Author's Note: Hello, my lovely readers. I know most of you have given up on me by now, but here's the first chapter to year six! Sorry I've been gone for so long – believe it or not, I've been writing an original novel. But I need a break from it for a while, and also I missed writing these characters, even though they aren't mine.
Just a reminder, I'm obsessed with the idea of making my interpretation of the world fit into every bit of cannon that exists. That's a bit harder now. I'd hoped that Pottermore would give out more information quicker than it has, but I'm sick of waiting for more anecdotes. So from now on, it's going to get a little more free form now that I don't have the basic plot points laid out for me by JKR like I did for year five. We'll see how it goes.
I solemnly swear that I'm up to no good.
Lily Evans was going insane. It could have been intense paranoia, or it could have been the truth, but she felt that she could not leave the house. Any chance of walking down the road could lead to a run-in with her ex-best friend Severus Snape, and that was the last thing that she needed right now.
Severus had already tried to contact her seventeen times – a difficult feat, seeing as Lily hardly left the house since the start of the summer. On the few times that she had tried, however, there was Severus: on the sidewalk, behind the lamppost, even waiting outside the grocery store.
"How could you have possibly known I'd be here?" Lily finally yelled in exasperation.
"I heard your mum say that she was sending you on a errand when she was getting out the car."
"That's stalking, Severus, and it needs to stop."
He even dared to come straight up to the house once. Thankfully, Lily had filled her parents in – somewhat – to the situation. Lily had told them that Severus had fallen into the wrong crowd, that they had gotten into a big fight, and that she would prefer not to see him anymore. After that, Severus gave up for a while.
Lily neglected to tell her parents about the part when her former best friend called her the worst name he could possibly think of in front of her entire class, while her other group of friends publically humiliated him.
Maybe Lily had a bad taste in friends.
However, it was clear to Lily which group of friends she was going to side with if she had to pick a side – which, as it turned out, she did. Because not only was Severus Snape getting himself in with a bad crowd, he was getting involved with the worst crowd imaginable – the group of Slytherins who wanted more than anything to be in league with You-Know-Who. His name wasn't really You-Know-Who, of course, but Lily shivered even thinking his real name. It was said that if You-Know-Who's name was spoken out loud, that a magic trace was immediately placed on the speaker so that You-Know-Who's supporters could find and punish people who took their master's name in vain. And now he was gaining power in the Wizarding World, and the mere thought of it made Lily sick to her stomach.
You-Know-Who and his followers were extremely anti-Muggle (non-magic person) and favoured wizards and witches of pure-blooded magical descent. This had been the main rift that had caused Lily and Severus to "break-up." Lily was Muggle-born, meaning that she had magical powers, enough so to be accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, but neither of her parents had magical blood.
Severus had begun hanging around Slytherins who showed signs of Muggle hatred early on at Hogwarts, and even though Severus loved Lily in a way that she was never able to return, in the heat of a moment, Severus called Lily the most unforgivable name: Mudblood.
Now, Severus was doing everything in his power to talk to Lily and make her forgive him, but it was no good. Lily was done. She'd had enough. She could no longer defend Severus to her friends or to herself. Unless Severus stopped aspiring to become a Death Eater, Lily would not be able to forgive him; and she severely doubted that they could ever go back to normal, even if he did renounce his "friends."
To add to this, Severus lived in the neighboring town, meaning that Lily had to constantly live in a semi-paranoid state, wondering when would be the next time she'd turn around and see him standing there, forcing all of the terrible emotions she was trying to suppress right back to the surface again.
At the same time, Lily could not stay inside the house, either. Lily had only one sibling: her sister, Petunia. Though they had once been very close, the second Lily had been accepted to Hogwarts and Petunia hadn't, everything had changed. Bitter at not being able to have the same as Lily, Petunia chose to hate magic and everything about it, including her sister.
So, inside the house, Lily could expect to be insulted, tripped, and mocked; while outside the house she could expect to be cornered, annoyed, and stalked. There was no escape.
It was all this that led Lily to the craziest (and possibly the best) decision she had ever made. Upon doing her laundry one night, Lily was emptying the pockets of all of her jeans, when she came across a small piece of parchment with an address written on it in boyish handwriting.
James Potter's handwriting.
James Potter had the biggest ego in the entire school, even more so than his closest friend, Sirius Black. Star of the Quidditch pitch and incredibly skilled in magic, James Potter had a knack of walking around the school with a cocky stride, while ruffling his hair to make it look like he had just gotten off his broomstick (though it could be said that the hair-ruffling was Lily's fault – she had made the serious mistake of complimenting him on it during what could only be diagnosed as a fit of insanity).
Lily and James had fought for the majority of their first five years at Hogwarts. It was only the previous year that they had actually stayed on speaking terms for more than a week. That mixed with the strange events of James saving Severus's life, and then comforting her after Severus had broken her, seemed to pull them together in a way that Lily had never expected.
