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Part II: Revolution



 



 



First posted: September 19, 2004



Suggested music: “Infidel” by Five for Fighting



 



Chapter Eight



Better Off



 



 



Christmas came and went without anything remotely significant happening. Lily celebrated it quietly at home with her family. She enjoyed spending time with her parents but being near Petunia proved to be very unpleasant as always. 



 



Lily had gone home with a firm resolution to be kind to her sister, hoping she might respond nicely to compassion. As horrible as Petunia could be, Lily didn’t want to lose her completely.



 



When Lily entered the house, Petunia had been sitting at the kitchen table reading a magazine.



 



“Hello, Petunia. How are you? You look lovely today. That hairstyle is very becoming,” Lily had said brightly.



 



Petunia hadn’t show the faintest indication that she noticed Lily come into the room, but continued to flip through the pages of the magazine.



 



Petunia Evans! Your sister is speaking to you! You haven’t seen her in four months!” her mother rebuked, evidently shocked at her older daughter’s behavior.



 



Petunia looked up slowly, and without the slightest change in expression said, “Hello, I was fine, thank you.”



 



The way she spoke the words was so cold she might as well have stated that she wished Lily was dead and it would have given the same impression. Then she stood, picked up the magazine and walked out of the room.



 



Lily’s mother watched her leave, speechless with horror. Lily dropped into a chair. 



 



She felt like she had been slapped in the face. She had truly lost her only sister. It had never been so clear until that moment. She had always believed they would grow out of their differences and be friends again but suddenly, they were grown. And nothing had changed. 



 



“Oh, Lil, I’m so sorry,” said her mother, as she sat down next to Lily and took her hand. “I can’t believe she was so rude. Don’t worry, love. I’ll talk to her and she’ll come around and apologize.”



 



Later that night, Petunia did apologize after a long argument with her mother but her tone was no different. Lily realized with a sickening pang that Petunia would never be sorry. This wasn’t the ordinary sibling rivalry quarrel. Nothing would change as long as she remained a witch. Lily simply nodded after Petunia had finished and went quietly to her room. Even if Petunia had never been the greatest sister, they were still family.



 



Throughout the rest of the holiday, Lily bonded with her mother and father, staying cheerful and trying not to think about the fact that she and Petunia had finally broken the thin strand of connection between them. What could she do about it? When Lily and Petunia had to speak to each other, they were unbearably polite for the sake of their parents but they both knew that behind the words, it was all a show.



 



After a week had passed, Lily was in her room, immersed in a wizarding novel when a brown tawny owl swept through her open window and landed clumsily on her bed. She detached the letter that was tied to the strange bird and tossed it an owl treat. 



 



Lily flattened the letter and read the neat, round writing.



 



Dear Lily,



How is your holiday going? Did you have a nice Christmas?   Mine was quite good. I got an antique chess set from my parents. James and Sirius were over yesterday and they had a very intense chess match. It lasted for over two hours but we still don’t know who actually won.



            Is this Wednesday a good day to meet for lunch? If it is, just Floo over around noon. Then we can walk into town and eat at the café.



            Hopefully I’ll see you soon then.



                                                                           Love,



                                                                               Remus



 



Lily folded up the letter with a small smile on her face. Then she wrote out a quick note, telling him that she could make it, and gave it to the tawny owl.



 



On Wednesday, Lily, dressed in casual muggle clothes, stepped into the green flames of the living room fireplace after scattering a handful of Floo Powder. Her fireplace had been connected to the Floo Network before she had left for Hogwarts in her first year when she had to buy her school supplies in Diagon Alley.



 



Lily stomach flipped over as she whirled amid the blurred emerald flames before falling awkwardly out of a large brick fireplace. She steadied herself, brushing the grey ashes off her clothes, and looked around at what was—hopefully—the Lupin kitchen.



 



It was a very cramped room, plainly furnished with a little round table decked with a tartan tablecloth, a stove, some mismatched cabinets, and an old icebox. Some bright green potted plants sat on the windowsill soaking in the winter sunlight and various dried herbs hung from the banisters on the ceiling. She could tell that someone had worked hard to make sure it was tidy. Everything was scrubbed and clean. 



