D: Harry Potter is property of JK Rowling. The story line, original characters and random references to Beatles songs are property of Kait Hobbit. Thanks to SarRansom for being my amazing beta. You are amazing my dear friend. Thank You. Further Disclaimer, this is the second volume of my trilogy Dried Lilies. If you are a first time reader, welcome. You're invited to read volume one, but if you want to dive right on in, welcome to 1978 England, Death Eaters are everywhere and people are falling in love—please carry on.
AN: I was going to save this for Christmas but it just came back from the Beta and figured a Pre-Christmas gift is just as good. Just by way of heads up, This Chapter occurs the week before the final Chapter of Dried Lilies: Morning Lily. To be perfectly honest, when I wrote last chapter, I didn't realize it'd be a while before I got to write for James again and I couldn't help it…and Sirius needed to give something to Lily after all…
"Mum, I already packed that," James moaned as he stood in the front entry of his parent's Salisbury Manor. The early rays of sunlight were spreading from the east, bringing the start of another day, and such a day it was to be. After a year of planning and weeks of knowing, today was the day, he was going to the Auror Academy.
"Sunny, go upstairs and fetch Master James his razor will you? The nice one Master Charlie gave him last Christmas" the stout Dorea Potter ordered the young House elf, ignoring her son's protests as she did so. "I don't care if you say you already packed one, you'll need a new blade in a few months Jamie, I won't have you parading through the Auror Academy looking like a banshee."
"It'll help him during disguise training my darling Dori," her husband Charlus quipped, setting down his newspaper as he joined his wife and son's. "Besides, a week as a Banshee might do James good. I hear they have excellent eye sight"
"If you ask me Charlie, he could probably pull that off too well, you know, they supposedly have this smell about them" Sirius smirked from the opposite side of the room, tossing a wink James way. "You know it's true yourself Prongsie."
James had told his parents there was no need to get up in the morning and he'd be able to just Aparate to the location the Auror Department had disclosed to him in the mail yesterday. He had regretted telling his mother almost immediately after the words escaped from his mouth. Dorea had then proceeded over dinner to say that after "the rough pregnancy, and fifteen hours worth of labor to bring you into this world, I have every right to see you off to something that could take you out of this world."
The little house elf came down from the stairs gingerly carrying a box that kept the good shaving kit. "Thank you Sunny," James smiled at the little elf and tried to shove the box into his small suitcase.
"Don't, you'll scratch it," his mother tutted. If he didn't know better, he'd suppose his normally cheerful mother was disappointed in her only son for entering the Auror Department. But beneath the short fuses and cross eye brows, he could see that underneath the wrinkles and white hair still in curlers, there was his mum brimming with pride.
"You know I'll be back for Christmas Mum," he reassured her once the kit had been tenderly put in. "You and dad can't get rid of me that easily."
'Get Rid of' possibly hadn't been his best choice of words either as he felt his sixty three year old mother's arms encase his middle. He looked at his father, just as old with his messy white hair, who gave him a look of sympathy. Sirius on the other hand, looked away as though he too was struggling with some thought.
"Owl us when you can," his mother said, finally releasing him from her touch. "And L-Lily, write her too," she chocked back. "In fact, she's the only one you're allowed to write before us."
"Dori," his father chuckled "Absence does make the heart grow fonder."
"Yes, and absence also leads to some other bloke making a move!" Dorea answered, "You seem to forget that I had several offers for marriage when you went off on your training hurrah!"
"Not too late to reconsider this vocational prospect," Sirius jumped in quickly, "Moony and I would love to have you in the flat…"
"Don't worry James," his father counseled, setting his hand on his sons shoulder, "It only took a couple dates for your mother to talk them out of marriage prospects," as Charlus too embraced his son. "Be careful James, and whatever you do, don't put your wand in your back pocket."
James gave a weak smile and lifted up the suitcase. That, along with his rucksack was filled with all he needed for the next six months. He looked at his parents and his near brother one more time before he opened the door. "I…I love you both," he told them. "I'll see you at Christmas?" He hadn't meant for it to sound like a question, but a sudden fear of what was to happen once he opened the door took over and his bravery took flight as fear took a hold of him.
"We'll still be here son," his father promised, wrapping an arm around his wife he gave his son a of confidence nod " Grey hair and all".
With a small shadow of hesitation in his step, James opened the door and walked down the path to the front of the yard. "Here I'll walk with you," Sirius said quickly, "Just like old times."
