Lily Potter and the White-Winged Prince

Lily Luna Potter is in the middle of a dull summer before her 4th year at Hogwarts, but with a rebel brother and a new secret to keep, it's about to get interesting. Note: ONESHOT for 'Blood of the Birds', concurrent with Chapter 15.


1. Lily Potter and the White-Winged Prince (1/2)


Lily Luna Potter knew everybody's secrets. Most of them, she never kept for long. After all, sharing them was far more entertaining. And it wasn't like she was ruining people's lives by revealing things they normally would have kept to themselves. In fact, in many cases, the revelations had positive repercussions, none of which would have occurred had it not been for Lily's snooping.

In only her second year at school, after becoming quite well-known amongst Hogwarts students for reasons she didn't wish to relive, Lily had become fed up with everybody always talking about her. To get people off her back, she decided to shed some light on something more interesting than her own embarrassment. That was how Lily came to spill the beans on a secret relationship between then third years, Fred Weasley and Lila Jordan. The lowerclassmen being so young, it was rare that two people would be dating amongst them, so naturally the news spread easily and quickly. Fortunately for Fred and Lila, having things out in the open ended up turning them into an official couple, and they'd been together ever since. Lily liked to think that she held most of the credit for their romantic success.

Following that experience were many more opportunities for match-making, though Lily also managed to break a few couples apart. She spied on Quidditch practices and told her older brother, James, who also happened to be the Gryffindor team captain, all of the other teams' tactics. She gossiped about the various crushes of girls in her dormitory, and sat by, riveted to watch the boys' reactions. She also told the school of many students' greatest fears, though in this case she used her powers to be rid of bullies. After all, if anyone was going to be intimidated by a fellow student, Lily would make sure that that student was her.

Of course, Lily did have a few secrets of her own. Some of them she shared with her friends, cousins Hugo and Roxanne, and tag-along Nigel Creevey. They were the only people she fully trusted, if only because they were the only people she would never reveal a secret about. Well, them and one other person. See, Lily's greatest secret, which she had never orally admitted to anyone, including herself, was that she was in love.

His name was Scorpius Malfoy, and she had met him when she was nine years old. It had been at King's Cross station, on Platform 9¾, and Scorpius had been about to enter his first year at Hogwarts. Lily wasn't yet old enough to go to school, but James had already spent a year there, and Lily's other brother, Albus, was Scorpius's same age. At the time, Lily hadn't known anything about Scorpius, except that he had ultra light, white-blond hair, pale skin, and a couple of very put-together parents, his father dressed in a black suit and his mother a tailored, professional skirt and blazer.

That summer, Al had come back home with Scorpius in tow, and Scorpius quickly found his place within the Potter family. He was quiet and reserved, and Lily always had the suspicion that he kept more secrets than anyone she'd ever come across before. This intrigued her, and before too long, she was hooked on the young Malfoy. Luckily, Scorpius returned to Godric's Hollow the following summer, and the two after that.

This summer, however, the one before Lily's fourth year, Scorpius had not shown up at the Potters' doorstep. Lily had hoped, even with Scorpius dating her cousin, Rose, and even after Scorpius's parents had come for him at the train station, that he would still find a way to escape Malfoy Manor and find shelter at the home of his best friend and quasi-family. Unfortunately, he never appeared, and so Lily had had a lonely summer, held up in the middle of endless family arguments and watching the wizarding world crumble before her eyes.

Earlier that summer, Astoria Malfoy, who happened to be Scorpius's mother, had laid an attack on Nigel Creevey's home, aiming to get to Nigel's older brother, Colin, who was a Squib. Nigel, along with Hugo (who had been staying there at the time), narrowly escaped the attack when Lily's uncle and Hugo's father, Ron, had been called in from the Auror department at the Ministry of Magic. Ron came back with a significant injury, causing Lily's own father, Harry, to take his place in tracking Astoria. Meanwhile, the Daily Prophet printed an article revealing Astoria Malfoy to be the leader of a new Pure-blood front known as the Forbidden Flock.