 



Just as Lily had finished taking in her quaint surroundings, a tall thin woman entered, carrying a basket of vegetables in her arms.



 



Her gray-streaked hair was tied up messily at the back of her head. There were a few wrinkles in her round pale face around her eyes and mouth. She wore faded jeans, smudged with dirt, and a baggy plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up to her elbows.



 



When she saw Lily, her face brightened into a warm, welcoming smile.



 



“Oh, hello! You must be Lily. I’m Mrs. Lupin. Have you been waiting long? I’m sorry I’m such a mess. I’ve been out in the garden,” she explained, nodding toward the vegetable-filled basket.



 



She put it down on the table and wiped her hands on her jeans before holding out her hand. “Remus was right. You are very beautiful…and your hair is gorgeous! I’ve always admired red hair,” she said kindly.



 



Lily took her hand. She definitely liked Remus’s mother.



 



“Thank you. It’s so nice to meet you,” she said, smiling.



 



“Remus is upstairs. I’ll go get him. You can just wait in there, sweetie. Make yourself comfortable,” Mrs. Lupin pointed to a doorway opening off the side of the kitchen before dashing away.



 



Lily walked slowly through the doorway into a small sitting room. On a round red rug in the center of the room a well-worn couch, heaped with embroidered pillows and an winger armchair faced the stone fireplace. The mantle was crowned with an assortment of wizarding photos. Interested, Lily stepped closer. 



 



The biggest one appeared to be a family portrait. Remus, looking about twelve years old, stood behind Mrs. Lupin, who was seated next to a haggard-looking man with deep brown eyes. Behind him stood a tall, broad-shouldered young man with a protective arm around Remus. He had curly, sand-colored hair and dark eyes, squinted into a smile that took over his entire face. 



 



Lily peered curiously at him. She assumed that he was Remus’s brother, though she couldn’t recall him talking about any siblings. The family smiled and waved brightly at her.



 



Lily’s eyes traveled to the other photos. Most of them were showed Remus at different stages in his life, sometimes with the young man in the portrait or one of his parents. Her focus shifted a photo of the four Marauders standing in front of an apple tree that looked as though it had been taken recently. Peter was munching intently on an apple, Sirius leaned against the tree trunk, casually pointing his wand at Peter’s apple and looking suspiciously like he was putting some sort of hex on it. Remus stood next to him, eyeing Sirius an amused smile on his face, his arms folded across his chest. James was above them, perched on a thick branch, his long legs swinging lazily.



 



As she watched the moving photo, she suddenly became of a large smile that had crept onto her face. Lily shook her head, wondering what was wrong with her, and forced a frown as she stared at James, who continued to grin broadly from his tree branch. 



 



Seeing his face gave her an odd feeling…like she wasn’t supposed to be there, standing in Remus’s living room. She couldn’t explain it. Was it guilt?  Was it shame?  Whatever it was, it had caught her off-guard. Why was she so affected by this stupid photo? 



 



Lily turned away, trying to assure herself of her own sanity by fixing a disgusted look on her face as though she couldn’t stand to look it any longer. After all, the only person in the frame that she even liked was Remus…She absolutely hated the other three. Yes, she hated them—which must be the reason it made her nauseous, particularly when she looked at James. Why else should she feel this way?



 



Remus and Mrs. Lupin walked in, interrupting her confusion.



 



“It was nice meeting you, Lily,” said Mrs. Lupin, beaming. “I better go out and finish with the garden. You two have fun!”



 



She turned and hurried back into the kitchen. Lily looked at Remus, who wore a nervous smile on his face.



 



“Hello, Lily.”



 



“Hi.”



 



A pause.



 



“Well, do you want to start walking? It’s about a mile into town,” he said.



 



“Yeah, let’s go,” Lily replied, and followed him into the hall and out the front door.



 



Outside, the pale blue sky stretched from horizon to horizon and the icy snow frozen to the ground and the roofs of the houses was glistened with jewels of water that had formed in the heat of the sunlight. It was a fairly warm day for January and people were out walking or jogging on the quiet neighborly street.