The two Marauders journeyed down the steps and past the lovingly planted rose bushes his mother had grown as long as he could remember. He could hear his mother shuffling across the wood floor to look from the doorway along with the more patient step of his father. The sunlight was spreading across the morning horizon, gently kissing the dew covered yards.
"Be careful James!" his mother called out, "Make sure you pay attention! If Alastor's teaching a lesson its because its very important!"
"If Moody's teaching it means he's looking for talent so play your part well," Sirius whispered with a chuckle.
James turned around with what he hoped was a courageous, almost mischievous smile, "I will mum!"
"Don't forget you can write us about anything!" Dorea called, emotion catching in her voice. "Anything! Roommates, food, how to propose to Lil—"
"I won't forget," he called now only a few steps from the gates, a blush only his mother could command rising in his cheeks.
"Jamie, We love you!" Was the last he heard before disappearing through the gates and the tall hedges.
James and Sirius paused for a minute once they'd disappeared from the yard. "I'll keep an eye on them," Sirius promised, as though he could sense what James was thinking. "You're mum's already invited Moony and I for Sunday Super for the next three months. We'll make sure they're all right. She's hell bent for it, mentioned having Lily over a few times."
"Thanks Padfoot," James answered, with a phantom smile. "When the weather starts to turn, will you remind Sunny she needs to rotate their medicine out? And if she could find a second house elf around October, you know how mum gets with her gardening."
Sirius rolled his eyes, "I don't know whose the bigger worry wart, you or Dori Potter."
"Mum, definitely Mum," a genuine laugh escaped from him. A sudden shiver danced up his spine.
"Padfoot, I need you to look after Lily ok? Dumbledore's made a mistake by not including her in the Order. I don't care what you guys do or how you do it but…"
"No harm will come to our dearest Evans," Sirius swore, cutting off James before his hot temper, which tended to flare up when Dumbledore was mentioned lately, took the best of him. "However long she's an Evans. Once she's a Potter—"
"Let's just make sure she lives long enough for an engagement, " James said briskly.
"Are you going to see her before you report in?" Sirius asked, "It's seven, she won't have to report in for another hour or so…"
"We've said our goodbyes," James responded although the words seemed hallow and empty. The hazel eyes darted up to see his friend's face. "Anyway I wouldn't want to throw off her day…."
"Yes because not only is she playing with combustible potions every day, she might just remember you're going to be gone for the next six months," Sirius muttered shaking his head while imitating the sound of an explosion.
"You and Moony take care—and Peter too when he gets back."
"Right," Sirius answered, his voice now imitating James' empty words. He shifted his weight from side to side, his shoes borrowing into the grass. " Listen to your dad about that wand and pocket deal. I'm pretty sure Evans would be disappointed if you came back missing your arse." Sirius then pulled out a small mirror and put it in James' hand. "You nearly forgot this. Your parents may have forgotten but I know how terrible a writer you are…I know the ministry said communication would be regulated by a ministry appointed owl but lets face it, that's just a ploy they're using to know what's going on. I'd rather not let the Ministry know everything, they're bloody idiots. Wouldn't know a possessed wizard from a Death Eater. This way, incase you need to get a hold of one of us, or if you're about to pull a heroic…"
"I'll let you know," James smiled weakly, taking the little mirror and slid it into his cloak.
James knew that the goodbyes had been said and that there was no reason to stand there any longer. He knew his mum was waiting in the doorway for Sirius to come in. They'd probably have breakfast—the two Potters and their second son—before they began a routine of life without him. He knew that he'd be expected soon at the Ministry, assigned a bunk and begin adjusting to the next few months where he was threatened with hexes and jinxes in order to learn them himself.
But the foreboding feeling that had racked his body since he got up in the early hours of the morning remained. He couldn't remember the last time he was nervous, when he was genuinely worried of what the future held. His first Quiddtich game perhaps? Maybe the first time he genuinely asked Lily Evans out? This feeling was unsettling. The consequences of leaving home at a time like this to become an Auror was like dipping the quill and signing your own execution order…but that wasn't what was bothering him most.
"Well, the Death Eaters aren't going to come in quietly," Sirius sighed, and just as Mr. Potter had done earlier, he rose his hand and placed in on Jamses' shoulder. "Take care Prongs. The Marauders will take care of everyone, just make sure our fearless leader takes care of himself will you?"
"I'll see to it," James mustered, a brave smile forcing its way on his face.
"See you in a little bit then," Sirius smiled as though he thought his friend was only disappearing for a few hours. And with a final, but weak grin, James Potter disappeared in a pop!
