A/N: Hello all! You are about to read the all-enticing third enstallment of the Falling Trilogy: Falling into Grace. You're on board for an all-out, twisty, turvy, up-side down ride as well as some easy flowing waters and tunnels full of love! Hopefully you can handle it! (Hopefully I live up to this Author's Note! :) )

First things first, if you haven't read the prequels to this (Free Falling and Even Angels Fall), you don't necessarily have to, but you may be confused in some spots along the way. I suggest that you read the first two first, but you won't be too lost if you don't.

Well, I'm done here! Enjoy!!!

Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter World nor do I intend to make any money off of my writing. I'm simply dabbling, so-to-speak, and developing my writing skills. (One day I'll be famous...I'll show you. And of course, I'll remember all you who have helped me along the way!) AND... I did not write the song Deora Ar Mo Chroi, that was written by Enya, and I happened to like the song for this, but, if you know the translations, I don't know how it fits...


Falling into Grace
Chapter One
Summer Holiday

"I'm still queasy from that airplane ride," James Potter said, unpacking his suitcase and placing his clothing into the hotel drawers. "I've never seen so many Muggles in my life."

"Well, my mum and dad insisted on Muggle traveling – trust me, they weren't too thrilled – none of us were," Sirius Black replied.

The Blacks took their son and three of his best friends – James Potter, Remus Lupin, and Lily Evans – on a tour of the American continent over summer holiday. Their expedition of America started in Florida. They all agreed Florida was a very nice place – certainly a lot different from their homelands on and around the British Isles: Sirius from a small town outside of Dublin, Ireland; James and Lily both a stones throw away from each other in England; and Remus from Eastern Scotland.

Being so far away from each other, what could they possibly have in common? Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is the answer. They were all about to go into our seventh and final year – and they were all in the same House – Gryffindor, Home of the Brave.

"It did seem that Lily was thrilled, though," Sirius commented.

"You know how Lily is – loves both worlds."

Lily was a Muggle-born witch, meaning her parents were non-magic people.

"What's on the agenda for tonight?" James asked.

Sirius shrugged. "I only tag along 'round here." He flashed James a grin. "Actually, Mum and Dad were talking about taking us out for lobster. You like shellfish, don't you?"

"Of course I do – but I don't think I've ever had lobster."

"It's smashing," Sirius replied, watching James put away the last of his clothing. "How about we go see how Lils is doing, yeah?"

James nodded and the two exited the hotel room, went across the hall and knocked on the door. "Room service," Sirius said, acting like the hotel servers in Muggle movies.

"I didn't order any room service," Lily called back.

"Come on, let us in," James said.

"Stop whining," she said, "I'm coming."

The door opened and a gorgeous seventeen-year-old girl with auburn hair to the middle of her back and brilliant green eyes stood before them, her hands on her hips.

"What could be so important that you had to interrupt my unpacking process?" she scolded teasingly.

Sirius looked over at James, who eyed back. "What say we tickle her?"

"I'm up for it," he replied, and they strode forward, grabbed her by her arms and started attacking her.

Lily shrieked like mad and squirmed, laughing and scolding, "Sirius Kent Black, get off me this instant – ah! You too, James Alan Potter! No – no! Stop!"

"Oi! Orgies are not aloud in hotel rooms," a voice called from the door that had been left ajar.

The three looked up and saw Remus standing in the hallway, running a hand through his brown hair. The tired lines on his face made him look far older than seventeen, but his brown eyes shined with youthfulness. He grinned widely and stepped into the room, closing the door softly behind him.

"What's going on in here?"

"They decided to gang up and tickle me," Lily said, her voice full with fake resentment.

"Sounds like a good plan," Remus said. Lily's eyes widened. "But, I'll let it go just this one time. Are your rooms all packed?"

"Yep," James answered.

"Would you expect anything less from me?" Sirius asked innocently.
Remus rolled his eyes. "Absolutely not, Sirius, I'd expect no less from you than all your articles of clothing right down to your pants folded crisply within the merest quarter-inch."

"Speaking of pants," Sirius said, "looks like you forgot a pair." He held up a rather racy pair of black underwear. "You must be saving these for Prongs over here."

James turned scarlet at the mention of his nickname, and Lily's cheeks were bright pink. Lily ripped the underwear out of Sirius' grip and put them in her drawer.

"Thank you for that little display, Sirius," Lily said. The three had seen her at her worst – and James, who was her boyfriend, had seen her at her best, so she was clearly unembarrassed.

Lily sat down by James, interlaced her hand with his, and motioned Remus to the chair next to the bed.

"How do you think Peter's doing?" she asked.

"God, I hope he's okay," Remus answered. "Do you think there's an owl post somewhere around here?"

"I'm sure there is," James answered. "I think it's a great idea to owl Peter – I mean, he's grieving for crissake's."

