that they still behave as if turning somersaults in mid-air is the same as risking life and limb, since nothing they do now can hurt them. Their laddish shouts and competitive bickering float in through the window, where muslin curtains lift and settle lazily in the breeze.

Bugger it, why is she in here on her knees mourning this creep? Sobbing aloud, Lily covers her mouth to stifle the shameful sounds. Damn it. Damn Severus to hell. He shouldn't be able to make her cry like this. He betrayed her, remember? He was the one who gave Voldemort an excuse to hunt them down. He almost got Harry killed. She should hate him. She does hate him. She was right to spurn the greasy little bastard in school. Just like James always said, he was destined to become a typical Slytherin, a vicious, violent wizard.

Bent on converting this awful feeling to a cold, hard sense that justice has been done, she rocks her misery like a baby.

Then Harry tiptoes into the picture, wan, dirty, clearly out of his element, and Lily's grief freezes in her chest. She chokes off her tears, because this is the antidote to her foolish sorrow: Harry in danger.

At sight of the boy, Snape's eyes widen with some desperate, indefinable emotion. Lily panics. Why is the picture so dim? She tries to will it brighter, but the shadows camped out in the decrepit little room come between her and her son.

The dying man on the floor shudders with effort as Harry kneels over him; a thin river of blood empties from the side of his mouth. Lily shouts, "For Merlin's sake, stay back!" because Snape's not dead yet, and even in this condition, who knows what he might not do?

Shiny red in the middle of the screen, his long, wet hands reach up and yank Harry down.

"No!" Frantic with revulsion, refusing to let those bloody fingers stain her child's soul, Lily spins the rings on the golden ball with such fury that she cuts one finger on an imperfection in the silver band. Her own blood seeps out and stains the dial. But she gets what she wants: Severus whips out of sight, and the images jump maniacally. She rubs, but a red thumbprint stays stubbornly on the golden surface.

Fumbling, she blinks at the numbers through damp lashes. It's got to be here, the combination that will show her Harry's other future. His real future. She's seen it, she knows she has.

Abruptly a young woman's face swims into view, red-haired and sharp-featured, and the picture pulls back to show her shepherding two boys down a Hogsmeade lane. Older and more solid, almost stodgy in his Ministry robes, Harry follows with a toddler in his arms. Lily hangs her head and takes a breath, then reaches up and outlines Harry's face with one finger. He looks . . she can't quite translate the subtle changes to her own satisfaction. Both complacent and queasy at once, like a man who's gorged himself on all the things denied him as a boy, only to find he hasn't the stomach for them. Well-fed but bothered with chronic indigestion. The redhead is briskly affectionate, downright managerial, and they seem to have a nice tag-team way of dealing with their rambunctious older boy. Lily can't see Harry's eyes behind his glasses, but she's cheered by the way he swings the little girl into the air and busses her soundly before handing her off to his wife.

black hair threaded with white falling around a scarred throat, head tilted back as one worn, thin hand cups Harry's head, the tip of Harry's tongue extended to tease a nipple

Shite. This could become a serious problem.

Swallowing, Lily makes careful note of the settings on the dial, then clicks it off. The picture shrivels to a pinpoint with a crackling whine, and the screen goes dead. She pockets the golden ball as she rises, wiping her face dry. She'll come back later to watch Harry with his family; it's just the thing to help banish that shocking and obviously false vision of Harry reaching for Severus as if – Merlin, she can't even finish the thought without gagging. A unicorn stumbling on a virgin in the Slytherin dorms is more believable than Harry ever wanting that.

(Although, her mind pipes up, it's not too much of a stretch to imagine Severus escaping Hogwarts with his virginity intact; most girls, herself included, wrote him off as too nervy and strange, dipped in darkness like a quill in ink.)

No. Let's face facts. Snape's going to die. That's all there is to it. Harry's going to father several children by a red-haired witch and be a force in the Ministry. Lily's seen it; she has no reason to doubt it. Severus Snape will never have the chance to pick open his buttons and slide out of his robes to seduce – debauch – to do anything to Harry Potter. Harry will never – oh, sod it, he just won't. For Merlin's sake, this is all some bizarre error on the part of the universe.

Anyway, he's entirely the wrong person.