Lily had been keeping a running discussion about James with their mutual friend Remus Lupin. Remus was part of the group that included James, Sirius, and their small, slightly more pathetic friend Peter Pettigrew; together, they called themselves the Marauders. This group had solidly formed around Remus, who suffered from lycanthropy and turned into a wolf once a month at the full moon. His fellow Marauders worked illegally to become animagi so they could keep him company during his transformations.
I don't want to sound like I'm taking credit, but I feel like becoming an animagi, and seeing me transform every month has done something to James. I think it made him grow up a little, Remus had written in one of his owls to Lily. If you had told me two years ago that James Potter would be saving Severus Snape's life, I would have laughed in your face.
I completely agree, Lily wrote back. And I'm glad he's growing up. I was getting tired of hating him.
Pretending like you hated him, you mean.
Don't mock me, Remus.
Kissy kissy kissy xoxoxox
REMUS JOHN LUPIN! Don't think I couldn't take you twenty-nine days out of the month!
That last one wasn't me! Sorry! I'm at James's right now, Sirius confiscated my owl.
Petunia pushed past Lily and started pushing her laundry in the laundry machine.
"Hey!" Lily yelled. "I was going to use that!"
"Oh," said Petunia, pursing her lips. "I didn't see you there." She didn't look up as she added soap and started the machine.
Lily stormed back into her room, deciding that it would be best to just ignore Petunia and do her laundry later.
Unfortunately for her, Petunia had other plans.
"It's amazing that freaks like you even bother to do laundry," said Petunia, following Lily into her room. "I mean, you're an outcast already, so why bother smelling nicely?"
Lily turned her back on her sister and pulled out one of her schoolbooks. She would have gotten out homework to do, but she had finished it all already in her desperation to distract herself from her life.
"What's that you're reading? The Freaks Companion?"
"Get a new joke, Tuney," snapped Lily, glaring at her.
"Do you even have friends where you go? Wasn't that greasy-haired boy your only friend, and now he's not even talking to you."
"Don't talk about what you don't understand," Lily said, her voice shaking with anger.
"I understand that freaks like you shouldn't even exist."
"And I understand that it's people like you that make Severus hate Muggles!" Lily shouted. She had pulled her wand from her desk and pointed it straight at Petunia, who shrieked and ran out of the room.
Lily had had enough. She stared for a moment at the crumpled piece of parchment in her left hand, before dashing over to her closet where she uncovered a large backpack. She began shoving random clothes into the bag, including the dirty ones that she had planned on washing; she ran to the bathroom and dumped all her toiletries on top; lastly, she went back to her room, grabbed her wand and her jacket, and ran downstairs.
"Mum! Dad!" she yelled as she skidded into the living room.
"What is it?" her father asked, slightly alarmed.
"I'm going to a friend's house for a couple days."
"Lily," said her mother, and there was a slight anger to her voice. "I don't remember you asking—"
"I know, and I'm sorry, but it's – er – really important. My friend James needs me, he just – er – broke up with his girlfriend and he's – er – devastated." Lily tried to look as if she had not just pulled that story out of nowhere.
Luckily, as soon as her mother had heard the name "James" her face lit up.
"Ooh, that James Potter?" she asked, suddenly smiling. "I liked him. And his parents."
"Yes! I – er – just got the return owl from his parents and they're fine with it. And I won't be alone, some of my other friends will be there, too."
"How are you expecting to get there?" asked her dad, his eyebrows raised.
"The Knight Bus," said Lily suddenly. "I've used it before."
"And this Knight Bus is safe?"
"Of course, Mum. I'll be fine. Please? I'll be back in a couple days."
Her parents looked at each other before smiling.
"Okay," said her dad, "but be careful. And call us or send us an owl once you get there."
"I will! Love you!" yelled Lily as she crammed her feet into her shoes and nearly ran out the door.
As soon as she was a few blocks down the street, and still slightly fuming from Petunia's tasteless insults, Lily leaned into the road and prepared to flag down the Knight Bus.
Lily's heart sank as she turned and saw Severus standing a few yards away.
"Out for a nighttime stroll?" she asked, a little viciously.
"Where are you going?"
"It really isn't any of your business."
"If you're running away, I'm going to go tell your parents. They have a right to know, in times like these…"
Lily scoffed loudly. "Look up 'hypocrite' in the dictionary the next time you want to look at yourself, Severus," said Lily, not holding back any of her viciousness this time. "You're a supporter of the reason that it's not safe for people like me to be on the streets alone anymore! Now I suggest you leave, unless you want the Knight Bus to run over you."
But Severus's five hundredth empty apology was cut off when Lily raised her wand hand into the air. Severus was forced to jump sideways into a hedge as a loud bang announced the arrival of the purple triple-decker bus.
Lily paid the conductor before he even had the chance to make his speech and threw herself onto one of the beds. The Knight Bus screeched away, leaving Severus in its wake.
