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The hints of dawn had already begun to show, but James and Lily still remained in the common room discussing the Order of the Phoenix. James had told Lily all he knew, and together they had tried to determine what all could happen as a result of Voldemort on the rise and only a few witches and wizards to fight him. Lily completely agreed with Rochem, surprisingly, even though Rochem was the head of Slytherin and none too friendly towards Gryffindors like herself, though he never called her a mud blood. “Dumbledore needs anyone and everyone to fight. We’re all a part of the wizarding world, so we all need to stand up against bullies that try to take over. Especially because only a few people are fighting him.” Lily told James forcefully. “Comparing Voldemort to a bully is a little unevenly matched.” James replied. He wholeheartedly supported the Order and what they were fighting for, but he felt that recruiting 17 year olds was a little extreme. “Lily, it would be like Dumbledore coming up to you and me in the hallway today and asking, ‘Hey, want to fight a super powerful and evil wizard that will probably kill us all?’!” “I know, James.” Lily sighed, closing her eyes for a moment in exhaustion. “But some things are worth fighting for, and even dying for as in this case.” “Would you be willing to do it?” James inquired seriously, twirling a strand of her hair between his fingers. “If Dumbledore did ask you, would you join the Order of the Phoenix?” Lily’s emerald green eyes looked at him in such an intense way , there was no doubt in James’s mind she was being sincere. “Yes. Voldemort is killing muggles and muggle borns for fun. It would be better to die fighting against him than to live and watch him do that, to stand by and do nothing.” James nodded solemnly in agreement, but after a moment, he couldn’t help but smile at her serious face. Lily’s brow was wrinkled in deep thought, but there were still a few stray pieces of glitter clinging to her face. He brushed them off tenderly, and leaned forward to kiss her when a sound behind him startled them both. “Did you two get up so early just to do more of that?” Sirius asked, yawning hugely as Lily blushingly pulled herself off of James. She had been curled up next to him on the couch, and it was easy to see how Sirius would conclude they had been doing more than talking. James grumbled. “Never went to bed. We’ve been here talking the entire time.” He replied. Sirius’s dark eyebrows arched at these words. “Oh, I see. ‘Talking’ the entire night. Of course.” Sirius nodded in a knowing voice. “You’re up rather early yourself, Sirius.” Lily remarked as Sirius lowered himself into an armchair facing them. “You usually party pretty hard, and are hard to get up the next day.” “Meaning that you’re so drunk when you go to bed, you’re too wasted in the morning to get up.” James clarified. “Yes, well, that does seem to be my tendency.” Sirius shrugged unabashedly. “But before I even got to sample the spiked pumpkin juice last night, I happen to overhear you two, and after that I was so turned around and confused I couldn’t have been more out of it had I drunken an entire lake of Firewhiskey!” “Sorry about that.” James shrugged, grinning at his friend. “That’s okay. I’m fine, now. It was just a little bit of a shock, to see you two snogging like that while the rest of us were afraid of a death duel.” Sirius admitted, looking a little disturbed as he recalled the events. “And I’m sorry about the whole ‘don’t kill me, Lily!’ thing before. I’m stupid, we all know it.” Lily laughed and James rolled his eyes. “I forgive you, Sirius. And I’m sorry about the whole Marauder secret thing, and the-” Lily began, but Sirius stopped her. “Let’s don’t even go there. It’s over now, and I am okay with it all.” Sirius told them firmly. “Also, you probably said the same thing to James last night right before the smooching commenced, and if you and I started doing that right now, James might feel a little put out.” James tackled Sirius, and Lily laughed even harder at the pair of them. It was good to be back on speaking terms with Sirius, too. She had forgotten how wittily silly he could be, and how funny it was to watch him and James wrestle. After the scuffle was resolved (James won, but it had been a close fight), Sirius turned serious again. “No, but honestly, what were you two talking about?” Sirius asked, and Lily began to explain again. James listened for awhile, but he was so tired from lack of sleep that soon enough, he was snoring on the couch. Remus, who had just come down from the dormitory, looked interestedly at the three of them, and turned to ask Lily and Sirius what was going on, but Sirius held a finger up to his lips, hushing him. “You’ll wake him up!” Sirius scolded mildly, and Lily and Remus both raised their eyes at his motherly behavior. “And I want to have that privilege.” Sirius added in a more mischievous whisper, and Lily and Remus understood. James lay curled up in a ball, peacefully slumbering on the couch, as Sirius pointed his wand at him. Sirius smiled widely, and whispered