Bittersweet

Summer is for memories, new beginnings and bittersweet endings. James Sirius Potter fanfic, set in Summer 2019. Includes first and second generation characters. Mostly canon ships. Enjoy!

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2. No Light, No Light

 

You are the hole in my head

You are the space in my bed

You are the silence in between, what I thought

And what I said

20 minutes later the Potter family was out the door and going down the road towards the house they fondly knew as the Burrow. Albus and Lily ran ahead, racing each other, while James hung back with his parents. He was obviously too mature to race his younger siblings (or at least, that's what he told himself.)

"James, you're getting so tall." Harry said. "Almost as tall as I am."

"Just as handsome too." Ginny added.

"Mum!" James complained, unappreciative of his mother fawning over him.

"Well! You could've just grown up to look like a pig in a wig like your obnoxious cousin Justice." Ginny said, referring to James' muggle cousin, Justice, son of the infamous Dudley Dursley (or as Harry called him, Big D). James grimaced as memories of having things thrown at him and being kicked under the dinner table flooded his brain. He knew that there weren't really any hard feelings between Dudley and his father; although things were always awkward when his family visited them, so James suspected that Justice's opinion of the Potters reflected that of his grandfather Vernon's. When Harry's Aunt Petunia had divorced Vernon, his hatred of the Potters had definitely worsened. Dudley's other two children; Petunia and Victor, twins who were a little younger than Lily, were mercifully quite scared of their grandfather. However their idea of fun was "play" fighting, and they were notorious for hitting and biting. James, Albus and Lily always went home with bruises and teeth marks.

Thankfully the Potters and the Durselys didn't see each other often.

"If you'd seen Dudley at age 14, trust me, you wouldn't be all that surprised about his son." Harry said, chuckling.

"What a lovely sight that must've been." Ginny said grimly.

"Come on slow pokes! We're almost on the doorstep!" Lily yelled from down the road, sounding tired from her race with Albus (although she won, as usual).

"Last one there is a smelly Wrackspurt!" Albus added, huffing between words.

James' mother turned to his father, smiling, before they both started running. Finding himself left in the dust of his parents, James started running too, trying to catch up.

"Honestly, you two are our parents. You're supposed to be the mature ones!" James said as he caught up to his family, who were walking up the path to the Burrow.

"Well at least we're not smelly Wrackspurts." Ginny said, laughing.

"What is a Wrackspurt anyway?" Albus asked.

"I'm sure Luna told me at one point or another, but to be completely honest with you, I haven't the faintest clue." Harry said sheepishly.

"I heard she's back in Ottery St. Catchpole." Ginny said.

"We should visit her some time." Lily said. "I like Luna, and we haven't seen her in over a year."

James agreed with his sister. Luna was probably one of the kindest people he knew. She was also one of the most open-minded, and she was prone to believing in the impossible. James' favourite thing about Luna though, was that she didn't care in the slightest what anyone thought of her. He secretly wished he possessed this trait.

"I like Luna and all, but Lysander and Lorcan are a bit, well, talkative." Albus said a little apprehensively.

"Don't be such a prat, Albus." James said.

Albus was correct though. The duo were just as kind as their mother, however they lacked social skills. Having been constantly whisked off to strange locations to study even stranger magical creatures, they didn't really have a chance to socialize. Their biggest problem was not catching signals that the person they're talking to isn't particularly interested in the conversation. While most people know when a conversation is dead, Lysander and Lorcan were immune to such notions. So once you got them talking, it was difficult to get them to stop.

Ignoring James' straight-forward comment, Ginny told her son off in a more mature way. "Have a bit off compassion, Albus. They've only ever been able to talk to each other you know. And you haven't seen them in over a year; they're probably a lot more mature now."

"It'll be good to check up on them." Harry said, ignoring Albus' comment altogether. "Things have been... difficult." he concluded with a sigh.

No one replied to Harry, knowing exactly what he meant. January of last year, the Scamanders has gone to Australia in pursuit of the Crumple-Horned Snorckack. It was just another adventure for them. No one could've guessed that this would be their last adventure as a family. One night, when everyone was sound asleep, a Lethifold slunk into the family's tent. As far as James knew; from the one time he'd actually bothered to read "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", the Lethifold looks like a simple black cloak, however it is in fact a merciless creature, that is thankfully very, very rare. During the night it slithers into the bedrooms of unsuspecting, sleeping wizards and witches, and suffocates them, then digests them on the spot and disappears into the night. Unfortunately, their whereabouts are practically impossible to keep track of, as they leave no evidence once they attack. No one, not even Rolf or Luna, who were renowned naturalists, could've guessed that of all the dangerous creatures of Australia, it would be a Lethifold who attacked them.