There were a few stops before Lily's. The bus jumped from street to street, town to town, and possibly country to country, zooming so fast that it made Lily's stomach sick to look out of the window. She did it anyway, though, to catch sight of the odd objects – street lamps, trash bins, benches, the occasional small house– jumping out of the Knight Bus's way. Lily was launched off of her bed when the bus made a particularly whip-lash inducing abrupt stop. Lily all but hung by one hand from a candelabra that she grabbed onto to stop herself from flying down the bus as the driver called "Godric's Hollow." Swinging her bag over her shoulder, Lily carefully exited the bus, still a little shaky from the wild ride.
With a great bang, the bus disappeared behind her, and Lily was left alone in the starlight. She looked around Godric's Hollow; tiny and quaint as it was at first sight, there was something about the place that made Lily feel – what was it? Energized? Excited?
Happy, came the word from the back of Lily's brain. It was the same feeling that she got whenever she was at Hogwarts. The feeling of magic in the air. This wasn't an ordinary Muggle town, Lily just knew that there were wizards here apart from herself and the Potters. Wizards and witches that lived here. And beyond that, Lily had the distinct feeling that there had been wizards and witches living here for a very long time.
Of course, there's had to be, thought Lily. How many Godric's can there by apart from Gryffindor?
Lily turned on the spot, taking in Godric's Hollow through the settling darkness. There was a cobblestoned town square just behind her. There was also an old church with an ancient looking graveyard that she had the odd urge to investigate further. Instead she looked back at the address in her hand, and started to walk until she found the house with the matching number.
In front of her, corralled by a row of modest hedges and across a small lawn was the Potter house. It wasn't as big as Lily would have expected, given Potter's spoiled nature – the Christmas presents, the best broomsticks, the weekly packages. Yet the Potter residence was an unassertive, welcoming, two story cottage.
Lily didn't have a concept of what time it was, but it was at least eight when she left – what if the Potters went to sleep really early? What if they weren't there at all? What am I doing? thought Lily, suddenly terrified. Lily Evans, you have gone completely, unequivocally mental. Get a grip, summon the Knight Bus and go home.
But go home to what? said the combating side of her brain. To Petunia's condescending attitude? To the constant reminder that things can never be the same with Severus? To the train wreck that you've somehow managed to make of your life?
It's probably not a good sign that I'm talking to myself like this, thought Lily, but touché.
The windows to the right of the door were dimly shining with yellow light, and moving shadows beyond her sightline let Lily know that, at the very least, someone was awake.
Lily took a deep breath, taking in the comforting smell of freshly mown grass and the warm summer night air, and walked up the pathway to the door. "I'm never going to hear the end of this," said Lily, as she knocked on the door quickly three times.
Seconds later, she heard a voice yelling something indiscernible and the door swung open.
"EVANS?" Sirius Black barked excitedly, comically but sincerely shocked to see her. Lily heard a crash, "OW!" and "Lily Evans?" from the other room just before Sirius surprised her equally as much when he didn't hesitate to pick her clear off the ground and pull her into a crushing hug before throwing her over his shoulder, picking up her bag, kicking the door shut, and running with her into the living room.
"Sirius, what the – put me down!"
"NO! You might change your mind and run away! Look what I found!" he yelled happily to people that Lily could not see, as she was too busy hanging upside down, trying and failing to punch Sirius in the back as means of protest.
"Lily?" she heard James's voice yell. "I can't believe you're here!"
"Sirius, put her down," said Remus's voice. He sounded highly amused.
"Wipe that smirk off your face, Remus Lupin, or I'll do it for you!" said Lily.
"It's a little difficult to take you seriously from this angle," said Remus.
"Well, I don't know –"
"Potter, say one more word, and I'll walk out that door as suddenly as I came through it….as soon as I'm on my feet. Sirius, put me down!"
"This was fun, we should do it again sometime," said Sirius as he put Lily down. She hit him in the arm a few times for good measure and he had the grace enough to flinch as if it actually hurt, even though Lily knew he barely felt it. Lily was struck by the sudden memory of all the times she wished she had a brother to offset her relationship with Petunia.
Once Lily was upright, she was able to take in the appearances of her friends. James Potter looked the same as ever. His messy black hair refused to lie flat and his glasses framed his hazel eyes, which were particularly bright and happy at the moment. Remus looked better than Lily had seen him in a long time, which she figured was due to the fact that the full moon was a full three weeks away, and now that their O.W.L.s (Ordinary Wizarding Levels) were over with, he had to be much less to be stressed out about. Sirius looked as if he had grown at least another inch, and he had grown some stubble on his chin.
"I can't believe you're here," James said again, overly annunciating.
"Yeah, well, I am," said Lily. "How have you lot been?"
"Fire Whisky is good," grinned Sirius.
"Well, I didn't ask how the Fire Whisky was, but that does explain Sirius's greeting."
"Naw, I just like you. We haven't broken into it yet."
"I can't decide if it scares me that this is you sober," said Lily thoughtfully.
"But you probably wouldn't approve," said James mischievously, gesturing to the bottle.
"Where are your parents?" Lily asked, suddenly fearing turning around and seeing them standing there.
"They're out of town for work."
"Hand me the bottle," said Lily. "It's been a long summer so far."
James stared with a strange sort of admiration at Lily as she poured them each a large glass of Fire Whiskey.