a spell that Lily couldn’t hear. A large quantity of ice and water shot from his wand, drenching James. James jerked awake as the icy blast hit him, completely soaked. Lily, Remus, and Sirius were in cavorts of laughter. “S-s-Sirius!” James spluttered through the water running down his face, his teeth chattering. “D-d-do you always have t-t-to be s-s-so disruptive when you w-w-wake people up-p-p?!?” “Of course!” Sirius chortled as James stood up and his dripping robes formed a puddle around his feet. James shook his wet head, sending droplets of water flying. When he had finished doing this, his hair was drier but more untidy than ever, and quite fluffy. Sirius, Remus, and Lily watched as he smiled sweetly, coming closer to Sirius. Sirius looked rather alarmed. “James! It was all in good fun! No harm meant!” Sirius pleaded as James drew closer, still smiling. “I’m n-not angry, Sirius.” James continued to shiver and advance, and Sirius was not comforted by these words. “In fact, I only w-w-want to give you a hug!” Before Sirius could protest or prevent it, James had given him a very sloppy and wet hug. Now both Sirius and James were dripping wet, and Remus and Lily laughed heartily at the wet pair of friends. After everyone had regained control (Sirius and James had laughed, too) they decided to go down to breakfast. Peter joined them along the way. In the Great Hall, many people turned and watched as Lily and James (still soaking and leaving a trail of water behind him) walked hand in hand towards the Gryffindor table. Lily remembered a time not too long ago when she would have just about died thinking about all those people staring at her, especially alongside James, but found that she really didn’t care. She no longer was afraid of what other people might think, or trying to please everyone to fit in among them, and realized she could have done this a long time ago if she had listened to her heart. And her heart was telling her that James was the only one she would ever love. Lily realized it had been telling her this all along, but she hadn’t wanted to hear it and had been afraid to listen. But she was listening now, she thought contentedly as she sat next to James at the table, feeling a little pleased that everyone knew she was with James and that she no longer had to hide anything. Her thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of the mail, and an owl swooped down to Remus to deliver the Daily Prophet across from Lily. As Remus indifferently glanced at the paper and began to set it aside, Lily watched as James began stacking his plate with pancakes, and smiled as he carefully drizzled syrup on top, his face drawn in concentration as he made sure the stack was well soaked. Just then, Remus knocked his elbow into the orange juice pitcher, knocking it over. He seemed not to notice that his cereal was floating in juice, and stared at the front page of the Daily Prophet in shock. “Nice going, Moony!” Sirius exclaimed contemptuously, examining his now orange juice-soaked muffin. James grumbled in assent, as the juice washed over his pancake stack, but Lily was interested in what had made Remus start. “What is it?” She asked, and Sirius, Peter, and James looked up at him, too. Remus shakily spread the paper out in front of Lily, and James looked over at it, too. Sirius turned his head in an attempt to read upside down from across James, and Lily gasped as she read the headline. Terror Loose: Mass Muggle Murder and Fresh Threats Lord Voldemort and Followers behind Pure-Blood Crusade Ministry officials received notification that the rumored-murderer called Lord Voldemort was on the move last night, but they were too late to prevent the catastrophe that resulted, writes one of the Prophet Reporters on the scene. Thirty seven muggles were murdered late last night in a “movie theater” (where muggles buy tickets and watch moving pictures that tell a story), all of which were unarmed. When the ministry arrived on the scene, the muggle “police men” had already begun to investigate the scene. “All of them are dead, but we don’t know how! There’s not a scratch on them!” Exclaimed muggle police chief Tony Carlyle of the bodies. “They’re perfectly healthy, except that they’re dead!” All 37 muggles had been killed with Avada Kedavra, concluded the officials, explaining why there was no harm to any of the victims, except for being dead. There were no direct witnesses of the assault, but Jerry Ganderfield, a “soda-jerk”, was nearby when it happened. “I heard a lot of popping noises, a lot like the popcorn I make, but it was coming from the theater.” Jerry explained. “At first, I thought it was just from the movie, but then there were all these shouts, I couldn’t understand what they said, and then more popping, and finally someone shouted something else before there was a last pop! I went in, and found them all dead, every single one.” At first, it was difficult to make anything out of this account, but when the police men told us that a skull with a snake for a tongue had been hovering over the theater, the story became clear. This symbol, as many know, is the calling