Since then, things just hadn't been the same. Everywhere was considered to be dangerous, and everyone was suspected of working for the wrong side. Lily knew that it was a good thing the Ministry was being so cautious, particularly since they hadn't paid enough attention when Lord Voldemort had gained power. Still, it was never any fun to live out one's days in fear, and with every day that Harry failed to return home, that's exactly how Lily felt.

To distract them from feeling like such, the Potter family played a lot of Quidditch together. It was a tradition of sorts, and one of the few constants within the family that could be traced back as far as Lily could remember. One day in mid-August, Lily, James, Al, and their mother, Ginny, were playing a game in their backyard. It was nearing late afternoon, and the match had already been going on for a good hour or so. That was only because they had decided not to play with a snitch, and so instead, each of them acted as Chasers, Lily and James aiming for the hoops on Al and Ginny's side of the field, and vice versa. Violence was encouraged, though the lack of bludgers made it minimal, and scoring had become nearly impossible. Whenever one of the four got their hands on the quaffle, it wouldn't be long before the other team gained it back, and so the pattern continued, making it an endless round.

"This is ridiculous!" James called out to Lily as the two prepared to sandwich their brother, who had the large, red ball tucked under his shoulder. "We'll never win at this rate!" It was only recreational, but James took Quidditch very seriously ever since he had made it onto a professional team, the Montrose Magpies, earlier that same summer.

"What do you want me to do about it?" Lily yelled back. It was difficult to communicate while also trying to keep up with James, even on her new Firebolt.

"Just get the quaffle!" James ordered, and Lily did as she was told. Approaching Al, James bumped him to the side, forcing him to let go of his hold on the ball, which then dropped into Lily's open arms.

James and Lily kept flying, swerving past the newly wounded and puffing Al and underneath a speeding Ginny. As they neared the end of the field, James swerved behind the goal post and Lily threw the quaffle in. After scoring, James took hold of the ball and aimed to pass it back to Lily, but instead it kept going straight past her, flying deep into the woods. With a look from Al and Ginny, Lily sighed and went after the runaway quaffle.

Zig-zagging her way through the tall trees, Lily searched the forest grounds for a large, red object that didn't belong. After flying around a fairly cleared hill, she spotted something at the bottom, sitting by the edge of a narrow creek. Lowering to the ground and dismounting her broom, Lily knelt down and scooped up the quaffle. She was about to fly back when she heard something coming from behind her, the source seemingly near the top of the hill. Tuning her ears to the noise, it sounded like someone was screaming. It was the most painful cry Lily had ever come across, and her body hurt just from hearing it.

Not knowing what else to do, Lily followed the screams, running up the hill with her broom in one hand and the quaffle in the other, until she ran into a small, canvas tent held up by a single wooden rod. She didn't have time to marvel at how small it was, or wonder how long it had been there, before she heard another scream. Dropping the quaffle, she entered the tent holding nothing but her broom, which, upon heading inside, she dropped at the entrance.

The inside of the tent was much larger than the outside made it seem, with multiple rooms and various pieces of furniture. It looked as if it was well lived in, old and rustic, though any possessions had been tucked away neatly by their owner. But Lily didn't notice any of that. As soon as she stepped through the canvas, her eyes went directly to the middle of the living room floor, where, lying in a puddle of his own blood, was Scorpius Malfoy.

Lily rushed over to him, not caring about the blood staining her pants or the Holyhead Harpies jersey she was wearing. Scorpius's body was writhing from some sort of pain, and Lily suspected it was coming from his lower abdomen, which he was collapsing and then stretching, obviously trying to dilute the pain that was coming from the area. He wasn't unconscious, but he looked to be fading fast. Lily didn't know what to do, but she did know that whatever happened, he wasn't supposed to fall asleep. In situations like this, the patient was always supposed to stay awake.