All was silent. Peter Pettigrew, another best friend of the four, didn't join the holiday trip because his father passed away right after term ended while they had been traveling in Japan. Peter had been devastated as he was close to his father. They hadn't seen him since.

Sirius decided to harass his mum and dad to take them to the beach to get some sun. The three guys left the room so Lily could change into her swimsuit, and Sirius went off to his parents' room while Remus and James went off to their own.

"Hi, Pumpkin," Sirius' mother said once she let Sirius into her room. Despite the niceties, Sirius and his mum never got along very well and she always tried to cover it up by using pet names for him.

CadahLien Black was more into sipping tea and brandy with her friends and spending thousands of Galleons a week on jewelry on the Wizarding Shopping Network. She'd run around town all day bragging to everyone she met that she was a Celtic princess. If she weren't his mother, Sirius would smack some sense into her. She would tell him that she loved him, but she also once told him that if abortion were legal, he wouldn't be there. 'Some mother,' he would think when she'd spend the savings for his term in Hogsmeade. "Not that we can't get anymore anyway," she would say. None of Sirius' friends, save James, knew how Mrs. Black was, and he wouldn't want them to find out.

"Hello, Mum," Sirius answered back. "Can we go to the beach before dinner?"

"Aren't you and your friends tired?"

"We want to relax on the beach for a little while and then we'll have a kip before dinner so we can adjust to the time change. How does that sound?"

"I think it sounds wonderful," a deep voice said from the door.

Sirius turned toward the voice. His father had appeared in the doorway.

Patrick Black was Sirius' hero and idol. He played Quidditch for Ireland from the time he graduated from Hogwarts until Sirius started at Hogwarts. He resigned so his son wouldn't be harassed at school. In Sirius' opinion, he shouldn't have quit; he was the greatest Keeper Britain had ever seen. Mr. Black was the one in the family who had the bragging right – but he never said a word about his Quidditch days in a bragging manner. Sirius once brought this up to him and his father replied that Mrs. Black did enough bragging for the both of them and then some.

"Patrick, you can't be serious – "

"No, I'm Sirius," Sirius commented, a smirk passing over his lips. Patrick's face pulled into sneer exactly like his son's and he laughed.

"You know what I meant," Cadah said, glaring at the two. "It's close to eleven back home!"

"Relax, Cadah," Patrick said. "You stay here and rest, I'll take the kids to the beach and we'll come back and get you before dinner."

"Well…I guess I could get some use out of my new swimming suit – you know, the one with the diamond studs – heaven knows the beaches in Ireland haven't had much sun."

Sirius left the room and returned to his own, put on swimming trunks, pulled on a T-shirt and slipped on sandals. He then walked to James' room and knocked.

"Are you ready?" he asked when he opened the door.


The Blacks and company took a taxicab to the beach. The ride made all their stomachs churn – save Lily's, who was used to car rides.

Once at the beach, they set up umbrellas and laid down towels, taking them out of a large picnic basket, causing the adjacent people to give them weird looks and mutter something about a lady named Mary Poppins. Lily dissolved into giggles.

"Daisy, darling, could you help me with these umbrellas, you seem to know how to work Muggle contraptions."

"It's Lily, Mum," Sirius corrected his mother.

"Of course," Cadah said, not really listening to her son. "Do you think you could, Penelope dear?"

"Sure," Lily said, giving Sirius a strange look.

"Oh, and Robert, could you pull out the grill?" she asked looking directly at Remus.

"No problem , Mrs. Black," Remus replied, giving Sirius the look Lily had just given him.

"Oh, please call me CadahLien," she said.

"That's a beautiful name," Lily commented.

"Oh, thank you, Rose – you're such a sweetheart. CadahLien, in my native Irish tongue, used only in my family's Celtic palace, means 'The beautiful princess'."

"Interesting," Remus said, pulling a small grill out of the large picnic basket. "Tell me more about your royal background."

That did it. He said the magic words. Sirius' mother would be talking forever.

"It goes way back before…"

Sirius drowned her out and turned to James.

"Here she goes, bullshitting again," he muttered.

"You don't think these stories are true?"

"Oh, they're true all right, but Mum just likes to embellish them to make her look better."

"I always wondered if they were true," James said. "It's amazing how well your mum and my mum get on, I mean, they're nothing alike. I guess opposites attract. Let's lie down."

James and Sirius lied down on their towels and were silent.

"Hey, guys, all's quiet over here."

They looked up. Lily stood over them.

"Er, Lily, my love," Sirius said, "I do hope you know that your shadow's blocking out our sunlight and I'm two steps away from picking you up and throwing you in the sea if you don't move."

"Ha," she replied. She spread her towel out next his and said, "I hope you don't mind lying next to me, and if you do, deal with it. I need to tan."

