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A/N: Chapter 8 here we come… it has come to my attention that however much I read over a chapter and edit the typos and mistakes there always seems to be a whole lot I miss… so I think I may put out the plea for a beta… so if you are interested to beta this story for me, or any of my other stories… please review and leave your email… I shall contact you immediately =) hope you enjoy the chapter!

Chapter 8

The vault was labeled with a very ancient looking plaque emblazoned with “The Potter’s Vault” but this was only visible for a second, because the heavy iron door was pulled open and the vault gave a beautiful sight for Lily’s eyes to behold so generously.

As the vault door opened Lily noticed stray coins and gems escape and roll away just to be quickly gathered up by Ruthie before the coins fell through the cart tracks and into the great chasm below.

Mounds of large, golden, silver and small copper coins were sprinkled with rubies, diamonds, emeralds and sapphires. Lily couldn’t pry her gaze from the sparkling contents, nor silence her guilt.

“I must insist you open a new vault, Susie!” Ruthie exclaimed irritably, carefully placing the marauding coins and gems at the entrance of the vault, willing them to stay put. “This one is becoming a little full.” Ruthie continued stepping back from the door.

Susanna sighed “It wouldn’t be like this if my clients and colleagues would stop paying us for banishing Dark Wizards. We receive enough rewards to say the least.”

“They are just thankful for your services. We all are!” Ruthie insisted, a smile lacing her lips upward.

Susanna gave Ruthie a modest smile “If that’s the case, and I can’t put a stop to these private rewards… open a vault in James’s name –“

“But that can’t happen, Susie. The rewards are in your name, I can’t just transfer the rewards over –“

Susanna shot Ruthie a steely glare “You can, and you will. If you have to, put the rewards into the Potter Vault then transfer the same amount of the reward from this vault to James’. Simple.”

Ruthie nodded, and then clicked her fingers. A piece of parchment appeared in her grasp, covered in flowing script which Lily could only assume was the agreement and the conditions of Susanna’s son’s new vault “Please sign here, Susie.”

Susanna read over the agreement. She suddenly shook her head “No, James can’t have access to the money until he graduates from Hogwarts, or if Paul and I are both deceased.” These details magically added themselves to the bottom of the agreement, where upon Susanna signed. Susanna sighed irritably when she noticed that Paul had to sign also “Oh gosh! I should have forced that man to come too!”

Lily looked around, and for the first time noticed that Paul was missing “Where is Paul, Susie?”

Susanna looked down at Lily clenching her teeth “At Quality Quidditch Supplies. That boy will never grow up.” Susanna growled hardly containing her annoyance.

“Quidditch?” Lily enquired innocently, warily looking at Susanna as though she were about to explode if she had asked her question too loudly.

“A sport, played on broomstick. Though, at school Paul had promised he would never play Quidditch again after an accident during a game in our Seventh Year. Paul broke ten bones from that fall. And I was damned if I would ever let that happen again. He was in bed for days! So after that, I made him give me his word that he would never play that stupid sport again. But he still has an obsession with broomsticks and I think he is at the store window drooling over the newest model as we speak, mark my words.” Susanna informed. With a shake of her head she crossed out the vacant line on the piece of parchment and handed it to Ruthie “I am sure that will be sufficient enough to at least open up James’s vault. I will have Paul come in as soon as possible to put his name to the agreement.”

Ruthie nodded enthusiastically, taking the parchment from Susanna. With another click of her fingers the parchment disappeared as quickly as it had come.

Susanna sighed and pulled her wand from a holder attached to her belt. She waved her wand, and a small red velvet bag with a golden drawstring appeared in mid air. With this bag placed firmly in her grasp, Susanna bent her back a little and entered the vault with some difficulty. Coins flooded out of the vault as she maneuvered her way around the mounds of coins and gems. Ruthie dived every which way attempting to save as many coins as she could. But however grand her attempts may be, many coins fell through the gaps in the cart tracks and out of sight.