Lily feels a bit better about the dizzying series of images that have left her heartsick and distracted. Right now, though, she craves fresh air. Maybe she'll wave the boys down and insist that James land so she can hop on behind. Riding piggyback on a broomstick, arms wound tight around her husband, will do her a world of good.

As she bangs the door shut behind her, the house pops out of existence like a soap bubble.

There are more lives than she thought possible on the gold band. It's not just her, not just James and Harry. Well, of course. It makes sense. The silver band permits glimpses into her mother and father's past, glimpses of Sirius and Remus in their prime, of Petunia, Dumbledore.

Even Snape. It just figures, doesn't it, that he'd be number thirteen.

But it's more than that. Once locked into a channel, the gold band stays fixed. The silver band allows her to riffle through the years.

The black band reveals things that haven't happened yet. That might never happen. That, in some cases, should never be allowed to happen.

She debates telling James about the new gadget and the voyeuristic telly, but he's enjoying a second adolescence with Sirius and Regulus after years of having only Lily to knock about with. Of course, their version of knocking was sweet and sexy and companionable, but perhaps not as exciting as James might have wished. Now he's all bouncy and boyish again and Lily's left alone a great deal, so she decides to continue watching on the quiet. Not forever, but it's nice to have something all to herself for a bit. Dumbledore hasn't asked how she's getting on, but he twinkles at an exasperating rate when they cross paths. Lily can't help but feel twitchy about his omniscient attitude. What she does behind closed doors and all that. Although she supposes she owes it to him and therefore ought to feel grateful.

One morning she goes for a swim in the nearby lake. Afterwards, clad only in a dark red bikini and one of James's shirts, she heads for the meadow where she generally conjures the house, and Albus appears in her path. The green-tinted shadows of the trees cool his robe's random glitter, pattern its silk with curious symbols. He resembles the wild green man of the woods, sly and strange and imbued with old magic. His hair shines coppery in the chlorophyll twilight. He's cradling something in both arms, something covered with a frayed pink blanket, and his chin is held high, his glasses impenetrable with leafy reflections. Then he tilts his head down and peers over them.

Lily, in sandals, lisps to a stop, and Albus smiles, bouncing the bundle while she buttons her shirt, uncomfortable to be half-naked in his presence. "Well met, my dear. Shall we walk a short way? I'd like you to meet Tom."

He pinches a fold of blanket and lifts it up to reveal a small, squinched face. Lily bends forward, then straightens with a jerk. "Heavens. Poor little sprog. What's wrong with him?"

The baby's face is raw and scabby, scrunched reddish-purple with temper and pain.

"In this case? Hard to say. In a larger sense, of course, everything's wrong. And yet I can't actually determine the cause. As a consequence, however, little Tom here is tetchy and ill humoured most of the time and needs constant looking after. I was wondering if you – "

"Tom?" As the pieces fall into place, Lily's voice climbs an octave, with a screechy edge that makes her sound a lot like Tuney. "As in, Tom Riddle? You want me to help you take care of a blasted baby Voldemort?" She scuttles back in alarm and doesn't add, although her tone implies it, Have you lost your bloody mind?

"Well." Unruffled, Albus turns away. Dead leaves swirl outward from the hem of his robes as he begins to stroll along the winding path through the woods. Lily finds she can't really refuse to follow, although her heart pounds as if she's been asked to do something life-threatening. "He isn't actually a Dark Lord in his present condition," Albus lectures genially. "In fact, he's more a life in potentia, if you take my meaning. That's why he's here. He's neither alive nor dead, and he could shift states at any moment. Pure possibility in naked infant form." He shoots her a sharp look. "But quite diseased, as you see."

Lily hurries along beside him, wrestling with her temper. Her wet hair annoys her by streaking the blue cotton shirt with drips, so she dries herself with a thought and then, surrendering to necessity, transfigures her outfit. There. She's decent now. Albus doesn't acknowledge her inward battle or outward transformation, except to walk for some distance in benign silence.

That's when Lily notices they've got company. Off to one side, flickering between tree trunks and underbrush, another figure keeps pace, gliding noiselessly on a parallel track. Tawny hair glows like gold coins in dappled sunlight, and if he's attempting to conceal himself at all, he's certainly doing a crap job of it.