Lily tugged at the corners of her T-shirt and pulled it off, then took off her shorts. At that moment, Sirius had to thank the almighty Merlin that he had sunglasses on – for she would have seen his eyes pop right out of his head. He had always thought of Lily as beautiful, but until that moment, he had never known her as sexy. She had perfectly rounded hips and full breasts; long, slender legs – he even thought her toes were adorable! Sirius decided that Hogwarts robes were much, much more covering than the emerald bikini she was wearing.

Lily lied down on her towel and sighed in the warmth. Sirius still couldn't keep his eyes off of her. "This is nice," she commented. She looked at him and smiled. "Don't go to sleep now, love, you'll turn out to be a lobster. Which reminds me, could you put sunscreen on my back? James looks like he's busy over there."

Sirius looked over at James, who smiled. "Go ahead, mate, I just want to lie like this forever. Maybe tomorrow I'll sunscreen Lily's back."

"And other places," he commented dryly.

"Yeah yeah," Lily said. "Would you just do it?"

She handed Sirius the lotion bottle, and he squeezed a bit into his hands. She turned her back to him and he started rubbing the lotion on her back as carefully as he could. 'I can't miss a spot, or her perfect skin will be ruined forever,' he kept telling himself, rubbing her shoulders and neck, her lower back and everywhere in between. She groaned a little as he massaged, and his hands grew minds of their own.

My god! Stop! he thought.

You don't want to stop and you know it, said the Demon Voice in his brain. She likes it, and please don't tell me that you don't…I know you do!

She's not mine to have.

She very well could be. I mean, we are charming and dead sexy – everyone says so, the Demon replied.

While the two parts of his conscience was busy arguing, Sirius took the advantage to pull his hands away from Lily and lied back down. She leaned over, kissed him on the cheek as a thank-you and then lied down. Sirius' blood pounded. Lily had never made him feel this way before. As many times as he had hugged her or seen her in so many different ways, he had never felt that way about her. It was mostly that she was always off-limits to him, as she had always been James' even when he didn't notice her and how much she loved him.

"Are you guys sad to be starting our last year?" Lily asked. "I don't know about you, but I am."

"Me too," James said. "I sure will miss our shagging adventures in the caretaker's closet."

"Thanks for sharing, Monsieur Prongs," Sirius commented.

"That must have been with your other girlfriend," Lily said, "'cause I've never shagged you in a caretaker's closet."

"I'm only joking, love," James said softly.

"Okay, that was disturbing."

"I'm sorry," James said, then added with a smirk, "for once and for all."

"Shut up," Lily sighed, "you're ruining my thinking time."

"How hurtful," Sirius teased.

"You know what – sod the both of you, I'm going into the water."

Lily got up and traveled down to where the ocean met the land. Sirius could hear her giggle when the waves tickled her body. He shook his head. "That woman's a whack."

"Yeah, but you've gotta love her," James replied lazily.

After a few minutes of listening to Lily splash, Sirius got up and waded over to her, where she was now in waist-deep. The water was crystal-clear and warm and she was still giggling like a sprite, the water glistening on her chest. He had to look away before his eyes become glued once more, and this time he didn't have his sunglasses on.

"You want to see a trick?" he asked her.

"Sure, why not?"

Sirius grabbed under her arms, picked her up and threw her deeper into the water, making her go completely under. She came up and gasped for breath.

"Sirius!" she shrieked. He couldn't help but laugh at her anger. "I can't believe you just did that! Don't do that again!"

He walked towards her again, the water now chest deep. "Watch me," he retorted, and picked her up and threw her again. This time when she came up, she splashed him with handfuls of water and he pushed her under – which was deep enough to tread.

After five minutes of their water fight, Lily gave up.

"I win! I win!"

"No, you do not win, it's a truce," she informed him stiffly.

"Call it whatever you like, but let's face the facts – I've won."

"You did not win!"

"Did too."

"Did not!"

"There's no reason to be angry about it," he said. "Just tell me I've won and I'll leave you alone."

Lily stuck her tongue out at him. "Hmph! You win…not!"

Sirius placed his hands over her head and pushed her under the water again and then swam off to shore, where she followed behind him, cursing the day he was born and splashing water on his back.

"What the hell were you two doing out there?" Remus asked when Lily and Sirius reached their inhabited spot on the beach. "Sounded like you were beached whales." Lily rolled her eyes. "The hotdogs are done, if you want one."

No sooner than Remus had handed Sirius a hotdog, three monstrous gray owls swooped in on them. The Muggles screamed, never having seen an owl in broad daylight in that part of the country, and Sirius dropped his hotdog because of the screaming.

"Damn owls!" he cursed, looking at his now sand-covered hotdog.

The owls dropped their charges and then swooped away.

"Why in the bloody hell did they have to come here in broad daylight?" Patrick said, picking up the items. "Well, now that they're here, might as well open them – they look like they're from Hogwarts…. A letter for Lily…" he said, distributing the letters to the addressee. "One for Sirius…one for Remus…and one for James…. And the package is for both James and Lily…."