A silver coin rolled towards Lily and she picked it up quickly, examining the surface. The coin was much heavier than muggle money, and she noticed that the dates along the rim of the coins dated back to centuries ago.

Susanna, noticing this, smiled “Those coins are called Sickles. The gold ones are Galleons and the copper ones are called Knuts.” She explained suddenly causing Lily to jump with surprise and throw the coin back into the vault bashfully “No need to get scared, this bag is for you anyway.” Susanna stated indicating the bag that she now had managed to half fill with gold, silver and copper coins.

“Susanna, please! Don’t give me too much. I don’t need that much money to get by” Lily insisted, looking longingly at the bag, wishing to tip out all the contents.

“Nonsense, Lily. There are a lot of things we must buy today. Robes, uniforms, shoes, a wand, books, book bags, quills, rolls of parchment, potion supplies, other miscellaneous items…” Susanna trailed off when she noticed a beautiful, remarkably well cut emerald glinting at her in amongst the horde of coins. She bent over and carefully picked it up, pocketing the emerald thoughtfully.

Lily was still in hysterics “Susanna, please! I thought the only thing I really needed was a wand? That is what Paul said! Please, don’t buy all these things for me.”

“Please be quiet Lily, I am trying to think” Susanna said dismissively, looking into the bag and thinking deeply. “I think I will need a bigger bag…” Susanna said.

“Oh, no you don’t!” Lily cried. But even as Lily said this Susanna had waved her wand yet again, and the once small red velvet bag clutched in her fingertips magically swelled to double its original size. “That’s better,” Susanna stated looking a little happier with the size of the bag, and continued sweeping up coins and throwing them in.

Lily let out a long sigh. However much she protested, Susanna would not let Lily go to Hogwarts unprepared. This was going to be a long day of shopping.

Lily and Susanna exited the bank twenty minutes later having said good bye to Ruthie and the Potter Vault. Susanna weighed down with her heavy money bag and Lily blinking erratically to get her eyes used to the bright sunshine once more.

Paul ran over to them, when he noticed they had reappeared from his position out the front of Quality Quidditch Supplies. Susanna had been correct in thinking Paul had gone there. And he hadn’t just been browsing either. He held, in his arms, a long thin package wrapped in brown paper.

“Not another broomstick, Paul.” Susanna scolded, shaking her head at her beaming husband.

“I’m sorry Susie. But I couldn’t help myself. It’s a Speeding Bullet, newest model on the market. I had to buy it!” Paul practically screamed like a little girl on her first pony ride. If Susanna’s gaze hadn’t been so cold, Lily would have giggled uncontrollably at Paul’s behavior.

“Just get it out of my sight before I curse it into a real broom stick. You know, the ones you sweep dust with?” Susanna cried triumphantly. Lily immediately saw the color drain away from Paul’s face at Susanna’s threat.

“You wouldn’t do such a thing.” Paul plainly stated, staring at Susanna in complete and utter disgust.

Susanna smiled teasingly, “Wouldn’t I?” She asked the hysterical Paul.

Sadly, Paul held out his beloved package and waved his wand. The package immediately faded from view.

“That’s better. No more distractions. A shopping spree waits!” Susanna stated, brushing past a gloomy looking Paul and started down the alley at a brisk pace, Lily in tow.

Florish and Blotts bookstore was the first stop of the shopping party. The party consisted of one forlorn looking Paul Potter, looking wistfully at his hand every now and then imagining the broom he had just charmed away from his sight to appear so he could magically fly away; a stubborn Susanna Potter walking down every aisle pulling countless titles from the shelves and handing them, mindlessly to the small red headed Lily Evans who was currently drowning in guilt. Every title that fell into her grasp, she went under another inch of deep, cold, chilling guilt.

“I’ll pay you back every cent!” Lily insisted as Susanna piled a few more books into Lily’s already weighed down arms. Lily almost lost balance when Susanna carelessly turned around quickly, nipping the side of Lily’s book tower.