"The reason I'm asking you to help," Dumbledore remarks at last, tugging his sleeve free of the twigs overgrowing the path, "is that this pitiful – figment – is also part of Harry."

Lily stops in her tracks with a squeal of breath, mouth working, aware that Dumbledore's robes have ceased rustling as he pauses on the path to wait her out. Dry leaves crunch on for a step or two before Grindelwald falls still. She feels his sly, amused gaze observing her through the stained-glass patterns of the leaves. Birdsong loops through the canopy, and feathered shadows flash by. Her mind races from one dreadful implication to the next. Merlin forgive her. She loathes Tom Riddle with every fibre of her being. What she feels for Snape is microscopic compared to her boiling hatred of Voldemort. She would grind him underfoot if she could, snap every bone in his body to prevent him hurting Harry. She would do anything.

But for him to be part of – for him to actually be Harry –

Eyes wet, insides quaking with horror, she stares at Dumbledore and realizes for one terrifying, world-shaking moment, that it's possible to hate him, too.

"Don't take on so," the old – or rather, not so old – man murmurs, slim hand patting a blanket-covered bottom. Even so, it's hard to tell whether he's cajoling the petulant child in his arms or Lily herself. When she drags her feet forward, chest aching too painfully for coherent speech, he gives her a sympathetic nod. At least he doesn't dare to pat her bottom. Sometimes she thinks Albus's compassion merely sugar-coats the poison he hands out like candy.

"My dear," he says, confirming her theory, "do me a favour, would you, and hold the little fellow for a bit? My arms are quite tired from toting him all about the grounds."

She doesn't want to, and yet she does. She tries to imagine this sickly creature coiled like a cyst inside her son, and doesn't say a word when Albus lowers him into her stiff embrace. It's as if the baby's skin's been peeled away. Revolting. He whimpers as she shifts him around to ensure that no part of her comes in contact with his sores (I could drop him, throw him, I could dig a hole and bury him in it when Albus isn't looking). His runny eyes track back and forth in helpless dismay, his tiny, starfish fingers tangled in the blanket's soft weave. Through its fuzzy pink covering, his shrunken body twitches and trembles.

"What do you want me to do?" Lily demands, her voice raw, as Albus leads the way onward.

"Look after him from time to time, nothing more." When she blinks, confused by the modesty of his request, Albus says gently, "Did you think I would ask you to assume the role of his surrogate mother? Fear not, child. Tom is my responsibility. My own fallible decisions fathered this mistake. I may not have brought him into the world, but I can hardly deny that I set him loose upon it. I've merely come to you for help because – well, as you can no doubt imagine, he's a handful, and needs more attention than I alone can give him."

A brilliant shaft of sunlight slots through the murmuring, jasmine-scented treetops. As they pass through, the baby curls his miniscule fists against his face and starts to cry. Lily hushes and jiggles him, appalled by the patches of peeling skin on his chubby arms. They re-enter the shade, and Tom subsides into exhausted snuffling.

"Oh, all right," Lily says, disturbed and yet unable to turn away this fragment of a soul, never mind that it's evil incarnate. "I suppose I – tell you what, I'll look after him while I'm watching the telly. Will that suit? I'm mostly just sitting there, and I might as well sit with him. But I'd rather not involve James or Sirius for the time being. Let me be the one to explain to them that Harry's – that this creature – just let me break it to James myself, if you don't mind."

"I wouldn't dream of interfering," Albus lies with a straight face. They emerge from the woods, and lo, there stands Lily's old house, with the ivy twining round it and the diamond-paned front windows and eccentric chimney pots. She hasn't summoned it, and she'd like to point out that it's rather rude of him to take it upon himself.

Grindelwald, the most beautiful of them all, steps forth and assumes a stance beneath a chestnut tree, examining her sanctuary with evident, if slightly bored, interest.

Annoyed with them both, Lily stomps up the path, props Tom on her hip, fumbles the door open, and slams it behind her.

She gets the baby settled, transfiguring a bassinet out of an end table stuffed with her mum's fashion and housekeeping mags. Tom watches her solemnly, snot dribbling from his nose. She cleans him with two brusque flicks of her wand – predictably, he cries – then wedges herself into a corner of the sofa, bare feet tucked under her. Merlin, she needs a distraction. She spins the dial on her own channel, and watches herself give birth to a blood-shiny, magnificent baby boy of her own. It makes her teary-eyed to watch. Right, well, she and Tom can cry together.