They opened their letters, same old stuff as usual. Bring formal dress robes – that was something new…. A few new books, otherwise, it was the same as usual.

"Oh my god!"

Everyone looked up at Lily, who had made the exclamation.

"What is it?" Remus asked.

"They've – oh my god! They've made me Head Girl!"

"That's wonderful news!" Patrick exclaimed.

"Congratulations," Sirius said to her, hugging and kissing her on the cheek. "I knew you'd be it."

After they settled down again, they finished opening their letters.

"Guess what guys." They looked up at James now. "You're looking at the new Head Boy," James said coolly, a smirk on his lips.

"No way!"

They all hugged James and Lily kissed him on the cheek.

"This certainly calls for a celebration," Patrick said. "We're all going out for a fancy dinner tonight – no questions asked."

The four teenagers whooped at the idea and started packing up camp to head towards the hotel to get ready for dinner.

* * *

After their fancy dinner, Remus, Lily, and James were sitting in Sirius' hotel room, opening the package that they managed to overlook from their excitement of hearing the good news. Inside the package were the Head Boy and Head Girl badges for Lily and James and two sets of keys. Under the keys was a letter from the Headmaster.

Lily and James,

Congratulations on your new positions. I am very proud of the two best students in Hogwarts and I look forward to working with you both. I expect you will hold your positions with pride and help govern the school the best to your advantage.

I look forward to seeing you at Hogwarts, and I request that you dine at the Head Table next to me during the Welcoming Feast. There I will be able to explain the keys and the Headroom arrangements.

See you soon! Have a wonderful rest-of-summer holiday!

Yours Sincerely,
Professor A. Dumbledore

"Ha, you govern the school?" Sirius scoffed at James. "I can't wait to see that happen."

It was common knowledge that the three boys along with Peter Pettigrew made up the Marauders – infamous mischief-makers at Hogwarts.

"You hush, Siri," Lily said. "He'll do a wonderful job, no better than anyone else could." She leaned over and kissed James on the cheek. "Well, what now?"

Sirius yawned. "Bed."

"Why don't you sing a song for us, Lils?" James said.

"Sing?" she asked, looking slightly alarmed. "I don't sing."

"Oh, yes you do – probably obliviously, but you do."

Lily's cheeks turned pink and she thought for a minute.

"How about 'Deora Ar Mo Chroí,'" she suggested. "My dad used to sing it to me and my sister all the time when we were growing up. It's something that his mother used to sing to him when they lived in Ireland."

Lily took a deep breath and started singing. Her voice reminded Sirius of the waters at the beach, soft and crystal-clear as it rose and lowered in pitch, just like the rolling waves. He sighed and closed his eyes, listening to the Gaelic words she craftily sang:

Ba dheas an lá go oíche
Na glórtha binne i mo thaobh
'S aoibhneas gach áit gan gruaim
Áthas ar mo chroí go deo

Ma shiúlaim ó na laetha beo
An ghrian 's an ghealach ar mo chúl
Nil uaim ach smaointe ó mo shaoil
Deora ar mo chroí go brón

The words she sang made no sense to any of them, but they couldn't help but feel content right down to the soul as her words hit their ending note.

"That was beautiful, Lils," Remus whispered, breaking the silence. Everyone looked as if they were hit by the magic of music too.

"And you said my family wasn't Irish," she said, looking at Sirius and grinning. "We're just Irish Muggles who now live in Britain."

"Whatever," Sirius said, grinning back. "You're pureblooded Brit and you know it."

Lily threw a pillow at him. "Well, if you aren't going to listen to my songs, I'm going to my room. Goodnight."

"I'll follow," James said. Sirius clapped him on the back knowingly. "No! Not like that! I meant I was going to go to my own room."

"Yeah," Remus said, getting up from the bed. "Good night all."

After the three had left, Sirius stared off into space for a few minutes, thinking about the song Lily had sang and how it reminded him of something similar his grandmother used to sing to when she was still living.

He got up and pulled on some pajamas, turned out the light and crawled into bed, thinking about how strange it was that it didn't have hangings. But hangings weren't the last thing on his mind before falling asleep. In fact, he was tortured all night, haunted with images that would never have come to him in a normal state of mind. Maybe it was from the sun, he told himself. Whatever it was, it kept him up half the night – most of which he spent in a cold shower.

* * *

Back in her hotel room after a hard day of rafting the Platte River in Northern Colorado, Lily sat reading Forever Enchanted, a Muggle romance novel about a sorceress who gets revenge on a priest by making him become her slave. In the end, the sorceress falls in love with the priest and they live happily ever after.