“Nonsense, Lily!” Susanna said again, scrolling her eyes over the shelves. She turned her head abruptly to her husband and barked “Paul, get over here and be of some help! Poor Lily is getting flattened by books.”

Paul approached Lily looking as dejected as ever and smoothly took the load from her arms, not saying a word. Lily looked at him admiringly. The books seemed to weigh nothing to him. She smiled at him, giving him her thanks. He just nodded, looking past the book shelves, his eyes unfocused. Obviously, Paul was going back to his day dreaming.

Susanna led them to the store clerk and had Paul place the books on the counter. Lily couldn’t even count the amount of text books in front of her. Noticing this was a major problem, (how was she to carry this many books during school?) Lily tugged on Susanna’s sleeve persistently.

“Susanna, I think you have gone a little over board with the amount of books. I certainly would not need this many!” Lily whispered as the store clerk bowed to them and began calculating the cost of the books.

“Of course you need this many books, Lily. There are your class texts, essential to your class work. Reference books, needed for assignments and home work. Extra texts I have added to the list, so you won’t have to search the gloomy shelves of the library all that often. And of course, I have my memories of all the texts we had to study throughout our seven years at Hogwarts and I have included them all. You won’t have to go book shopping again.” Susanna said proudly, handing over innumerable golden coins to the excited clerk.

Lily blanched “Susanna, I can not take all these books. This is crazy!”

Susanna turned on Lily after telling Paul to pick up the bags “No Lily, it is not crazy. I have no idea what your grand parent’s financial position is, for they don’t tell the whole world. But I do know that I want you to have the best possible start for your new life you can possibly have. Ok? Is that such a bad thing?” She walked out onto the street, Lily and Paul following in her wake.

Lily stared at Susanna with her wide emerald green eyes “I’m sorry I have offended you –“

Susanna growled, “You haven’t offended me at all, Lily. I just wish you would forget about this little money fiasco. I don’t care about money. I am going to set you up for your education and that is final.”

“Susie, I think you are getting a little too forceful in the matter.” Paul interrupted suddenly.

Susanna turned on him “I just care alright! I care. I couldn’t be there for Lily when her parents’ were killed but I will be here for her now! Why didn’t we get there in time, Paul? Where were we? Where was Dumbledore!?” Susanna cried suddenly, causing Lily to step back a little from the once stable and most calm woman she had ever known.

Paul didn’t respond. Instead, he placed the bags at Lily’s feet and embraced his wife silently. Lily turned away, unable to witness a strong woman, such as Susanna, break down in tears because of her.

“Go on to Madam Malkins robe shop Lily, Madam Malkin will size you up for some school robes. We will be there in a moment.” Paul whispered rubbing Susanna’s shuddering back soothingly

Lily nodded and walked the few meters to Madam Malkins. She felt the forever present guilt rise up in her heart as she stepped away from the obviously distressed Susanna. She didn’t want Susanna to be crying on account of her. But she knew it was best not to push her company onto anyone, so she walked into the shop obediently.

A bell chimed her arrival into the shop. She continued to look back to the street every now and again just to see if Susanna was alright. But the last time she attempted to do this, they were out of sight. Sighing, Lily turned back to face ahead of her just in time to walk right into something. She fell back to the ground, shaking her head at her stupidity.

A hand shot into her vision, offering her some help up. She took it, and looked beyond the hand. A boy, probably a few years older than Lily, stood next to her smiling pleasantly.

Lily blushed deeply, stuttering out her apologies. But the boy waved them away, still smiling “Don’t worry about it. It’s already forgotten.”

Lily smiled faintly at him, feeling very insecure in his presence. But he wasn’t about to get rid of him that easily. Still with his forever present smile on his face he asked, “So, what’s your name?”

