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Author’s Note: This one-shot was written for Round Three of the TGS Writathon, in which the entrants were challenged to write two one-shots of opposing genres. This is probably my first and only attempt to write fluff for the Harry Potter fandom. In addition, this piece may be considered a companion to its sister one-shot “Laid in Earth”. I hope you enjoy!


Disclaimer: I claim no ownership of J.K. Rowling’s work


Brindisi


That was enough.

Lily stepped out into the sunshine, which was tepid and hindered by the promise of rain. She had left her sandals by the kitchen door and only realized she was barefoot when her toes hit the grass.

She would have turned around, almost had…if it had not been for a fresh blast of sound from Petunia’s record player. It was like this every Sunday. Every bloody Sunday. Their parents would take the car into town to do the week’s shopping and Tuney would hole up in her room, listening to opera.

Lily considered herself cultured. She had read all of the children’s classics at her school’s library and even sat through an amateur production of “Hamlet”. And opera itself wasn’t that bad, actually, the first time around, anyway. But Tuney had latched onto a particular song, something called “Brindisi”, and she liked to play it over and over again…and then some.

Lily had come to anticipate the scratch of the record every four minutes or so when Tuney would replay the song. And it was big song. Full of bombast and bellows. After a while she began to feel as though she were at the circus and the acrobats were swinging from the trapezes in time to some loopy, organ grinder tune.

It made her want to throw up, honestly.

But now she just had to get out of the house.

Mum wouldn’t be happy. She expected both of her girls to stay inside when she went shopping.

But if stay I inside, I just might shatter that record, Lily thought. And Mum would be downright furious then. With only two weeks until her first term at Hogwarts started, Mum had been acting awful strange. She worried about Tuney locked up in her room and she worried about Lily, who, quite frankly, did not seem to care. And she wanted to keep the peace in the family, or so she had told her daughters time and again as the summer drew to a close.

But in her mind, Lily was already away at Hogwarts.

And in her mind, she had settled on not leaving her backyard that afternoon. But as she stood by the brick wall, her body flush against the still-warm stones, she could only hear Tuney’s music.

Godiamo, la tazza e il cantico
la notte abbella e il riso


Whatever that meant. Stealthily, Lily unlatched the yard gate and crossed the road to the playground. Beyond the empty swing set, she could see the first of the thicket of trees and remembered the evening last week when she had caught fireflies on the bank of the stream. Tuney, as expected, hadn’t been thrilled with the activity and she had left her jar on the grass for Lily to fill with the incandescent, fickle light of dozens of the tiny bugs. Before heading for home, however, she had let them all go into the bushes. She always let them go.

There was no one in the playground and Lily knew that she would definitely be grounded for the rest of her summer break if she crossed over into the trees. Her parents might even try to keep her home from Hogwarts, but they couldn’t actually do that, could they?

She’d have to ask Sev. He knew an awful lot about certain things, though sometimes Lily thought he only made up stories to impress her. In the beginning, she had thought Hogwarts was made up…and then her letter came, the parchment reassuringly definite when she held it in her hands.

Lily stepped under the cool cover of the trees and was surprised when the damp shade raised gooseflesh along her arms. She was wearing a light, cream-colored frock her Mum had bought from a store in London. It was supposed to be for special occasions only, but Lily loved it so much that her Mum finally gave in and allowed her to wear it whenever she wanted.

Now as she dropped to her knees by the stream, she noticed just how frayed the hem was. Nothing lasted forever, not even a dress from London.

She laid back on the grass and shut her eyes and tried to listen to the low trickling of the stream as it crawled over pebbles and more than a few tadpoles. But in her ears, Lily still heard Tuney’s song playing rudely. She knew enough of it to remember some of the awkward Italian phrasing, but the words jumbled together nonsensically in her mind, creating an obnoxious blend of the soprano and tenor both vying to hit the high note.

She grimaced, pressing the heels of her palms to her ears. “Be quiet, Tuney!”

“It’s not Tuney,” someone muttered off to her right. “It’s Sev. Sorry, I didn’t mean to make so much noise.”