It was Lily's mum that gave her the book, saying she needed to read a good book instead of school texts all the time. Lily never understood why her mother read these books, and she had half a mind to burn this one, but she knew that her mother would be asking her questions about the book. So, she stuck it out and started reading. The word choice was quite nice, Lily thought. She figured it wouldn't be so bad; but then she read a remarkably descriptive (not to mention kinky) passage of a sex scene. After reading that, she had to wake Sirius from his slumber to ask him if what the character were doing was even possible. He assured her it was; she raised her eyebrows and didn't bother to ask how he knew. She went back into her room and turned out the lights, thinking, Thank god James and I are normal.

Now she was reading it again. She read it for shits and giggles now, cracking up into hysterics every time Selene the Sorceress would moan huskily, "John, oh, John, kiss me again."

The part she was on was rather dramatic. John had just drunk a potion he had mistaken for ale and now Selene didn't know if he would live or die. Of course, Lily knew the outcome, but she thought it was rather nice to place her mind into a world that was so extremely predictable, unlike her own life.

The witchdoctor was just about to declare him dead or alive when a knock came at Lily's door. She sighed and set down her book, half-heartedly shrugged on a dressing gown and pulled open the door to find one Mr. Potter standing in the doorway.

"What are you doing here at this time of night?" Lily asked. "Shouldn't you be getting ready for Remus' transformation?"

"Yeah, but I wanted to say goodnight before I had to go."

"Oh. Well. I guess you could come in. Only for a minute though – I don't want Sirius' parents to get suspicious. They still think I'm sweet and innocent and I'd like to keep it that way."

James shut the door behind him and stepped closer to Lily.

"Sweet and innocent, eh? You're anything but," he lowered his tone into a very husky and seductive growl. "You're a very naughty girl, Lily Evans, and you know what I like to do with girls who've been naughty, don't you?"

Lily giggled beside herself. "Oh sod off, James. You sound like a character in Forever Enchanted."

"I'll have you know that those books were written about me, thank you very much," James said mock-defensively.

"Then why aren't our love scenes twisted like theirs?"

"You want twisted? I'll give you twisted."

He then swept her off her feet and threw her on the bed. He crawled on top of her and held her hands above her head, kissing her lips, her neck, pushing the fabric of Lily's nightshirt out of the way.

As he was about to continue, a knock came at the door for a second time that night. James growled in frustration from being interrupted, pulled Lily's nightgown back to cover-mode and went to the door. He opened it just a crack and tersely said, "What?"

"We've got to get to Remus' room, so stop snogging."

"I'll be there in two seconds," James said shortly, and shut the door in his best friend's face.

"I'll have to show you twisted later," he said, turning back to Lily. "I've got to go." He pulled the covers of the unmade bed over Lily's body, leaned down and kissed her forehead. "Goodnight, sleep tight, sweet dreams."

"I'll see you in the morning," Lily said, stifling a yawn. James switched off the light and opened the door. "Oh. And be careful, please. And do get some sleep; I really don't want to sit next to a crabby James Potter on an eight-hour flight."

"Will do, love," James replied, looking lovingly at his almost-sleeping girlfriend. "Will do."

* * *

Back in Ireland, Sirius sat in his desk, his quill scratching away at a piece of parchment that was already lengthy. He sat back and blew on the still-wet ink, thinking how much he missed Icilyn Garicky, the woman he loved. Last year, if someone would've told Sirius that he'd "settle down" and only be with one woman for a long amount of time, he would have said that they had had too much butterbeer. Anyone would have said that, as Sirius' reputation was rather known around the school.

But he had found the right girl, and, for the first time in his life, felt that he was out of control with his emotions. Whenever he was around Icilyn, he felt that couldn't breathe, being taken away by her beauty. Her raven hair cascading down her back and her green eyes twinkling.

He shook his head and sipped his goblet of pumpkin juice. He rolled up the parchment, attached it to Mya's leg, and sent his tawny owl out the window.

He gazed outside the window, watching Mya disappear. It was still early in the morning, and no doubt his three friends were still sleeping. The sun rose up over the pines, turning the sky hues of red and yellow against deep blue. The forest looked bright and green, with sounds of wildlife coming from every corner of it from chipmunk to what suspiciously sounded like a dragon. Dragons weren't common in Ireland, and Sirius was beginning to realize what the package his mother imported from Romania contained.

Sirius turned away from the window and decided he'd go raid the kitchen for a snack and ask the house elves to make waffles for breakfast. He walked down several flights of stone stairs and up a long corridor until he reached a portrait of Queen Boadicea.

"Why, young Master Sirius," she said pleasantly. "How art thou? Well, I presume?"

"Yes, my lady," Sirius replied, bowing to her.

Sirius had lived in this particular castle his entire life. He was familiar with all the portraits and statues, but Queen Boadicea was his favorite. They always played like they were set back in her day, and Sirius found it quite amusing.

"I am well. And you, my queen?"

"Quite well, sir. You shall pass. Good day to you, my lord."

"And you, my lady." He bowed once more and walked through the portrait hole into the kitchen.