Lily stared at him, her eyes becoming extremely bright because of her nervousness “Lil-lily Evans” Lily replied, forcing her words to come out as well structured as possible.

The sudden frown that came upon the boy’s face was sudden and a little frightening “Oh, gosh. I’m sorry. You’re the girl who lost her parents to that freak attack, hey?”

Lily could hardly make her head move up and down in a nodding action. Her stomach had dropped consistently, her heart going with it.

“I’m very sorry to hear about your loss. Those bastard Death Eaters have no heart targeting your parents like that, Muggles weren’t they?” He enquired. His blue eyes bored into Lily’s, she found it hard to break his gaze but when she did she looked at her uncomfortably shifting feet.

Lily nodded again, willing herself to be anywhere but there. But the thought struck Lily that she will have to get used to it. She will not have Susanna and Paul to put a stop to this torment for her at Hogwarts. She would have to deal with it herself.

“Well if it makes you feel any better, given a chance, I would take all those Death Eaters out.” He stated confidently. He gave a short laugh “Anyway, Joshua Winter’s the name. And I’m sorry again. But I must be off, I have a lot of school supplies to purchase. See you at Hogwarts”

With a last lingering smile, Joshua walked past Lily and left the shop.

Lily stood rooted on the spot. So much for dealing with people who knew what had happened to her parents! An old hand snapped its fingers in her face at that moment, causing Lily to come back to the present “My, dear? Are you alright?”

Lily shook her head a little, and blinked several times until she focused on an elderly woman wearing a white blouse littered with sewing pins and thread attached to several of them. Her grey skirt was pleated and kept her bulging stomach in check.

“Oh, hi” Lily said slowly, fixing a painful smile upon her face “You must be Madam Malkin?”

“Yes, dear I am. Are you to be attending Hogwarts this year?” Madam Malkin enquired, turning away from Lily and examining a rack full of various sized black robes.

“Yes I am.” Lily replied simply.

“Well then, stand on that stool and I will find a robe to fit you. You are awfully small, my dear girl…” Madam Malkin continued to mutter to herself about sizes and other such things as Lily stepped onto the stool feeling completely out of place in a shop full of robes.

Madam Malkin reemerged looking flustered, hanging several lengths of black material, Lily supposed were the robes she was to wear to Hogwarts, over her shoulders. She forced a robe over Lily’s head a moment later. Lily immediately felt like she was drowning in black fabric, as the robe’s hem pooled around her feet. Madam Malkin muttered to herself about her loosing her touch and yanked the robe from Lily’s head almost immediately.

Deciding to make conversation to ease the awkwardness of the situation, Lily asked, “Is the school uniform only the black robe or…?”

“No of course not, dear. There is a grey school skirt that you may wear to your knees, it’s pleated, and a white blouse. Of course, black leather school shoes are also needed, though some students like to wear dragon hide I’m not particularly sure why. Perhaps it adds character and wealth to the uniform I am not sure. But it is very durable and lasts a long time. Perfect if you have stopped growing. You will also need a cloak, gloves, knee high socks… you receive your school tie, scarf and beanie once you are sorted into your house. They are made with the House colors you know…” She continued rattling off the list at a fast pace. Lily could not quite follow her as Madam Malkin yet again threw a robe over Lily’s head and was at last satisfied with the length. “Ar. There we are. Nice fit too. Will allow some growth during the school year…”

Madam Malkin then disappeared for a moment, leaving Lily standing on the stool looking around uncomfortably. It was a few minutes before she reemerged with shoe boxes, grey skirts and several white blouses on coat hangers. “Go and change into these. I am sure they will fit you, but just incase.” Madam Malkin then indicated a change room, hidden behind a thick, navy blue curtain at the back of the shop. “Feel free to call out for other sizes, dear. God knows I have nothing better to do with my time.” And with that she left Lily to step down from the stool, gather up a few pieces of clothing and a pair of shoes and socks and enter the dressing room.