Lily’s eyes shot open and she lifted herself up on her elbows just in time to see Sev picking his way into the clearing. Unlike her, he had no natural grace of movement and his overly-large t-shirt had caught on some bramble, snagging and ripping with a snarl.

Lily recognized the shirt he was wearing. Her neighbor, Mrs. Fogerty, had put it in the church charity bin just last week. It didn’t surprise her, though. Sev was the type of boy who didn’t have to dress fancy to be impressive. Lily thought he was talented and smart and funny without even trying.

Seeing him stumble into the thicket made her nagging headache retreat immediately. “Hey Sev. I wasn’t talking about you. It’s Tuney. She’s been playing that record my Aunt Celia brought her when she visited last month. I haven’t heard anything but that song all morning.”

“Yeah,” Sev grated, tugging at his torn sleeve with a frown. “I might’ve heard it as I was crossing through the playground. She sure plays it loud. Ugh, my Mum is going to kill me. This shirt was new.”

He folded his legs and dropped onto the grass. Lily watched as he tugged at a few dry blades, rubbing them between his fingers until they shriveled.

“Do people play records a lot at Hogwarts?” she asked him suddenly.

Sev looked up at her through his heavy bangs, half-shrugging. He had perfected the art of indifference a long time ago, Lily noticed, though sometimes he would forget to act all grown-up and tease her mercilessly. And although she pretended to be annoyed, she secretly liked it when he teased her.

“Muggle appliances don’t work at Hogwarts,” he told her. “There are wizard radios and record players, but my Mum doesn’t even have one of those. I don’t think many students would.”

“And only Tuney is silly enough to like opera, right?” Lily prompted him. She was hoping that he would agree with her outright and declare that he hated opera just as much as her. Because if he happened to like it, well, then she would hate to hurt his feelings.

“It sounds like an elephant trying to sing,” he said at last.

And for some reason, Lily found this deliciously hysterical. She laughed until she hiccupped, making Sev blush. He did that a lot lately, now that she thought about it.

“Oh Sev, I can’t wait till we’re at Hogwarts.” She scooted closer to him and threw her shoulder against his affectionately. “I think I might smash Tuney’s stupid record if I have to hear that song one more time, though. If my parents ground me, will they have to let me out of the house to go to Hogwarts?”

He did not respond right away, but squinted. The rain the weatherman had been promising all weekend had arrived in the form of a drizzle and it crackled off the leaves above them.

Lily, however, had no intention of running home.

Funny, it was usually Sev who didn’t want to go home at night.

He was scowling now, a look that was just as practiced as his indifference. “I don’t know. I think your parents have to let you go Hogwarts. It’s a law or something. But maybe I can teach you a spell so that you don’t have to break the record.”

He shifted slightly, reaching into his pant’s pocket and pulling out a thin, wooden stick.

Lily’s hands flew to her mouth. “Sev, is that a wand? Oh my God, where did you get it?”

“My Mum took me to Diagon Alley last week,” he said, fiddling with the tip of the wand. “I was going to wait to show it to you until you got yours, but…” He paused and shrugged.

Lily was too excited to take into account his thoughtful consideration. She raised herself up on her knees and drew as close to the wand as she dared. Sev’s raspy breathing filled her ears, a much more pleasant sound that Tuney’s old “Brindisi”. “I thought we weren’t supposed to do magic outside of school.”

“Well, we’re not in school yet, technically.” He pronounced the last word proudly. “And little kids do magic accidentally all the time. It’s not our fault.”

“But we’re not little kids, Sev,” she reminded him.

He only shook his head. “It shouldn’t matter. And the Ministry can hardly blame you for wanting to shut Tuney up.”

Lily suddenly felt worry nip at her conscience. “I don’t want to hurt her,” she said. “Or her record, I guess.” She realized how much that stupid opera meant to her sister and her Mum was right about one thing; they had been fighting a lot lately and she didn’t want to leave her sister mad at her when she went to Hogwarts.

“You won’t,” Sev assured her. He seemed a bit more excited now at the prospect of doing magic, possibly forbidden magic.

Lily, who had never seen a wand in her life, didn’t realize how clumsily he was holding it. In her eyes, everything Sev did was right. She hoped that when she got to Hogwarts she wouldn’t look too silly, not knowing anything. But Sev would help her. He always would.