Upon entering the kitchen, he found the little green elves busy mopping and scrubbing and rinsing dishes and all other sorts of cleaning. Camorra was singing a song she made up a few years ago in high soprano and Ebony was wiping down the counters, preparing to make the morning meal.

"Ebby," Sirius said softly.

The elf turned abruptly and raced to embrace Sirius around his knees.

"Master Sirius!" she cried. "You're back!"

Sirius leaned down and patted her affectionately on the back. She grabbed his hand and dragged him over to the miniature table that the house elves used.

"How was your trip?" Ebony queried, motioning another house elf to bring tea and biscuits.

"Just wonderful," Sirius said. "Some of the places we went were absolutely gorgeous."

"Ebby was wondering when Master Sirius would be back home. She missed you very much."

"I missed you too, Eb. I thought I'd come chat before I have to get onto the Hogwarts Express tomorrow, then it'll be a very long time before I see you again."

"Master Sirius, Ebony just got her traveling license, so she can come to Hogwarts any day!"

"That's wonderful news!" Sirius said, truly happy.

Sirius loved Ebony as much as she loved him. They would spend several hours during the days of summer holiday chatting by a fire and drinking tea. Once Sirius' parents had asked him if he wanted a familiar, but Sirius wanted no other nonhuman friend than Ebony. He wanted neither dog nor cat, toad nor snake – he only wanted his Ebby.

"So. What's new around here? I mean, besides gossip and material objects."

"Oh, not too much," Ebony answered. "Ebony has been keeping herself busy. What's new with Master Sirius?"

"Oh, not too much either," Sirius replied. "I've been fairly busy as well. Well, I'm on holiday but my friends are here, as you know."

Ebony nodded, her large ears flopping madly.

"Yes sir," she said. "Ebony hopes she is doing a good job, too."

"Of course you are, Ebby."

"That's what Miss Lily said. She said I is doing a good job."

"Oh, you met Lily?"

"Lovely, Miss Lily is."

"Yeah she is," Sirius agreed. He took a sip of his tea and watched the other house elves do their chores, popping form one place to another. "You know what, Ebby? I think I'm going to wake up James and Remus."

"Okay, Master Sirius. It was wonderful to chat."

"Yes it was." Sirius got up from the tiny elf chair and bent over to kiss the top of Ebony's head. "Have a good day, love."

"Ebby wishes a good day to Master Sirius too."

Sirius exited through the portrait hole, bowed to Queen Boadicea, and traveled back up three flights of stone steps to the guest bedrooms. He knocked on James' door then walked in. He pulled back the bed hangings and watched James recoil in the sunlight.

"Bloody hell, Sirius, it's only seven o'clock!" he exclaimed.

"I've been up for hours," Sirius replied. "You can get up too."

"I was having a good dream!"

James picked up a pillow and chucked it at Sirius, who caught it deftly (as he was Keeper on the Quidditch team) and threw it back at his best friend, who also caught it easily (as he was a Chaser on the Quidditch team). Sirius sat down on the bed and looked at the tousle-haired James.

"What's your problem?" James whined. "Can't you have left me in peace?"

"No. Get up, we're going exploring today."

"Exploring? How many more times do we have to explore these grounds? I mean, I know them like the back of my hand and I don't even live here."

"I didn't mean getting to know the land, we've done that thousands of times. I meant that we were going to look for something."

"Sirius, I'm not going to spend my day looking around for a spaceship that you've dreamt about again."

"That's not what we're going to be looking for," Sirius said. "And I didn't dream about that spaceship. I saw it land in the clearing by the lake. Besides, that was two years ago."

"Whatever," James said, stifling a yawn. "So what is it that we're going to look for?"

"We, Monsieur Prongs, are going to be looking for a dragon."

James abruptly sat up and stared at his best friend with wide eyes.

"A what?"

"You heard me correctly. We're going to be looking for a dragon. I thought I heard one this morning" – James groaned at this – "and my mum received a strange package last summer that she wouldn't tell anyone what it was."

"Do you really think there is a dragon out there or are you just trying to trick me?"

"No, I really believe there is a dragon out there."

James sighed loudly in resignation.

"All right, all right. I'll go looking for your damn dragon with you, but you owe me for being so bright and early. Let's go wake up Remus."

The two got up, went to Remus' room a few doors down and knocked. Remus also answered the door tousle-haired and sleepy-eyed.

"What is it?"

"We're going to search for dragons on the grounds," James answered. Sirius couldn't help but notice that James said this unenthusiastically. "Sirius is convinced that there is a dragon out there."

"You live here and you didn't know that?" Remus asked.

"What do you mean?"

"I could smell it," Remus said simply.

"So there is a dragon out there?" James asked.

"You're seriously not going to look for it, are you?" Remus asked.

"Of course we are, and you're coming with us."

"Oh, no I'm not."