A series of out of tune bells rang throughout the apartment, obnoxious alarms heralding the girls out of their beds as though they where riotous angels.
"Damn it Lily," her roommate Vera cried from her bed, wrapping herself deeper and deeper into her sheets as though she could avoid the alarms. "That better be a ruddy Death Eater whose brought us breakfast and plans on killing us," she roared lifting her head up with a tousle of curls and glaring eyes "If it's James Ruddy Potter again…"
Lily didn't hear the last part, in fact she'd be surprised if she had heard any of Vera's morning swears clearly enough. She just grabbed her light blue housecoat and made sure the wand was in its pocket as she flew to the door.
She thought they had said their good byes. Hadn't that been Godric's Hallow the past weekend? Or what about the half dozen other times between the Hallow and the present of him coming in with flowers or taking her out to a pub, all centered and determined on this being their last good-bye, their last kiss. If she had learned anything from James, it was that he was persistent. Finally he had refused to even call it the last but rather "second-to-last" so he didn't want to jinx either of their mortality.
She let a smile escape to her face; she had expected this, for him to come. She had gone so far to tell her supervisor she had an appointment this morning and would not be in till twelve. She had also spent the night imagining how this good bye would play out. In each imaginary scenario, it resembled more of the sickle romance books Vera read—She'd open the door find him dropping his suitcases as she ran then into his arms, being lost in his kiss, his touch, his promises that he wouldn't leave her, that he shouldn't and together they'd find a way to fight Voldemort…
And then she'd wake up the reality that wasn't how they were. Rather then snog her silly in the hallway, she'd open the door and hind him with a smirk on his face, saying he got lost and believed this was where he was to report for Auror Training. She'd oblige, saying breakfast was to be served and all trainees would need to eat before anything could happen. She'd probably get on her tiptoes and rub his black hair into the black mess she liked best before proceeding with breakfast. Make an omelet, toast with marmalade as he kissed her forehead before he put the bacon on the skillet.
That's one of the reasons she loved him best. It was simple touches that meant the world; gentle kisses. They weren't a sickle romance novel where they were snogging anywhere and everywhere, weeping over anthills and arguing over buttons. They were real people. And what more, two very fiery, stubborn, real people, who enjoyed each other more than for the kisses… although the real people found them real nice.
Rising to the peep whole she saw the familiar mop of black hair and she sighed, "I knew you were going to come—I hope you haven't eaten. And even if you have, I haven't and you need to cook my eggs."
Silencing the protection and detection charm she had put on the apartment and unlocking the door she opened to find not James Potter but the ever-faithful comrade, Sirius Black.
"What…" Lily asked, as she joined him in the hallway, quickly closing the door behind her, "The ruddy hell is going on, has their been an accident? Don't get me wrong but Vera was threatening to kill James and she'd probably do you in…"
"So James didn't come here," Sirius asked, mild defeat in his voice, his head nodding towards the door, slightly panting. "He said he wasn't coming and I didn't believe him, that scamp's actually telling the truth, I blame you for this."
"And he blames you for my occasionally white lies so we'll call it even," Lily joked, pulling her housecoat closer around her. Sirius persisted with his look of mild annoyance. "You're not hiding him? Surely he came to say good bye—"
"You came to my apartment in hopes of being reunited with the brother you've just said goodbye to?" Lily asked, tucking loose strands of hair behind her ears, "Sirius," her voice softened, "I like you, I can honestly say that without vile erupting from my stomach, but…"
Sirius rummaged in his pocket and pulled out a small rectangular mirror and put it in her hands. "Here, take this but for the love of all things magic don't break or lose it," he looked down at his watch before giving any further explanation and disappearing from her sight with the gentlest of pops.
She looked over the mirror. It was simple and small. Definitely not ornate or meant to be given to a girl, although if it was finely feminine decorated she'd probably have to write James that Sirius was giving mirrors to women and ask what his intentions where.
"Lily, who was at the door?" Vera asked, coming out the bedroom in what looked to be her work robes and make-up, her hair curled to perfection, "I thought James was coming over say good-bye?" She looked at her dear friend and the empty doorframe. Her smile dimmed, "Oh Lily, you don't mean he…I really thought he would come."
"So did I" Lily answered quietly looking at the empty skillet on the stove, "So did I."
AN: Next chapter will be up hopefully before the New Year. I have a few weeks off before University Term and Internship begins. I'm really interested to see what you all think! Please leave a review or send a PM- I'm always interested in hearing feed back and bouncing ideas. You guys have been my inspiration in pursuing this story, thank you for all your love and support.