"Scorpius?" she asked, timid at first. She was shaking his shoulder with one hand, while pushing back his overgrown hair with the other. When Scorpius showed no reaction to her touch or to her words, she practically screamed at him. "SCORPIUS!" Lily felt anxious, though her body was still in control, not shaking or even the slightest bit noxious from the excessive amount of blood.

This time, Scorpius's eyes opened slightly. He seemed to be making an effort to see who was there, and so Lily waited for him to say something. After opening his eyes fully before quickly shutting them again and screaming from a jab of pain, Scorpius was able to get half a word out. "R – Ro?" he asked.

He thought that Lily was Rose. Though Lily didn't have the time dwell on it, the comparison between her and her cousin was something she'd had to live with her whole life. While her brothers struggled to differentiate themselves from their famous father, Lily was always one step behind Rose's legacy. Rose Weasley, who also happened to have the same fiery red hair that Lily had inherited from her own Weasley side, was supposedly 'the brightest witch of her age', according to just about every Hogwarts teacher. When Lily had entered school, they had all made the connection (through the hair and the array of freckles that the two shared), and had asked if they were related. After Lily realized that she would never be as smart as Rose, she learned to tell the teachers that, in fact, no, they weren't related at all. Still, it didn't help matters much.

What was worse was that Rose also happened to be best friends with Lily's brother, Al, and by extension, Scorpius as well. The three were inseparable, and had been since they were eleven years old. It had only been a matter of time before Scorpius and Rose admitted their obvious feelings for each other (one of the few secrets Lily had never wanted anyone to know), which they had done that past fall. Of course, something strange had happened between them recently, since Rose had been acting slightly depressed most of the summer. Her family seemed to think that it was just due to the attack, the worry over her father and brother never really disappearing, but Lily knew better. Scorpius had done something to break her heart, though based on his request for Rose now, he clearly hadn't meant to end the relationship.

"Scorpius?" Lily asked as he faded away yet again. "Scorpius, it's me." She would have said her name, but she needed him to open his eyes and look at her, to show that he was still awake.

He tried this time, harder than he had tried before, and eventually Scorpius's ice blue eyes pierced through his lashes. After taking a moment to stare at Lily's face, he stated, "Lily."

Lily nodded, her brown eyes wide in hopes of maintaining contact with his, but she hadn't realized that she had just given him permission to fall asleep for good. He mumbled something as he drifted off, but Lily couldn't quite make out the words. The only ones she did hear were 'without' and 'you'.

Again not knowing what to do, Lily tried to think of a plan. Scorpius wasn't about to wake up again, but when he did, she'd have to be there. She couldn't leave to get help now. But she couldn't very well help him herself, either. She didn't even know what was wrong with him, and she had no clue as to what spell might heal him. Plus, she technically wasn't allowed to use magic outside of school, but that was more of an afterthought.

Noticing that her legs had gone numb, Lily got to her feet and searched around the tent, hoping that she'd find the thing she was subconsciously looking for. Eventually, her eyes locked on a towel hanging by the small cot that she assumed Scorpius had been sleeping in. What was he even doing out here? She had forgotten that that might be an important thing to know.

Bringing the towel back to where Scorpius was laying on the floor, Lily started to mop up the blood. It didn't seem as if Scorpius was actually bleeding, since the puddle wasn't growing anymore, so Lily assumed that he had coughed it all up. After she wiped most of it away, and once the towel had reached its full capacity, Lily looked back to Scorpius, surprised to see that his eyes were now open.

"Scorpius, you're awake!" exclaimed Lily with relief. "Are you okay?" she asked, leaning in and setting a hand on his shoulder, trying to be gentle but probably not faring so well at it. She had been told that her aggression was instinctive; she just couldn't help it.

Scorpius responded with an odd gesture, looking like he was trying to shake his head. It didn't come out that way though, as he ended up pulling his head to the side, opening his mouth, and spewing out more blood. Waiting for a direction, Lily helped him pull his head back upright so that he could say to her, "Help me."