The night it happened, Luna had been sleep-walking and the twins were in their bedroom. When wondering around outside the tent, Luna was awoken by the sounds of a struggle. She'd run to the room she'd been sharing with her husband to find him being smothered by a Lethifold. Acting quickly on her knowledge if magical creatures, Luna cast the Patronus charm (the only known defense against a Lethifold), sending a hare at the Lethifold and chasing it away.

But Luna was too late.

At the funeral, Luna was so different from her usual self. She assured every one she was ok, even smiling, but James knew it was only for the well-being of her young sons. He could see it in her eyes. They'd lost their light, it was like Luna wasn't really there, despite being physically present. She was somewhere very distant, and no amount of coaxing or comfort from her friends could bring her back. When Luna announced that she was going to go away for a bit with the twins, everyone was fairly skeptical as to whether she was stable enough to be by herself. In the end it was Harry who convinced everyone to let her go.

"She's grieving, she needs to be alone so she can recover." Harry had said at another family gathering. "I know we're all worried about her and we want to help, but the best thing for her right now is to deal with her problems by herself. She needs to be able to think, and having people throwing advice at her and telling her it'll all be ok isn't going to help with that. I think everyone can understand that." This put an end to the skepticism of the family. They'd all done their fair share of grieving, so they knew Harry spoke the truth. A few days later, Luna stood outside the Burrow with her trunk and two sons, and she said her goodbyes to her friends. And then with a crack she was gone. She never told anyone where she was apparating to,

Every once in a while, James' father would receive a letter from Luna, just to say hello and that she was doing all right. She'd talk about the twins and how they were too. Never once did she mention where she was, or leave a return address. She only ever sent the letters so no one would worry about her, she never really wanted to establish communication with anyone. James didn't blame her.

Sometimes Luna would send pictures of Lorcan and Lysander along with one of her letters, always with the happiest of smiles on their identical faces. It's not like they were oblivious of their situation, they were saddened by the loss of their father, but they knew that their father would've wanted to see them happy, so happy they were. James had always admired the twins for being constant balls of sunshine, it's like they were eternally burning candles that refused to be snuffed out, even in the absolute darkest of times. In private though, James suspected that the twins were fairing a lot better than their mother. But, Luna was home again, and he thought this was a good sign. James hoped to see her again soon.

"James! Look how tall you are, almost as tall as your dad!" James' grandmother exclaimed as James shuffled in the door of the Burrow.

"So I've been told." James said, muffled by his grandmother's knitted cardigan as he was suffocated by an infamous Molly Weasley hug.

"Mum's been feeding you well then." she said, beaming up at James, who had surpassed her height years ago.

"I learnt from the best." Ginny said as she got through the front door, smiling at her mother.

"Of course you did." Mrs. Weasley said as she donned her daughter a hug just as tight as the one James has received.

"And that is something I am very thankful for." Harry said as he finally made his way across the threshold, getting the final and probably most suffocating Molly Weasley hug of all.

"Well head on down to the kitchen then, I've baked a few treats for everyone." Mrs. Weasley said happily.

A "few" treats was quite possibly the understatement of the year. James' grandmother had baked enough treats to feed the entire Weasley clan for a month! He wouldn't have expected anything less though, as James was positive that whenever he left the Burrow, he left about five pounds plumper than before. One night, after another very filling meal, James' Aunt Hermione had concocted the theory that Mrs. Weasley had never quite shaken her habit of making extra food, which she'd picked up during the Second Wizarding War. Members of the Order of the Phoenix had always been popping in at odd times and Mrs. Weasley never let anyone depart again without eating something.

Judging by the number of pies on the table, James reckoned his Aunt Hermione was right.

James padded into the kitchen and took his usual place at the dinner table between his brother and Teddy Lupin. Surprisingly enough, Teddy and the Potters were the only ones present so far. Turns out the rest of the family wasn't as uptight with timelines as Ginny (except of course Hermione, but James had a feeling his Uncle Ron wasn't).

"James! Look at you, getting taller." Teddy said, ruffling James' hair.

"Yea, I've heard." James said. Teddy wasn't directly related to him but he was as good as, and they'd always got along fairly well. The last time James had seen Teddy was last week, when the family had helped him move in to 12 Grimmauld Place. Despite owning the house, Harry thought it was too dark to raise a family in. Not to mention the extremely cranky portrait of Sirius Black's mother, who, try as they might, still wouldn't come off the wall. So, the house had sat unused for years and years, collecting an overwhelming amount of dust, Doxies, and Boggarts, until Harry bequeathed the old place to Teddy. He was more than happy to move out of the little flat above Weasley's Wizard Wheezes in Hogsmeade, that George let him rent while he interned at Hogwarts to become a teacher (James' dad had made it clear that Teddy could've stayed with the Potters, but he was set on having a place of his own). Although the flat was cozy and had all the basic necessities for Teddy, he knew the rich history of 12 Grimmauld Place, and was dying to explore it. He didn't mind being solitary in such a grand house, but he had enough family to fill every room if he ever felt lonely.