"Yes you are."

"Hey, if I have to go, you have to go, Moony," James informed his friend.

"What about Lily?" Remus asked.

"What about her?" Sirius replied.

"Yeah, what about me?"

The three boys looked up the corridor to see Lily standing a few meters away with her hands on her hips.

"Uh…how long have you been standing there?" Sirius asked.

"Long enough to know that you're planning to get yourselves killed."

"Lily, we know what we're doing. Besides, we're all of age, we can bring our wands."

"You're talking about a dragon here. Do you have any idea how dangerous, not to mention stupid, that is?"

"I think we'll be just fine, love," James said.

"Well, then I'm going too," Lily declared, stepping closer to the three mischief-makers, quickly making the space between them almost nonexistent.

"Oh no you're not," Remus said sharply. "We may be stupid enough to go out there, but we're not going to let you get yourself killed because of our stupidity."

"And if I go with you, I'll assure that you won't get killed because of your stupidity."

"You know what," Sirius said. "I'm going to wake up my mum and ask her if she'll take you shopping today. The two of you will go on a nice long shopping spree. You can get makeovers, manicures and pedicures, and tons of new clothes."

"Sirius, honestly, look at me," Lily said, trying to hide her rage. "I pulled myself together in three minutes; do you think I'm the type that cares about all that stuff?"

She pointed to herself. She was wearing a pair of dark khaki shorts and a light yellow tank top with a black cardigan tied around her shoulders and black strap sandals. Her hair was done up in an elegant twist with a few wisps hanging around her face. All three boys thought she looked spectacular, but apparently Lily didn't think so.

"It'll be good for you," James said. "You'll love the pampering. I'll even ask my mum to go with."

"And I'll ask my mum too," Remus said.

Lily looked a little skeptical.

"Think about it, Lily," Sirius said. "You'll get a massage, facial, manicure, pedicure, new clothes, good food, whatever you want." He paused for effect, letting the thought sink into the redhead's mind. He then answered the question that Lily didn't get a chance to voice. "Since you are our best friend, we feel that you've done so much for us…"

"Being our Mum Away From Mum and always looking out for us…" Remus added, catching onto Sirius' idea

"Giving us your unconditional love even when we're complete arseholes…" James said, also catching on.

"We want you to have an afternoon of rest and relaxation and pampering on us."

Lily smiled in awe. "Really?"

"Absolutely," James said.

"That's the nicest thing you've ever done for me when it wasn't a special holiday."

"We just want you to be happy."

"And to keep us around for one more year."

"Keep us around forever."

Lily smiled.

"Thank you all so much," she said, pulling all three young men into her arms. After letting go, she stepped back and placed her hands on her hips again. "But don't think that you can distract me from noticing everything you do." The three males glanced at each other guiltily. "But please, please, please be careful out there. I don't want to come back and find you half charred or crushed or whatever."

"Promise, promise, promise," Sirius said. "Don't worry about us, it'll only ruin your day."

"How can I not worry about you three?" Lily sighed. "Well, I'm glad I won't be spoiling your expedition. I'll try not to let you ruin mine."

"Great!" Sirius exclaimed. "We'll go talk to our mums; you just go down to the dining room and get some breakfast."

Lily kissed Sirius and Remus on their cheeks and James on the lips. She turned around and strode down the corridor and down the stairs, planning to eat a large breakfast filled with French toast, bacon, eggs, and orange juice.

Today would be a day that, for once, she would worry about herself and only herself.

* * *

Lily was relaxing in a sauna with CadahLien Black, Geness Potter, and Zeriah Lupin. The four had just had full body massages that lasted over an hour. Lily felt limp and relaxed, yet rejuvenated.

And for once she wasn't worried about her friends at all.

Lily looked at the three women through the steam. They had their eyes closed in the semi-darkness. Zeriah was a petite blonde woman of about thirty-five. Lily noted that Ms. Lupin must have had Remus at a very young age; that explained why she never married, she spent all her time taking care of Remus when she was still a teenager. Remus had once said that she dated occasionally, but she had told him that she liked it when it was just mother and son.

CadahLien was a very tall, thin woman that looked the age of twenty, although Lily knew her to be about the age of fifty. She had black hair just like her son, though hers flowed down to the middle of her back. She was sensible in the way that she knew what portraits went where and what looked good on whom, but she didn't seem very intelligent to Lily because she couldn't remember anything (especially names) worth a knut.

Geness Potter looked nothing like her son, for she had very pale blonde hair that was waist-length, but she kept it up in elegant twists and braids atop her head. She had pretty blue eyes and long lashes. One thing she did have in common with her son was her smile. It was the same smile that James always gave Lily – not the cheesy grin, but the handsome, love-filled one.

Lily loved Geness like she loved her own mother. She had only met up with her a handful of times, but there was a feeling of love emanating from her every time Lily saw her. She was looking forward to having Geness Potter as a mother-in-law, and Lily got the vibe that Geness, in turn, was looking forward to having Lily as a daughter-in-law.