Panicking, Lily didn't know how else to respond except to ask Scorpius, "What can I do?" When Scorpius failed to reply, Lily's instincts took over and she reached for her back pocket, where her wand was. Pulling out the wooden rod that was made of ash and was not at all flexible (a sign that Lily was one-dimensional, according to wandlore fanatic, Nigel), Lily gripped it firmly and pointed it at Scorpius's stomach. She still didn't know what spell to use, but she had to do something.

"NO!" Scorpius cried before Lily could procure a spell.

Lily listened, but she couldn't help but think that this was not the right time for Scorpius to be stubborn. "Scorpius, I don't care about the Trace!" she cried, but he didn't accept that either. Trying to make him realize just how desperately he needed help, Lily said, "You're – You're dying!"

Scorpius took Lily's words in seriously, but he still had a firmness in his eyes that told Lily not to use magic herself. Quickly thinking of alternatives, Lily rambled, "I could go get someone. Dad's not home, but Mum might be able to help. Even James could-" James was overage now, and so he could perform magic outside of school, though Scorpius didn't like this idea any more than the last.

"NO!" he interjected once more. "No one must know."

Lily shot Scorpius with a look that questioned his sanity. In all possible situations he could be in, this wasn't the best one for him to start getting picky. And yet, Scorpius stared back forcefully. He knew Lily well, and so he knew that she'd have a hard time keeping his secret, especially when it meant that she had to take the reins herself, but for some reason Lily knew that she would obey him. This was a boy she had always looked up to, and a boy who, at least from her eyes, had always known best. She would do as he told.

Thinking quickly, Lily nodded and leaned toward Scorpius once more. "Don't worry," she told him. "I have a plan." This wasn't entirely true, but she wanted him to be confident. "Whatever you do, don't fall asleep."

She then jumped up and ran to the tent entrance, grabbing her broom along the way. With one last glance at Scorpius, who looked a little like a pile of bones lying dead on the ground from where Lily was standing, she said, "I'll be back."

Lily raced back to the house as quickly as her Firebolt could possibly go. She didn't think she had ever flown this fast, and normally she would enjoy the rush of adrenaline that came with it, but in this case that wasn't where her focus was. She needed to figure this out, especially since she had promised Scorpius a few moments ago that she would.

Running through the back door of her house (her family members weren't in the yard anymore), Lily was gasping to catch her breath by the time she threw her broom on its hook, trudged through the living room, and arrived in the kitchen. Kneeling over with her hands on her knees, Lily didn't realize that her brother was in the room, or that he had company.

"I can't believe he could do that to her, after everything she went through to get with him in the first place," a slightly familiar voice was saying, to which James responded with, "Yeah I know. I think I might kill him the next time I see him."

"Not if I kill him first," the other voice replied. Lily was barely listening, and it didn't take too long for the boys' conversation to end and for James to notice that Lily had returned.

"Hey, Hill-Billy Lily," James said nonchalantly from atop the counter he was sitting on. He sounded as if his mouth was full, and when Lily looked up at him, she saw that he was chowing down a bag of crisps, Lysander Scamander by his side. "Where've you been?" he asked.

Since he wasn't looking at Lily yet, James failed to notice the spots of blood on her pants, nor did he see the frazzled mess that was her hair, or the worry in her eyes. She tried to hide it by standing behind the counter and running a hand through her hair. By the time the two boys turned around, one dirtied from their Quidditch match and the other spotlessly clean, Lily had made it so that they couldn't see most of her clothing, and she tried to make it look as if she had just gotten the wind knocked out of her from a fast ride, nothing more.

Her disguise worked like a charm, and Lily replied, "Nowhere; just out looking for the quaffle."

"Did you find it?" James asked, noticing that Lily wasn't holding anything. "I mean, you've been gone forever."

Realizing that she had forgotten to pick it up on her way out of the woods, Lily said, "No. I looked everywhere, but I figured I should be getting back. I'll probably go out to look for it later."