Lily unburdened herself of her load of clothing on the chair in the changing room and set about taking the robe from her shoulders. Struggling with the excess of fabric, Lily finally got the robe onto a hanger and turned to the blouse and skirt.

Madam Malkin was right to think the garments would fit her. They fit perfectly, hugging her skin so she finally had a sense of comfort. There was no mirror in the changing room so she could not possibly look at her reflection. She took the other sizes of skirts and blouses from the chair and hung them instead on the hook on the wall. Lily then sat, opening the lid to her new shiny, black leather school shoes and then rummaged for a pair of socks. Locating them quickly, Lily pulled them up to just below her knee then laced up her shoes. Taking the robe from the hanger, she donned it and opened the door and exited the changing room.

“I’m done, Madam Malkin. Do you by any chance, have a mirror?” Lily enquired.

“Of course.” Madam Malkin replied suddenly from just behind Lily, causing Lily to jump with fright. Madam Malkin smiled kindly at her edginess “A little nervous about starting school?”

“Just a little bit” Lily replied dishonestly, giving the elderly woman a weak smile.

“Oh well, that is natural. The mirror is just behind the stool you previously stood on. Step onto the stool and take a gander, I’ll be behind the counter if you need me.” With that, Madam Malkin turned away from Lily, leaving Lily staring at the stool with distaste.

Here goes nothing, Lily thought, bracing herself for the sight that was to come. Lily stepped onto the stool and turned to face the full length mirror behind her. She gasped, staring wide eyed at the stranger that looked back at her just as shocked. Her ruby red hair contrasted magnificently with the black of her school robe. She looked a pleasant sight, there was no doubt.

“Look at that. You look simply wonderful” A choked voice announced suddenly. Lily spun around, her robes billowing behind her to face Paul and Susanna Potter smiling at her. Susanna’s face was flushed but she was smiling brightly at the small girl anyway, hiding her obvious distress.

“Susanna. Are you ok?” Lily asked quickly, attempting to step from the stool and comfort the young woman.

“I’ll be fine, dear. Please, don’t move. I want to remember this. I always wanted a daughter” Susanna replied thoughtfully, smiling gracefully at Lily, then moving forward to fuss over a particle of lint on the black robe “What a simple robe can do always amazes me…” Susanna sniffed her eyes becoming teary once more. She turned her head to Madam Malkin who appeared to be adjusting the lengths of a long magenta robe on her counter, but didn’t seem to be getting anywhere considering she was now staring wide eyed at Paul and Susanna. Susanna smiled her graceful smile once more and said “Madam Malkin, may we please purchase this outfit along with three other pairs please, throw in three robes of the same size along with another two cloaks. I want the lining of the cloaks to be silver and gold, you know those special ones that charm the cold out?” Madam Malkin was nodding her head repeatedly as Susanna spoke. Susanna continued “Five pairs of socks, two pairs of shoes and I think that is all.”

“Of course.” Madam Malkin replied, stunned. She numbly waved her wand. Her counter was immediately choking in bundles of brown paper, Lily supposed was her new sets of her Hogwarts uniform.

“Thank you” Susanna said, approaching the counter and handing over countless golden coins once more. “Keep the change, Madam Malkin.”

They then left the shop, a twinkling of the bell announcing their departure for the whole alley.

“Where to next?” Lily asked a little awkwardly. She had not forgotten her guilt, but it was best not to argue with Susanna.

“Ollivanders: Maker of Fine Wands.” Susanna stated, once again taking Lily’s hand.

~*~ Meanwhile~*~

James stepped off the floating platform which had been so generous to take him to his Father’s Study.

He tried with all his might to contain his excitement but he couldn’t keep his legs from lifting him off the ground repeatedly in a series of victory jumps. He had made it! He was actually standing in the forbidden office and his parents could do nothing about it!