Lily sighed happily and closed her eyes, letting the warmth take her into deep meditation.

* * *

After their sauna treatment, the four women went to get makeovers due to an insistent Cadah.

"And what do we want to do with you today, love?" the beautician kindly asked Lily.

The beautician was a slightly plump woman wearing bright pink petal pushers and a sparkling silver shirt. She had hideous dangle earrings and several bangle bracelets and large rings. Her face was grandiosely painted with green, silver, and pink, and her lips were a blood red.

"Oh…um…I don't really know…" Lily replied nervously. She was quite happy with her appearance and she hardly wanted to end up looking like the beautician….

"Hmm…. Don't you worry a thing, dearest. I'm going to take good care of you."

She grabbed Lily's hand and pulled her into a room with no mirrors, just supplies. She led Lily into a chair and called to the girl's companions not to worry about their friend, that she would be out when she was finished with her. Cadah, Geness, and Zeriah (who were getting their hair done at the moment) just nodded and smiled.

"Just relax, love, I won't hurt you."

And Lily's chair was reclined back so the woman could wash her hair. Soon a pair scissors were snipping away at her wavy locks. Lily could see several inches of auburn hair falling to the floor and her eyes widened. Never had so much hair been cut off in her life. Out came a blow dryer and her head was being pulled every which way with a round brush.

* * *

"I hope she's all right in there," Cadah whispered.

"She's fine, I'm sure," Geness answered. "Such a pretty girl already, I can't imagine her getting any prettier."

"Well if she does, all the boys at Hogwarts will be falling all over her," Zeriah said.

"James told me they already do."

"Poor girl," Cadah said. "To think she's so in love with James and no one else gets a chance with her…. I mean, I know what it's like to be fallen all over for when you have a one and only someone, but she shouldn't stop beautifying herself just because she's found one person she's happy with."

Zeriah was about to disagree when the backroom door swung open. The beautician in hot pink pants came out and smiled brightly at the three women.

"I give you," she said with a dramatic air, "the new and improved Lily."

The woman stepped aside and Lily came nervously strolling out. Geness refrained from gasping, and Zeriah squealed in delight. Cadah sat back in her chair and crossed her arms over her chest, but not out of spite.

The Lily Evans standing before them no longer had long wavy hair, but straight, sleek layers of auburn that lined her face beautifully and was softly rounded at the ends. It was no longer to the middle of her back, but slightly past her shoulders. Her eyes were lined lightly with kohl and she had soft tones of gray on her eyelids that greatly brought out the emerald of her eyes; her lips were painted a pale pinkish-brown. She was wearing a soft gray tank dress that flowed to her knees and fit perfectly and she donned her black strap sandals that she had on earlier.

"Oh, Lily, you look lovely," Geness said.



"That about describes how I feel," Lily replied. "Thanks. I like it too," she added, looking at her new self in the full-length mirror.

"Now let's go back to the castle and show off our new selves," Cadah suggested.

The three women left the boutique for the nearest Portkey station and were soon back at the Black chateau in Ireland. As they were walking up from the designated transporting area, there came a ferocious ear-piercing roar from the forest and three terrified human screams to coincide with it. The four women stopped, stunned.

"They've found Emmie!" Cadah cried.

"It has a name?" Lily asked, horror-stricken.

"It – she was a familiar. My psychologist said I needed something that represented my inner feelings..."

Three figures came darting out of the forest like lightning bolts. They raced past the four women and into the castle, slamming the great cedar doors behind them and them barring it shut. Lily shook her head and walked up the stone steps to the castle entrance and knocked gently.

"Don't answer it!" she could hear Sirius say.

"Why not?" Remus asked. "It's not like it's the dragon – surely they don't knock."

The bar was removed and the door slowly opened to a crack. Lily saw one black eye, and then it widened. The door swung fully open and soon there were three gaping Marauders in the doorway.

"Lily?" James said softly. She nodded. "What did you do to yourself?"

Lily frowned. "You – you don't like it?"

"Oh my god, could there be anything extremely the polar opposite?"

The three looked her up and down for quite sometime, goggling and appreciating.

"All right you three," Lily finally said. "I'm sure that you've worked up an appetite acting like the morons that you are. What do you say to a picnic in, oh, the forest? I hear it's really nice in there."

She smiled as their eyes widened and the door slammed for a second time.


A/N: Hope you enjoyed. Please let me know what you thought of this! I am eager to hear your comments and constuctive criticism. Thanks a million!

And I'd like to give a happy, extra-special, super, warm round of applause to Jen (VenusDeMilo), who is my Beta-reader and to Nicola, my Brit-picker, without which, this story wouldn't be what it was. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

Happy Reading Wherever Your Little Eyes May Take You!