James nodded. "Have fun with that," he said sarcastically. Lysander laughed in response. The blond, green-eyed boy was James's best friend, and so Lily had seen him around the house plenty of times. Still, he was three years older than her, and so he had mostly ignored her presence while at Godric's Hollow.

As Lily started to wonder how long she could stand here and wait for them to leave, James nodded at Lysander and the two hopped off the counter, James picking up a duffle bag as he headed for the back door.

"Hey, Lil'?" James called once he was in the living room, having stopped to fill his bag with his Quidditch gear. "Mum left for the Ministry to see if she could get any word on Dad. Al was supposed to be here while I went to practice, but of course he bailed. So don't do anything stupid while I'm gone, because I'm technically responsible for you."

Ignoring most of what James had just said, Lily asked, "Al left? Where'd he go?" Albus would have been the only person Scorpius may have been okay with Lily telling about his condition, but it didn't sound like that would be possible after all.

"I dunno'," James replied. "He said he needed to go out. He's been leaving the house all the time, but it's not like I care to keep tabs on him." James hadn't had any time this summer to worry about anyone but himself, going off to Quidditch practices during the day and arguing with his parents over his questionable return to Hogwarts in the evenings.

"Right," Lily mumbled as James gave one last wave before disappearing out the door, where he and Lysander walked out into the middle of the field and Disapparated separately.

With no one left to run into, Lily turned her focus to the task at hand. What could she possibly do to help Scorpius? Not wanting to waste any more time, she sprinted up the stairs to her bedroom, which was at the end of the second floor hallway. She then changed her clothes and packed a backpack full of extra towels and a bottle of water. Heading into her bathroom, which she shared with Al, she sifted through the cupboards in search of something, anything, that she could use. She was able to find a few bandages, but not much else. She was about to leave to the lavatory when she noticed the open door on the other side, which led into Al's room.

Her brother's bedroom was dark, the walls painted a forest green color and the curtains pulled closed over both windows. Al's bed, which had black sheets on top of it, was unmade, and beside it sat a messy desk topped with a couple of open books and a boiling pot with a disgusting, purple liquid bubbling out of the top. On the other side of the room, by the second window, perched Witherwings, Al's grey, spotted owl, and next to him sat a pile of opened letters. Normally, Lily would have loved to read through them, but today she had a different goal. Turning her attention to a large armoire that stood in between Witherwings's cage and Al's potions desk, Lily walked toward it and opened it up. Inside was an array of various completed potions and ingredients to make them. Lily didn't know what she was looking for, but sorted through each shelf nonetheless.

Eventually, she came across a small, glass jar on the top shelf. It had a clear liquid inside and was labeled 'Essence of Dittany', in perfectly printed cursive. That was not Al's handwriting, which Lily took to be a good sign. She also thought that she recognized the name, but couldn't be sure. Checking her watch, she realized that she'd already been gone twenty minutes, so she decided to take a chance, pocketing the potion and racing back to Scorpius's tent.

He wasn't asleep when she got there, and Scorpius had actually managed to move to the edge of the room, as he was now lying at the bottom of the two steps that led to the tent's kitchen. Lily ran over to him, dropping her pack at the entrance and keeping only the Dittany in her hand. She was quick to unstopper it, and then gestured for Scorpius to open his mouth, in which she poured a couple of drops of the liquid.

Scorpius, who had been so pale and frightening-looking before, pinked up almost instantly. He still looked rather ill, and even more exhausted, but at least he was alive. Lily took a breath for what felt like the first time all afternoon, thankful beyond words that the potion seemed to have done the trick.

Making sure that her assumption was correct, Lily asked Scorpius, "Is it working? You look a lot less dreadful already."

He nodded. "Yeah. It is working."

Hearing his voice, clearer and much more controlled than it had been when she'd found him, Lily smiled. She then helped to pull Scorpius up to a sitting position, where the two stayed for a few moments.

After gaining back some energy, Scorpius asked about the potion Lily had used, which she explained was Al's. Upon hearing this, Scorpius asked anxiously, "You – you didn't tell him you found me, did you?"