James turned slowly on the spot glorying in the sheer existence of such a place. The ceiling was domed glass, and all James could see above him was the bright blue sky even if he were to run to every corner of the room. His father’s desk was situated in the middle of the room, placed in the perfect place to be able to see all the room could offer. The desk was littered with piles of parchment. James presumed this to be the latest horde of paper work for all his parent’s raids. James turned again, and was suddenly affronted with a sight he never thought he would see in all his life.

The walls of the office were literally soaking in fine models of brooms. James was in heaven, he was drooling, and he was blinking uncontrollably. This was what he lived for. This was his dream come true.

Without wasting a moment, James approached a golden broomstick a few steps away. He dropped to his knees as though worshipping the fine piece of wood. Reaching out a tentative, small hand, James brushed his finger tips across the surface of the sparkling handle. It was so smooth, so sleek, James had to fight the temptation to rip it from the wall and hold it completely in his grasp.

But he backed away from the wall after a thoughtful moment. He had made it up here. He had seen the collection with his own eyes. Now it was time to leave, so he could not possibly get caught.

As James turned away from the wall and back to the centered desk, temptation bit back at him in the form of a slowly materializing broom wrapped in brown paper.

James’ eyes widened in surprise as they locked upon the package. This was James’s sign. This materialization was telling him that he must take a broom, any broom. And sadly, James could only think of one broom to grasp.

Approaching the desk with quick and confident foot steps, James reached out a shaking hand of fingers and began to unwrap the package. His hands shook violently, causing the task to be much more difficult than James had ever realized it could be.

Piece by piece the brown paper was shredded from the whole, and after a few moments James’ eyes beheld the sight he could and would never get sick of. The silver paint was immaculate, the sleek and shining handle was thin and looked to be made just for his hands to hold. The brooms tall was perfectly straight and polished, every strand of wood was soaked in varnish or some sort of polish.

James’s breathing came in hoarse, short gasps as he fought the urge to yell and scream in delight as he read the sliver flowing script on the side of the broom that spelt out “The Speeding Bullet Two-Sixty.”

He had to have this broom. He must have it. Otherwise, James feared that his life as he knew it would crumble from the desire and the craving of having this fine broomstick in his possession.

James looked around quickly. He saw the platform still floating by the side of the office, innocently awaiting him to depart. He saw the winding staircase that was just a ploy for anyone wanting to gain access to the room unfaithfully. There was no other option.

Snatching the broom from the desk and holding it protectively to his chest as though it were a new-born child, James sprinted to the staircase mentally readying himself for the sudden drop of the stairs that make a slide. A fast escape, in other words.

~*~

Mr. Ollivander muttered to himself in annoyance. Lily was turning out to be quite the challenge to match a wand.

Lily stood, surrounded by discarded wands and wand boxes looking awfully flushed and humiliated as Mr. Ollivander shuffled to her once more with an out stretched wand “Dragon heart string, five inches, Willow. Give it a wave Miss Evans.”

Lily did as she was told. But it amounted to absolutely nothing. Lily hung her head with a sigh as she gave the wand back to Mr. Ollivander, whom threw it to the floor in a fit of rage “Why are you so difficult to put a match too, Miss Evans? You are of course magical! Why won’t just one wand taking a shining to you? Honestly!”

“Can’t I just pick one out?” Lily asked, looking at the little old man with the creepy silver eyes helplessly.

Mr. Ollivander looked as though Lily had just hit him in the face “No, I could not possibly allow that! It’s the wand that chooses the wizard or witch in your case. You should know that by now Miss Evans!”

Susanna coughed loudly, causing Mr. Ollivander to look over in her direction shrewdly. She and Paul were currently sitting edgily in two very fragile looking chairs like they thought the chairs would break at any minute “You have to admit, Mr. Ollivander that your technique is obviously not working this time. Why don’t you let Lily have a chance to pick out a wand? What harm could come of that?” Susanna had her pleasant smile fixed and her blue eyes staring. Lily couldn’t shake the thought of how intimidating this look was.