card of the man known as Lord Voldemort, and his followers of “Death Eaters”, and has been spotted over the sites of recent wizarding disappearances. It seems clear that Lord Voldemort is behind this massacre, and that many more are likely to occur. “This is a terrible tragedy.” Remarked one of the Ministry officials after the minds of the muggles on the scene had been modified. “And it appears evident that more of this is likely to come.” Albus Dumbledore, Headmaster of Hogwarts, etc. etc., has been cautioning the magical community for months about this Lord Voldemort, but up until this point there have not been any major events to cause alarm. Now, it seems, is the beginning of what many would call a ‘blood crusade’, led by Voldemort, to restore the value of being a pure blood and the misfortune of not being one. Over time, the belief of pure blood superiority has begun to diminish, but with Voldemort on the rise, old feelings are starting back up again. “Blood is counting for less and less with some, but it is counting more and more for me!” Declared the matriarch of one of the oldest and most prominent pure-blood families, the Blacks. “Muggles will go first, and the Mudbloods will be next!” Lord Voldemort seems to be thinking along these lines, too. Written on the “screen” (where the “movie” flashes up in the theater), in vivid green letters were the words, “You’ll be next, Mudbloods!”. Ministry officials urge everyone to use caution, and be on alert. It is certain that we have not seen the last of Lord Voldemort. Lily stared at the page in awe, and Remus and James exchanged nervous looks, realizing that Lily was in danger, too. Peter looked at them all nervously, but Sirius picked up his butter knife and savagely stabbed the paper, driving the knife into the wooden table. “Stupid, pure-blooded, bigots!” He hissed, and the others watched him with concern. “Of course my mother would have something to say about this!” As if Sirius‘s mood couldn‘t worsen, Sirius’s younger brother, Regulus, and his cousin, Bellatrix, came up behind him. “Did you see mum’s quote in the paper?” Regulus sneered. Sirius clenched his teeth and his fists. “Such a wonderful woman! She’s always been my favorite aunt!” Bellatrix exclaimed with malicious glee. Sirius was now shaking with rage, and he turned to face them. “That woman is no mother of mine.” Sirius said in a slow, bitter voice, hatred in every syllable. “I renounced the Black family a long time ago.” Regulus looked as though Sirius had slapped him, but Bellatrix was defiant. “You’ll be singing a different tune when you’re faced with the choice of being killed for being a blood traitor or being the Black you were born.” She said impressively, especially for a first year. “A blood traitor like you is worse than a mublood.” Bellatrix shot Lily a nasty look, before she and Regulus strode off to return to the Slytherin table. No one said anything for a moment while Sirius continued to seethe with rage. Another voice spoke up, startling them all once again. “Could I have a word with the five of you?” Dumbledore asked politely, though he looked rather grave. Taken aback by the underlying seriousness of his voice, they all nodded silently and stood up to follow him to his office. It was very unlike Dumbledore to call them away without the slightest offering of an explanation on the spot. This made Lily feel certain that whatever Dumbledore wanted to speak to them about, it was very serious and he did not want to be overheard by anyone. After ascending up the spiral staircase that led to the circular office, Dumbledore motioned for them all to sit down in the comfy chairs before his desk. When they were all seated and watching him expectantly, Dumbledore sighed. “I see you all have been reading the paper.” He said shortly. They all nodded, and Lily and James exchanged apprehensive looks, both suspecting what was coming next. “We are facing difficult days ahead of us, in fact, they have already begun. Unfortunately, few wizards will not realize this until it is too late.” Dumbledore continued in his grave voice, but Remus interrupted him tentatively. “Professor, but if the Daily Prophet has published this about Lord Voldemort, won’t everyone realize they’re in danger?” He asked, and James looked up to Dumbledore, feeling this was a good question. “Most won’t, they will think it doesn’t affect them, or even worse, they will underestimate Voldemort’s power and ability to cause discord. He has been gaining followers for some time now, and it was only last night that the Ministry realized this threat.” Dumbledore explained. “So there’s no hope then?” Peter asked timidly. “We can’t do anything to stop him? What would happed if we couldn’t stop him?” Dumbledore’s piercing blue eyes penetrated Peter so sharply, that Peter winced as his gaze fell on him. For a second, James feared that Dumbledore might start shouting, or be angry, but just as quickly as it had came, the sharp stare was softened. If anything, James decided, Dumbledore looked sad. “There is always hope, Mr. Pettigrew. It may be only a fool’s hope, but there is always hope. I called you