 



Remus and Lily walked down the long path that connected the Lupin doorstep with the street. They turned the corner and began their journey to the main part of town. As they walked, an awkward silence hovered between them, punctured intermittently by a few attempts at conversation. Their efforts failed and the silence kept returning. For some reason, they just couldn’t keep a dialogue flowing.



 



When the houses began to get closer together and more cars started to whiz by, and they took a left onto Main Street. Lily hoped their walk was almost over, and that lunch would be a little more bearable.



 



Remus opened the door of a small muggle café and motioned for Lily to enter. Inside, there were several booths and dark wooden tables surrounded by leather-bound chairs. The room was dimly lit by the stained-glass lamps hanging over each table.



 



The rosy hostess led them to a small table next to the window and Remus and Lily sat down opposite to each other, glancing uneasily around the room. They both studied the menu and a young waiter took their orders. Then they relapsed into another silence. Lily racked her brain for something—anything—they could talk about.



 



“So, your mother gardens in the winter?” she asked uncertainly.



 



It was kind of pathetic but she didn’t think things could get much worse.



 



Remus, seeming to feel the same way, snatched the opportunity to speak.



 



“She charmed the garden to make it live year-round. I suppose you’ve never heard of that, your parents being muggles.”



 



“Oh,” Lily said lamely, and found herself back in the same position of the moment before.



 



Frantically, she tried to think of something they could discuss that would hopefully run a longer course. The photos in Remus’s living room popped into her mind.



 



“I was looking at your family portrait and I noticed a guy in there next to you,” she said. “Is he your brother?”



 



“Yes,” said Remus, and looked out the window.



 



At this short answer, Lily wondered if he even wanted to talk. Why was he making her do all the work?



 



“I didn’t know you had a brother. What’s his name?” she pressed.



 



“Greg.”



 



Remus looked down at the shiny table.



 



“So…” Lily continued, getting annoyed with Remus’s lack of effort. “Why haven’t you mentioned him before?”



 



“I don’t know,” Remus said quietly.



 



At this, Lily got angry. “Oh, come on, Remus,” she snapped, bitingly. “Am I wasting your time or something? Help me out a little.”



 



 Remus’s eyes finally wandered back to hers. “He was killed three years ago.”



 



Lily froze. She felt like crawling under her chair.



 



“He and his friend were attacked by dark wizards while they were walking home from a pub.”



 



Lily let out a gasp of shock and sympathy, cursing her damn, redheaded temper. She had practically forced him to tell her this! How could she be so insensitive?



 



“Remus! I’m so sorry! I didn’t know—”



 



He stopped her calmly. “Lily. Don’t apologize—you didn’t kill him. I was going to tell you sometime anyway.”



 



Lily stared at him, words escaping her once more, though for completely different reasons.



 



“Were you…were you very close to…him?” she asked, after a pause.



 



“Yeah, I was,” Remus said, fiddling with his napkin. “We were nine years apart, so we never even fought.”



 



Lily waited for him to continue, feeling, instinctively, that he had a lot more to say. 



 



Remus took a deep breath. “He was one of those people who have that personality that attracts everybody…had loads of friends. And he was so funny…could always make me crack up.”



 



Remus laughed softly, as though the laughter was coming from someplace far away from that café. 



 



“One time Mum and Dad dragged us to a Ministry Election rally. I was so bored, so he kept on muttering crazy things in my ear about the speakers,” said Remus, smiling at the memory.  “He mimicked this one poor lady’s entire speech but made a few…adjustments. I managed to keep myself from laughing out loud until she pounded her fist on the podium and said, ‘I have the ideas and potential necessary to improve this community!’ Greg, he whispered to me, ‘I have the biggest mole in this entire community!’ I couldn’t hold it in anymore I just burst out laughing! Right in the middle of this huge meeting.  Everyone turned and looked at me as though I was mad but, damn, her mole was enormous!”



 



Remus was shook with laughter but Lily saw the tears in his eyes. She placed a hand over his without a word. She knew he wasn’t finished.



 



After a moment, he went on. “Greg had everything going for him. He had just finished training to be a Healer and he was just about to start working at St. Mungo’s that fall. That’s why he was out celebrating that night. He was even engaged! I was the only one who knew. He brought me with him to pick out the ring. He was going to tell my parents but…then…” Remus trailed off.