Mr. Ollivander shook his head stubbornly, “I know I will get it at some point, if we just keep trying we will find the match…”

“What if we don’t have all day, Mr. Ollivander?” Susanna interrupted, somewhat rudely.

Lily looked out the window, she noticed the sun was beginning to drop lower and lower behind the buildings in Diagon Alley and the surrounding area. The day was almost over, and she still had so much to do.

Susanna and Mr. Ollivander continued to argue even though Paul persistently attempted to end the exchange of pleasantries. But nothing could stop them.

Lily stepped out of her circle of discarded wands and walked around the shop. She was going to find herself a wand and that was final.

She extended an arm and pointed her index finger, running it along the rows of little rectangle wands stacked up to the ceiling. She knew she would never be able to reach all the way up there, so she was hoping that her wand was to be found on the lower shelves. She pulled out a box at random, from its snug position on the shelf. Surprisingly, when Lily pulled the box free the vacant hole remained for easy replacing. Lily was thankful, her visit to the wand shop had not been particularly pleasant considering the ongoing argument between Susanna and Mr. Ollivander and Lily didn’t want to make matters worse by messing up his wand order, however strange it maybe.

Lily squinted at the writing scrawled on the side of the box. It was of strange measurements (ten and a quarter inches long), the type of wood used (Willow) and the core. This part was smudged and however much she squinted at the smudged script, she couldn’t decipher it however hard she tried.

Lily’s hands began to shake as she quietly took the lid off the thin rectangular box. On a plush lining of deep midnight blue satin sat a beautifully crafted wand. Lily looked around quickly, making sure that Mr. Ollivander was still engrossed in the argument with Susanna which had, strangely enough, morphed into an argument about the weather.

Lily took the wand from its box and at once knew this was the wand for her. Waving it confidently, sparks of every imaginable color came from the tip of the wand. Finally, Susanna and Mr. Ollivander fell silent and stared at Lily in wonder.

Susanna’s frown melted away to be replaced with a bright and ecstatic smile. She hurriedly pushed coins into Mr. Ollivander’s hands with a “Thank you for your services”, draped an arm around a shocked and pale Lily’s shoulders and spirited her out of the shop, Paul wandering slowly behind them.

“Paul! Hurry up we have so much to buy and not enough daylight.” Susanna called in the hope of speeding up Paul’s slow paces.

But it did nothing. Paul continued to walk slowly, staring at his own wand with a sickly green complexion, his eyes wide and tearing.

Susanna turned her head, still walking “Paul! Come on! Hurry up or…what’s that buzzing?” Susanna trailed off noticing Paul’s face “What’s happened?”

Paul looked up from his wand. It was currently buzzing softly, but as every moment passed the buzzing rose in volume. Paul’s eyes focusing lazily on Susanna’s worried expression. Lily’s heart tensed, Paul’s face spelled trouble so obviously Lily feared for Paul’s life.

“It’s James, Susie.” Paul whispered, his words so high pitched and uncontrolled. Paul blinked slowly, then fixed his eyes back upon his wife “James is in my office.”

“And?” Susanna enquired not sounding at all worried.

What little color remained in Paul’s face immediately drained away at Susanna’s words, “And Susie? And?! And nothing! James is in my office! James found a way up to my office! James has found my collection of brooms… and oh no! James can take what ever broom he likes, because the room thinks it’s me in there. And…” Paul’s face was ghostly as the truth of his thoughts finally struck him, hard. “I just sent the Speeding Bullet to my office. And knowing James, it would be his first choice. I have to go!” Paul informed as he turned away and sped down the alley towards the exit.

“PAUL POTTER! YOU GET BACK HERE THIS INSTANT!” Susanna screeched. Her face flushed red, her light blue eyes darkened unimaginably.

Paul froze mid step, along with all the other shopping witches and wizards in Diagon Alley.