to my office because I know you all to be loyal and strong people, who are just and good.” Dumbledore then in turn looked each one of them in the eye. As his eyes fell onto James, he knew he was being searched and evaluated by the old man, and for the first time since he had met Dumbledore, Dumbledore looked old. It was a scary revelation to James, that Dumbledore was old, almost as scary as what the old man was about to ask them to do. “The Order of the Phoenix is an organization that has been formed to counter-act Voldemort and his supporters, made up of wizards who are just and loyal like yourselves. You all are young, but you are living in this world just the same, and to overlook you would be just as foolhardy as to underestimate Voldemort. I feel as though I cannot ask you to do this, to risk your lives when you have so much living left to do, but I know that I must.” He paused, waiting for any outburst or reaction, but Lily, James, Sirius, Remus, and Peter merely waited for him to go on. “Will you join the Order of the Phoenix?” Sirius, Remus, and Peter, who had not been told there was a possibility they would be joining this league, looked at Dumbledore in surprise. James simply nodded resolutely, and Lily answered Dumbledore with a firm “Yes.” After the question had sunk in, Remus nodded too, and Peter managed to mumble his support feebly. Only Sirius, it seemed, was on the fence. “Mr. Black?” Dumbledore prodded gently. James was appalled that Sirius hadn’t agreed at once. “I understand if you don’t want to, it is a lot to ask of a person your age.” Sirius stood up, looking very distressed. “Why are you asking me this? I’m a Black! My mother and father are probably clinking glasses with Voldemort right now! And you believe that I am a just and loyal and good person?” Sirius exclaimed incredulously. “I certainly do believe it, Mr. Black. Although it is understandable that your loyalty lies with your family.” Dumbledore said kindly. “I have never judged you on your family’s beliefs, and I do not judge you now. I asked you for the same reason I asked Ms. Evans and Mr. Potter, because you are a good person.” Sirius stared at him disbelievingly. “So, you trust me, even though I am a Black?” Sirius asked, and Dumbledore nodded with a smile. “Even though they are part of this blood crusade?” Sirius inquired, and Dumbledore nodded again. Reassured by this, Sirius grinned. “Professor Dumbledore, I have no loyalty to my family, and I do not share their beliefs. If you really believe me and trust me, I want to join the Order of the Phoenix.” Sirius declared, and his friends beamed up at him, relieved. “I have always trusted you, Sirius, and I always will.” Dumbledore said, no longer looking old, with a renewed twinkle in his blue eyes. *** Lily was once again in the midst of her friends Tracy, Erica, and Crystal, something that usually always brightened her mood. But after talking with Dumbledore, her friends chatter and gossip about so and so and what they had done with some guy at the dance made her feel oddly hollow. “And then, did you hear what he said?!?” Tracy shrieked excitedly, while Erica and Crystal begged her to tell them. Lily wondered vaguely whether her friends knew or even cared that Lord Voldemort had murdered 37 muggles last night. Her musings were interrupted by peals of delighted laughter from her friends. “Lily, can you believe it?” Erica asked her, and Lily started. “Sorry- believe what?” Tracy, Erica, and Crystal stared at her for a second, and Lily smiled at them all. “Right, I was kidding. Nope, it is completely unbelievable!” Lily said in a mock gossipy voice, but her friends were satisfied and continued to whisper and squeal about who knows what. The four girls were sitting outside under the very same beech tree Lily and James had talked by last night, and Lily turned to stare absently at the lake and tuned her friends out again. It was amazing that they could be so unaware of the world outside of boyfriends, clothes, and gossip, Lily thought to herself. She wondered if Dumbledore asked them to join the Order of the Phoenix, if they would join. “Hey, if you knew that the wizarding world was in danger, but not a lot of other people did, and you were asked to join a secret society to fight it, would you join?” Lily asked suddenly. Lily’s friends weren’t sure if she was kidding, and they gave her very bizarre looks. “What?” asked Tracy, and Lily repeated the question. “This is like a hypothetical question, right?” Crystal asked. “Sure.” Lily said. “Just hypothetical.” “Oh, yeah!” “Of course!” “Definitely!” Her friends answered before turning back to their previous conversation, but Lily knew that they had just said yes to shut her up. She felt oddly distanced from her three best friends, all of whom were blissfully unaware of the hypothetical reality upon them. Actually, she couldn’t stand it. “Okay, but what if it wasn’t hypothetical? What if the entire wizarding world was in danger?” Lily interrupted them again. “Lils, are you okay?” Tracy asked, for what felt like the thousandth time this year to Lily. “We would help, Lily. Why is this so important