"I've almost gotten rid of all the pests in the house." Teddy said proudly. "It was great fun, messing with the Doxies. They're right little buggars though." he said, earning him a stern look from Grandma Weasley. "Got three nasty bites, I reckon that being shut up for so long in that old house has made them vicious. Hey, did you know that Doxy is actually an archaic English term for-"

"Not at the dinner table, Teddy." Hermione said as she came into the kitchen and hugged every one in their seats, before taking her place beside James' father, with her husband Ron seated on her other side. James had a feeling that whatever Teddy was about to say was fairly inappropriate. Having an aunt that knew just about everything books can tell you and more was usually fairly useful (especially when it came to homework, James wasn't necessarily a teacher's favourite but he did get by), but sometimes it took the fun out of things.

"What does it mean?" James' uncle asked curiously.

"Something I ought not to say in front of our children." Hermione replied matter-of-factly. Ron opened his mouth to protest, but after years of experience, he knew better than to try and argue with the brightest witch of her age. Rose and Hugo, James' flame-haired cousins, both snickered in their seats.

The rest of the Weasley family started trickling into the Burrow, slowly filling the dinner table. Usually it wouldn't have fit the whole Weasley clan; however Arthur Weasley was thankfully quite skilled with expansion charms. The table was almost too big for the Weasley's dining room though, so there was never quite enough elbow space. James never even got a chance to settle into his seat properly though, because as soon as someone else popped through the front door, everyone had to stand up again and there would be hugs all around. One by one, his uncles and aunts embraced him, then remarked how tall he was.

If I had a galleon for every time someone told me how tall I was... James thought wishfully.

Finally, the whole family settled around the table. James tried to keep track of the multiple conversations going on around him, but it was virtually impossible. As to how so much could happen between now and two weeks ago when he'd seen his family last, James would never understand. Bill and Fleur recounted the events of their trip to France to Ron and Hermione (Fleur talking happily about all the shops she visited, and Bill grimly talking about his in-laws that he'd been forced to visit), Percy babbled animatedly to George about business while their wives rolled their eyes and pretended to listen, and James' parents were in a deep discussion with his Uncle Charlie about dragons. Meanwhile, his cousins were all participating in a debate over which Quidditch Team was better. Hugo, Rose, Molly and Lucy were all for The Chudley Canons, James, Albus, Lily, Fred and Roxanne were fans of Puddlemere United, and Victoire, Louis, and Dominique kept babbling on about some French Quidditch team James had never heard of. It was quite the rowdy conversation, and it could've gone on for quite a while had they not been interrupted by a knock on the door.

"It must be Neville." Harry said. James had almost forgotten that everyone was assembled at the Burrow to hear Neville's announcement. Thoughts of Quidditch were soon replaced by theories as to what Neville had to say. James desperately hoped it was good news.

Harry got up from his seat and padded to the front door. He opened it and of course, Neville was standing there, with the biggest, goofiest smile on his face.

"Hello, Neville." Harry said, smiling at his old friend.

"Hey Harry!" Neville said, still smiling at the door. Harry stood awkwardly with the door open, waiting for Neville to come in.

"Guess what every one?" Neville said.

"What?" Lily replied, curious as always.

Neville's face lit up even more. James thought that he might explode.

"I'm getting married!"

For a moment, everyone was silent, too stunned by the news. Finally, Ginny stood up.

"Congratulations, Neville!" she said warmly, squeezing around chairs so she could give him a hug. "Who's the lady?"

Still beaming, Neville stepped aside, revealing someone who'd been standing behind him.

"Hello, every one." an airy, gentle voice said.

Disclaimer: No I'm not J.K. Rowling, I don't own any of these characters, and I don't own Harry Potter. If I did, there would probably be a few more alive wizards/creatures alive today, now wouldn't there. The lyrics at the beginning are from No Light, No Light by Florence + The Machine, and no I do not own that either.

A/N: Hello! I'd just like to apologize for the gap between the first and second chapter, I had a bit of writer's block to be honest with you. I think I'm starting to get a story line going though! Thank you to every one who's been reading, it means a lot to me. Reviews are totally welcome too by the way, so go ahead and tell me what you think.

Just a few notes on things mentioned in the story; the Lethifold is in fact a creature that I found in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in case any one wanted some more information on it. Also, the whole bit about what Doxy is an archaic English term for isn't something I made up, it is in fact a word that shouldn't be said at the dinner table. I found that while doing a bit of research on household pests and such. Just thought I'd clear those things up!

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