On a whim, she resets the channel and sits through her own birth again, her mum in hospital scrubs under a white sheet with her feet in stirrups and a squalling, prune-skinned infant popping out of her. It's amazing. Lily clicks and clicks, smiling at herself as a jam-smeared toddler, a red-haired girl on a swing, a teenager scurrying through the halls of Hogwarts, a girl shining and alive with magic, laughing, happy in her overlapping worlds, tossing her hair and putting her hands on her hips and drawing boys to her like flies to honey.

One particular boy slides into view, underfed and beak-faced, bearing an unfortunate resemblance to a moody hippogriff. Scarcely a moment passes before she rounds the corner and his whole face kindles with eagerness. Their eyes meet, but a gaggle of Gryffindors clatters in her wake, and Lily watches as the chattering group clomps right past Severus as if he's merely a gargoyle in an alcove. She doesn't see his reaction, because the telly shows her teenaged self and her dorm mates all heading for the Tower stairs.

She kills the picture and rests her forehead in one hand. She can hear the baby bubbling as he breathes.


It can muck about with your life, even when you're not the one having it. She doesn't know what to think about that bizarre encounter between Snape and Harry. She wishes she didn't think about it. But her prurient mind won't let it go. Some days it takes all her willpower to resist the urge to go looking for it again. Really, she didn't see much, and it's terrible of her to want to see more. But she simply can't believe it. Of course, she can imagine how it would look if she just happened to track down her son having sex – and he can lark around as much as he likes, it's merely Snape she objects to – and Albus chose that day to pop in for a visit.

Which raises the question: does Albus have a telly or some equivalent device that enables him to watch the same futures she sees? It crosses Lily's mind to ask him about the uncanny and discomforting function of the black ring, but she's afraid he'll trick her into admitting what bothers her so much about the future. After all, in every one she's seen so far, Harry survives the Dark Lord.

"Well, in this future my son's gay and he's fooling around with the Death-Eating bastard who sold us to Voldemort." Somehow, she doubts Albus would condone that assessment. He's far too forgiving of immoral fuck-ups - witness Grindelwald. But then, since arriving here Albus has tried on more than one occasion to intimate that Snape's not as awful as he's cracked up to be.

long unsunned back, ribs nudging through shallow stretches of muscle, like a snow-covered view around the indented river of his spine

She sighs. One of the benefits of giving in (once or twice, no more than that) to the impulse to search for sexual proof is that it's led her to explore the actual future Harry will have once he's defeated the threat to the Wizarding World. The future he deserves. Scenes of marriage, children, domesticity. Harry with his arm around a freckle-faced girl. Harry distracting a fussy baby with a musical toy snitch. Harry and his wife and a dozen friends zigzagging around the sky, playing games of pick-up Quidditch. Harry ducking the yellow energy of a curse, aiming his wand in retaliation. Harry and Hagrid and Minerva McGonagall conversing together before a white tomb, while behind them groups of children in student robes skitter about, untouched by the past.

Harry crouched, his robes trailing on the ground, a small glass bottle in his hand, as he pours a potion – no, something silvery that dissipates like steam – into the grass of an untended grave.

Memories? Whose? She backtracks and this time catches the name carved on the headstone. She should have guessed. She doesn't look at the death date.

Her initial sight of this infinitely preferable existence, the life that will save Harry from Snape's sordid clutches, startles her at first. Not as badly as the sight of Harry hungering to lick Snape's skin. No, nothing so depraved. A mere momentary lapse. Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that the slender, red-haired witch and the black-haired wizard with the cock-eyed specs were – well, it sounds ridiculous, but she mistook them for herself and James. For a blink and a breath, she actually thought her son was her husband.

The splitscreen confusion of identities lasted less than second, but she spun the dial and blushed, glad no Legilimens was around to eavesdrop on her mistake.

All it means, of course, is that Harry's looking for echoes of his mum in another woman. It's nice that he finds red hair appealing, that it holds nothing but good memories for him. Harry's wife, it turns out, is one of Arthur and Molly's brood. Lily can't remember whether the girl was even born yet the year she and James died. Still, the resemblance to every other Weasley is impossible to miss.

And yet she did.