 



Lily squeezed his hand, nodding.



 



He bent his head. “James reminds me so much of him, you know,” he said suddenly. “He’s just like Greg. They used to get along great.”



 



Lily’s hand twitched in his clasp, surprised by this statement.



 



“Surely he wasn’t quite as bigheaded as Potter?” she asked, smiling as though Remus had to be joking.



 



Remus smiled up at her, looking amused. “You don’t know James that well, do you?” He tilted his head to the side. “Well, he does act…different around you, I suppose.”



 



At that moment, Lily was thankful when the waiter returned to the table with their meals. They ate quietly for a few minutes before looked at her and cleared his throat.



 



“What about you? You have a sister, right? I don’t hear you talking about her much.”



 



“Yes…Petunia,” Lily sighed. “There’s not much to sat about her except, well, she hates me.” She laughed bitterly.



 



“Why?” Remus asked, perplexed.



 



“Because I’m a witch.”



 



An expression of grim understanding came over Remus’s face. He knew all too well what that felt like.



 



“There’s so much bloody prejudice in this world! Why do people get the idea that anything different from them is wrong?!” he said in a sudden spurt of anger, surprising Lily. “You’re better off without her.”



 



“I suppose so,” agreed Lily.



 



“My, what a cheery lunch this is,” said Remus, grinning.



 



Lily laughed. “Yeah—I think a change of subject is in order,” she said. “Has anything good happened lately? I need to hear a funny story or something.”



 



“Hmm…” Remus paused, thinking. Then he smiled. “You’ll love this. Prongs was over yesterday and we were heading downstairs. I suppose our conversation was too deep for him because he got so into it that missed the first step and fell all the way down the stairs.”



 



Lily laughed so hard, she rocked slightly in her chair. She was slowly discovering Remus’s flare for story-telling and she found herself liking him more and more.



 



“Thought you would like that,” Remus grinned.



 



“Was he okay?” Lily asked off-handedly after she had recovered. 



 



“He broke his ankle but you wouldn’t have known because he just sat up and continued our conversation,” he said, chuckling. “It was nothing my mum couldn’t fix. That’s just Prongs for you.”



 



“Prongs,” said Lily thoughtfully after another fit of giggles. “What’s up with those nicknames? You all have one. James is Prongs, Sirius is Padfoot, Peter is…Wormtail…and you’re Moony, right? They’re so strange.”



 



Remus’s expression quickly changed at the question that Lily had been wondering about since fifth-year. He stopped grinning and squinted at her as though sizing her up.



 



“You don’t want to know,” he said finally.



 



This, of course, did nothing but intrigue Lily further.



 



“Oh, but I do! Come on, Moony,” she smiled sweetly at him. “Let your best mate in on the secret.”



 



The smile returned but Remus just shook his head. “It’s dangerous information. Let’s just say, that if you knew, you’d be aiding and abetting,” he said. “I couldn’t do that to and innocent girl like you.”



 



“Excuse me,” Lily exclaimed in offense. “I’m very capable of abetting. Plus—nothing about you Marauders could surprise me. Come on, now. You know I’ll take it to the grave.”



 



Remus looked her up and down with a smirk. “Hmm…I dunno…”



 



“Out with it, Remus Lupin!” demanded Lily. “I don’t handle suspense very well. This could end badly for you,” she added threateningly.



 



“I don’t mind if you know but it’s not entirely my secret to tell. I can’t speak for James or Sirius or Peter. We’ve managed to keep it for a long time and I don’t know if they’ll want to give it up just like that. You’d have to get their permission first,” he said. “Dessert?”



 



“You prat! If I get permission from all of them—which will be a piece of cake— you have to promise to tell me,” said Lily. “Deal? Oh—and I’d love dessert. If you’re paying, that is.”



 



Remus chuckled. “It’s a deal.”



 



 



 



 








A/N:  Hoorah!  You made it to Part TWO!  Oooh la la, it starts getting interesting from here on out.  In the words of Scar, "Be PREPAAAARED!!"  (I'm a huge Lion King fan).

Anyway, REVIEW.  You're the best.

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