Paul hung his head, and back tracked amid staring eyes and echoing laughs. “Susie, please! I have to get home before James hops onto that broomstick and flies to London for all I know!” Paul pleaded with his stubborn wife, whom smiled at him wickedly, as she pointed her wand at the shopping bags pooled around his feet causing them to fade from view.

“Wouldn’t it be smarter to wait here for him then, Paul? We still have so much shopping to do…” Susanna trailed off as she felt something in her pocket. She smiled suddenly “Oh, ok I guess you can go home and try to catch James. But take Lily with you, I am sure she would love to see the Potter Estate, and perhaps meet James.” With that Susanna turned and walked away from Paul instead, heading to a nearby jeweler shop.

“But, Susanna!” Paul cried, his voice echoing down the silent street.

“Your office, your business! And Lily has to at least know a few people when she gets on the Hogwarts Express. I’d rather it be James than some little Slytherin. I have to finish buying Lily’s supplies!” Susanna called back. She entered the Jewelers and disappeared from view.

“Come on, Lily” Paul said quickly, taking her hand “We must get to James before he does something stupid!”

He pulled her along the path. Lily turned her head frantically in every direction in the hope of soaking in as much of Diagon Alley as she possibly could. They passed under the archway and it closed behind them automatically.

Paul opened the back door of The Leaky Cauldron for Lily, and practically nudged her through the door. Annoyed, Lily quickened her pace just to be over taken by Paul’s long strides as he neared the bar.

“Oh look what we have here! Paul Potter! Oh, I would take you home any day, love!” an elderly witch screamed at Paul’s appearance at the bar.

Paul smiled weakly at the elderly witch who was currently devouring a plate of liver. Lily saw this and shuddered with disgust. Paul tapped his fingers upon the bar, attempting to gain attention from Tom the Inn Keeper.

After a few long painful moments, Tom’s disfigured face turned in Lily and Paul’s direction and his expression brightened instantly. “How can I be of service, Mr. Potter?” He enquired.

“I need to use your fire. I must Floo Lily to the Potter Estate. Something terrible has happened! James is in my office –“

“There is no need to explain, Mr. Potter. Please follow me.” Tom walked out from behind the bar and led them to a room at the back of the pub. It looked to be a private parlor, complete with a massive dining table chairs, several couches placed near the windows and an elegant fireplace. Tom approached the fire place and ignited the wood in the grate with a wave of his wand. He then reached to the cupboards above the mantle and pulled down a rather large pot.

Paul turned to Lily and lowered himself to her eye level “Ok Lily, we must hurry or James will have touched every broomstick with his dirty hands.”

“Forgive me, Mr. Potter. But I am sure Master James thinks even the cleanest of hands are not worthy to touch even a Cleansweep, Sir.” Tom stated, holding out the pot to Lily somewhat innocently.

Paul glared at him, and then turned back to Lily “This way of transport, through the fire, is called Floo. You are to use the Floo Network. That powder in there is called Floo Powder. Now you must take a pinch, throw it into the flames and say very, very clearly “The Potter Estate”, ok? If you don’t say it clearly, you could end up in any fire place on Earth. So remember, speak clearly, say “Potter Estate”, eyes closed and elbows tucked in. I will meet you on the other side.” He then pushed Lily toward the fire.

Biting her lip nervously, Lily threw the Floo Powder into the flames. The flames immediately changed color to emerald green. Lily then stepped into the flames, tightly closing her eyes, bracing herself for the burning sensation this act would usually bring to her body. But the flames were only pleasantly warm, playfully blowing her hair around her face. Lily took a small breath and said very clearly “The Potter Estate”.

Lily was spinning to fast, her elbows were thankfully tucked close to her body.

Then at last the spinning started to slow, and Lily fell suddenly onto a plush crimson and gold rug looking up at a sparkling trophy case.

A/N: Another long chapter… but a few more interesting things… hope you enjoyed it… please leave a review =)… next chapter next week sometime… bye for now

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