to you?” Erica asked gently. Lily had lost her patience completely now. “It’s important because the entire wizarding world IS in trouble! It’s not hypothetical, it’s real! Can’t you all see that?” Lily exclaimed, causing Crystal and Erica to recoil. Tracy looked concerned. “Lils, what’s this all about? We’re not in danger-” Tracy began to say, but Lily was shaking now. Too angry to sit there anymore with her ignorant friends, Lily got up and hurried off. She didn’t know where she was going, but she couldn’t take it anymore. She was fuming so badly that she hardly realized where her feet were taking her. The sky had begun to cloud over, and a few rain drops began to fall as she broke into a run. Because of this, she didn’t realize that her own tears were falling at first. Not until she heard someone calling her name behind her. Probably Tracy, she thought to herself as she continued to run. The intensity of the rain increased, and the person called again, closer than before. Lily hated that person right then, she just wanted to be alone. But even as she thought this, the person called again, and Lily knew it was not Tracy. “Lily!” James said, catching up to Lily and grabbing her arms to slow her down. “Let me go! Let me go!” Lily wailed, flailing and fighting to get out of his grip. “Not until you calm down and tell me what’s going on.” James tried to pacify her. The rain had made him as wet as he had been after Sirius had woken him up this morning, and it was still coming down in torrents. Lily stopped struggling, and James released her. Feeling drained, she turned to face him and threw her arms around him. He comfortingly rubbed her back as she sobbed into his shoulder. She was too overcome to say anything, and James waited patiently. After a few minutes, Lily’s sobs had subsided to dry shudders. “Now will you tell me what’s wrong?” James asked. “Did someone say something to you? Was it Snape?” Lily shook her head. “You can tell me, Lily. Same team, remember?” “James, I’m scared!” Lily moaned as she continued to clutch him tightly. “I’m scared to die! I want to fight and be brave like you and Sirius and Remus, but I’m just so scared!” Lily began to sob again, and James squeezed her. “Lily, it’s okay to be scared. I’m scared, too.” Lily nodded, but she remained clinging to James. “No one wants to die, but everyone does at some point.” James continued, reassuring himself at the same time. “It might be our time, it might not be. But we can’t worry about dying just yet, because we’re still living.” Lily lifted her head off of James’s shoulder to have a better look at the face she loved so much, saying these strong words. James was still rubbing her back, but he was staring off into the distance as he spoke. “You’re one of the bravest people I know, Lily, because you are scared and yet you are facing your fears. Dumbledore said he was right in believing in Sirius, and he was right in believing in you, too.” James spoke each word calmly, holding on to Lily right beside him, but yet his voice had a distant quality to it, too. It was almost as if he was speaking words of wisdom beyond his years, on some hidden inspiration. Lily tenderly stroked his face, bringing his distant gaze back to her. “I love you, James Potter.” James smiled in a peculiar way, different from his usual mischievous grin and his easy-going laugh. It was a smile of simple honesty and feeling that spread slowly across his face as he took in the green eyes looking up at him. “I love you, Lily Evans.” As they stood there, holding onto one another, they both knew they could be certain of one thing. They didn't know the perils they would face, nor the hard times ahead for them. They did know, however, that they would always be there for one another, sheltering each other from pain much as they sheltered one another from the rain as they stood there. With James by her side, Lily was still frightened of the unknown, but she knew she wouldn't be facing it alone. She had chosen to fight for what she believed in, and she had chosen love as her weapon. Dumbledore had known that it would not be easy for them, two young people in love with each other and with life, surrounded by so much hatred and death. But choices must be made, and Lily's choice that day was for love.
Well, that's it. This story is over. I hope everyone enjoyed it, but even if you didn't I'd still like to hear your comments. This was my first ever fan fic, and even if it is not to everyone's liking (or even to no one's liking!) I have a nice feeling of accomplishment. My friend who got me started writing this and fanfic in general really wants me to do a sequel to follow this story up, and I think I might do that. In the mean time, I will be working on my other fics, Only Time Will Tell (a time travel fic) and Family Ties (a second generation fic.) I hope some of you will check them out! Hey, the sequel is called Come What May, so be on the look out for it! Thanks to all my wonderful readers and reviewers. There have been so many helpful suggestions and encouragment. It really does mean a lot!

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