“The spell is called Muffliato,” he said eagerly. “I’ve seen my Mum use it sometimes. If you cast it on Tuney, then she’ll still be able to hear her music, but you won’t. I think that’s how it works,” he finished. The scowl had returned to his face.

But Lily was too anxious to notice. She squeezed his arm. “But I don’t have a wand. How can I cast it?”

“Well, I can always do it for you.”

“Not at night, when I’m in my room and she starts playing it.”

“Then you can borrow my wand,” he said. “until you get yours, of course. And anyway, I don’t really need mine until we get to Hogwarts.”

This seemed all right to Lily. She nodded in agreement and watched as Sev tried to roll back the baggy sleeves of his ripped t-shirt.

“So you just hold it like this,” he said, pointing his wand up to the sky. “And you say, Muffliato. Here goes! Muffliato!” He gave the wand a flick.

Nothing happened, so far as Lily was concerned, anyway. She tried not to look disappointed.

But then Sev gasped and pointed up to the trees excitedly. “Look, Lily!”

She saw a little sparrow perched on a sapling branch above. It was singing, or seemed to be, it’s tiny beak opened and feathery breast puffed out. But she, yes she, couldn’t hear a thing.

“The rain,” she said suddenly. The drops were still falling but she couldn’t hear them hitting the leaves.

And for a moment, Sev smiled brightly. Beautifully. “I did it,” he breathed.

“Oh Sev!” Lily was so happy that she threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.

It was an inconsequential moment, one that Lily wouldn’t remember in a week but Sev would for his entire life. Years later, Lily would only recall the warm sensation that had settled in her chest and remained there whenever she was around Sev, even when he called her a Mudblood and they left Hogwarts.

But that moment, like all moments, slipped away into time and before Lily knew it, she was reaching for the wand.

“Let me try,” she said, not noticing the closed look on Sev’s face, the way he bit his lower lip and seemed to look within himself instead of without.

Although Lily tried the spell over and over again, she simply could not get it to work. When tears darkened her eyes and she began to worry that perhaps Hogwarts had made a mistake in sending her a letter, Sev put his arm around her shoulders.

“It’s all right,” he said. “Sometimes certain wands don’t work for people, that’s why we all have one wand, a wand that chooses us. As soon as you get yours, we’ll try it again. I bet it’ll work.”

Lily returned his wand, still feeling disappointed but hopeful. She was about to ask Sev if he wanted to go to the playground and sit on the swings when she heard Tuney calling from their backyard.

Her sister’s voice was tearful.

“Lily! Lily! Where are you?”

Lily found herself sighing. Without a word, Sev helped her to her feet and they left the thicket, crossing into the playground and then coming out onto the road. From there, they could hear the first of Tuney’s record.

“Time to face the music,” she muttered.

“Hey, Lily?” For an instant, Sev’s voice was louder than the opera. Instinctively, Lily turned towards him and when she did, his lips found her cheek. Lightly.

She hadn’t meant to step away from him, but she did. Sev scowled immediately tugged at his torn sleeve.

“Sorry.”

“It’s--” she began, but then Tuney’s music reached its crescendo.

In questo paradiso ne sopra il nuovo dì

Her words were drowned out.

Sev turned to go. “I’ll…I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She did not stop him, but watched him walk down the road in his torn t-shirt with his wand hanging limply from one hand.

And then Tuney finally took her record off.

Lily knew she should have gone straight into the house to tell her sister how sorry she was for running off. Because she was sorry. And she realized now, after Sev had gone, that she would never have used that silly charm to silence her sister’s music.

Instead, she sat in her backyard and waited for the fireflies to come out, her cheek still touched with a stolen kiss gifted on borrowed time.

And in years to come, Lily would not remember the kiss she had given Sev, but she would always remember the one he had given her.

 

 






Author’s Note: Thanks so much for reading! If you have a free moment, please leave a review.


Lyrics taken from Verdi’s “Brindisi”.

Translations:

Godiamo, la tazza e il cantico la notte abbella e il riso - Be happy ... wine and song
and laughter beautify the night

In questo paradiso ne sopra il nuovo dì - Let the new day find us in this paradise
 
 

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