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Chapter Thirty Five: At the Guzzling Goblin the somewhat eccentric bartender and owner, Ono was at it again. The bubbling gold brew glistened in the dim lights and for once didn’t seem to be throwing off sparks, or alarming belches. “That’s pretty,” Said Lily, “What is it Ono?” She was meeting Sophie Burns in just a few minutes, it was the first week of October and the full moon had just started to wane. Remus should be fine by this evening. “It’s Galaxy Gold Dust!” Ono was pleased with this creation. In theory it would help bring prosperity to whoever consumed it. “Would you like to try some? On the house, of course.” Lily looked at the pretty drink and felt tempted. Honestly, this looked completely harmless. “What does it taste like?” “Persimmons!” Ono was tickled to death as he reached for a glass. Finally, a success! “Well, promise me that you’ll transform me back if I turn into a footstool or something.” Lily had sniffed the drink it smelled just lovely. She looked towards the end of the bar, where a man and a woman sat together chatting companionably to her relief she saw that they both had goblets of the mixture in front of them and yet still gave every appearance of being fine. “Cheers!” Sophie had entered as Lily spoke with the owner and now stood at her side. “Don’t do it, you have a child to consider.” “I think he may really have gotten it right this time.” Lily knew that Ono was a long and trusted friend of Dumbledore’s plus she had worked out so many potions of her own that she felt an odd kinship with the barkeep. He’d never try to hurt anyone on purpose. “Fine, but did you listen closely to it yet?” Sophie had been here many times with Remus and she knew the possible pitfalls of Ono’s concoctions. Lily hadn’t heard anything from the drink yet, but she leaned her ear down close and as a bubble burst to the surface, she heard the tiniest little bark. “Ono! What have you put in this?” Lily immediately pushed the drink away. “It’s just the essence you know! I’d never hurt an animal.” Ono looked a bit flustered. “All it takes is a bit of hair from a ….” “Niffler.” Lily finished. “Ono, no! You’ve got to throw it out now what if people take on the characteristics of one?” Ono looked sadly at the caldron and said, “Do you think that’s possible?” “With my own eyes I have seen you accidentally turn a ministry employee into a Pixie. Of course I think it’s possible.” Lily was having a difficult time not giggling. Ono had absolutely no malice in him, that was for certain but he was still a bit of a menace. “Bugger could fly too. Took me half an hour to get him down long enough to change him back. So, lemonades perhaps?” “Two please, as long as it is just lemonade.” Lily smiled at Sophie and said, “Thanks for saving me, that was a near miss.” “He’s taken to putting allurement charms on them. You have to be really vigilant.” Sophie grinned back. As they took a seat at a table together. “Was there anything you wanted to talk to me about?” Sophie had asked her here because Lily had taken some work of hers into the ministry’s potions department and would be nearby. “No, just thought it would be nice to see you. It’s always nice to have a bit of company.” Sophie’s smile was completely natural. “With Remus gone for the moment, you mean?” Lily asked. She wasn’t sure of anything really, just that Remus and Sophie seemed both happy but somehow as if they were holding something back when they were around each other. Sophie played with a napkin for moment, looking down at the table. “Well, yes. We do like to spend time together.” “I see.” Lily did her best to keep from grinning. This was marvelous news as far as she was concerned. Remus deserved to be happy and so did Sophie. She’d watched as Sophie had changed from a rather frivolous girl into a woman dedicated to what the Order was doing. She joked a great deal but when serious matters arose, she was brave, level headed and had even managed to save Moody from a tough spot just last week. The Auror had been engaged in a battle when he had found himself lightly stunned, and thinking quickly, Sophie had transformed the floor underneath the Death Eater’s feet into an oil slick, causing him to slip immediately. Then Sophie had been able to disarm and stun him. It was a nice trick and would come in handy for all of them Lily hoped. “We haven’t done anything much Lily.” Sophie knew that Amelia Strong had been one of Lily’s best friends for years. “That’s entirely up to you.” Lily commented seriously. “We did nearly but you know, having Death Eaters descend upon you just as your about to lose your virginity really is enough to make a person permanently celibate.” Sophie was joking but only by half. It had been weeks and weeks since that had happened but it had served one purpose, Sophie had been staying at headquarters until she found a new place to live. Just the thought of Moody crashing in on them was enough to make anyone nearly take up a nun’s veil. She still stayed at Remus’s sometimes and bless Atticus Sliverton’s heart, he had seemed to figure out what was what because he would always distract the others with vague announcements about Sophie being out for a bit on errand, but sure to be back soon, certainly by morning. At least at Remus’s they had the horribly uncomfortable couch and the equally unappealing bed to help keep them apart. It had only been a few weeks ago that Amelia’s picture had been moved to a bookshelf where it wasn’t facing them. They’d had a close call since then, but that mad cat Pavolo had launched himself onto them, spitting furiously. Sophie wasn’t sure what held Remus back, but she knew what was on her mind. Now, Remus would be back tomorrow, Sophie had found a place of which even Moody approved and there didn’t seem to be anything standing in their way. Accept for one thing. “Lily?” Sophie wanted to ask, but wasn’t quite sure how to do it. Lily’s green eyes were trained on Sophie’s face and she looked kind. “I know what’s bothering you.” Lily said gently. “You want to know if Amelia would mind.” “Yes.” Sophie if anyone would know, it would be Lily or Megan. Lily had seemed like the best person to ask because Meg’s memory could still be just a bit foggy about the past. “That all depends.” Lily’s voice was kind. “Do you love him?” “Well, it’s different than I thought love would be. I always thought love was all about…I don’t know, that it was frantic or something. That if you weren’t constantly in tears about it then it wasn’t the real thing.” Sophie’s expression was thoughtful. “This is different, it’s warm and soothing. I just want to be near him, make sure he’s never hurt again. Keep him company, talk with him….and well, honestly, other things too. Like watching him smile, and it makes me smile too. It’s so…gentle. Yet, I still desperately want to… It’s not at all what I thought it would be.” She paused and her face suddenly seemed lit from within, “It’s different, but Lily, it’s somehow better. Less…silly than I’d ever imagined. Does that sound like love?” “Yes, it does. The best kind actually.” Lily smiled to herself. This was even better than she imagined. Sophie was describing something she was very familiar with it was how she felt about James. “Good, I thought so too.” Sophie grinned. “Then I can tell you truthfully, I don’t think Amelia would mind one bit. I think she’d be very happy in fact.” Lily’s gaze never left Sophie’s. “She loved him too you know, very much. So much that she wouldn’t want him to spend his time alone. She’d want him to be loved, fully. That would make her happy, I think.” “Oh Lord, I haven’t the foggiest why I’m crying.” Sophie tried to laugh to cover up the tears that had started. “I think I do.” Lily said, “You’re in love, and you want to know it’s all right.” “That about sums it up.” Sophie sniffed, looked up and then said, “Oh my….Ono! Ono get your wand out!” Lily swiveled in her chair and looked in the same direction as Sophie. The man and woman drinking the Galaxy Gold Dust were wrestling on the floor, the woman trying to gnaw the man’s watch off while the man was nibbling the front of her robes, evidently trying to tear off a gold broach. “I’m coming! Never fret, never fear!” Ono came out from the back his wand held high. “This is a safe establishment, no worries!” The young women at the table couldn’t help but be reduced to helpless piles of mirth.

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