Lily looked back at Scorpius, staring him straight in the eye. She didn't understand what was so important that he couldn't tell his best friend where he was. After telling Scorpius that no, she did not reveal his secret, she said to him, "I don't understand. Why can't anybody know where you are?" Before he replied, she added, "Wait, let me guess. It's for some stupid noble reason, isn't it?"

Scorpius had always been very aware of his responsibilities, whether that meant that he had to protect his family's name even when so many others believed them to be villains, or whether that meant that he had to protect his friends when his mother actually turned into a full-blown villain. He had always reminded Lily of her father in that way.

"No," Scorpius replied. His voice was slowly coming back to him, though it still sounded as if it ached. "It's not about nobility. In fact, it's more like cowardice. I'm hiding."

Lily rolled her eyes. Another thing about Scorpius was that he was far more humble than he needed to be.

Taking Lily's reaction as a sign that she didn't believe him, however, Scorpius went on to explain that he was hiding from Astoria, who was apparently not only after Muggle-borns, but also Scorpius himself. When he mentioned that Astoria was apparently looking for him, Lily replied, "And you think you'll be able to take care of things yourself? Too bloody proud to ask for any help?"

Scorpius chuckled, but replied wittily with, "I asked for yours, didn't I?"

"Touché," Lily accepted the defeat. Too curious to remain silent any longer though, Lily gestured to Scorpius's abdomen and said, "Speaking of that though, how did this happen?"

"It's a long story," Scorpius sighed. Clearly, he didn't want Lily to know the truth. She couldn't say she was surprised; she had always known he was full of secrets that even she couldn't unravel.

Deciding that she might be able to get some information out of him in his current state though, Lily pretended that she was offended by his lack of trust in her, and stood from the ground as she said, "I should probably go. You're okay now, and you want to be alone."

It worked. Scorpius grabbed hold of Lily's arm and said to her, "No. You're right. I could use a little help right now. Don't go?"

Smirking to herself, Lily turned around and walked over to the backpack she had brought with her. She poured some water on one of the fresh towels and then headed back to Scorpius. Leaning over him, she pressed the towel on his forehead and wiped away the sweat that had invaded his face. She then looked him over carefully, wondering how it was that he could still be so handsome, even when so unhealthy, and whispered, "I thought you'd never ask."

Lily knew that it was wrong, but she was secretly thankful to have found Scorpius, even in his injured state. It was rare that she was given the opportunity to find a person with secrets that she hadn't yet revealed to the rest of the world, and in this case she didn't even have the desire to expose all that Scorpius was hiding. She would be perfectly content in knowing Scorpius's secrets all on her own.

"Exactly how much are you chopping back there?" Scorpius asked.

"Hey, I told you: no commenting," Lily snapped at him. "Plus, it might not be so bad if you'd stop fidgeting." She was trying to cut Scorpius's hair, which had been hiding his eyes for nearly a week now, but she had never exactly given anyone a haircut before.

"Are you joking? I haven't moved an inch!" He was right. Scorpius hadn't moved at all, but Lily still needed an excuse for her inferior skills.

"Anyway," Lily said with annoyance, "I think I'm finished." She then leaned back and took a good luck at Scorpius. Turning around so that she could see his face, Lily realized that, with the exception of Scorpius's new crooked hair, he was looking a lot better than he had when she'd found him.

He had gained a bit of weight ever since Lily had started bringing him a full bag of food nearly every day, and his skin had a healthier glow about it. Granted, Scorpius had needed to rest for quite some time before he'd been able to get back on his feet again, but now he seemed to be doing well. Lily still didn't have the details on what had happened to him in the first place, though. She asked Scorpius with every chance she got, especially if she saw him with a new scar or bruise on any part of his body, but he would always change the subject, leaving her with nothing but her own suspicions.

Today, for instance, a foggy morning in late August, Lily had stopped by Scorpius's tent with a freshly sharpened pair of scissors, only to notice that Scorpius already had plenty of cuts. He had just gotten out of bed when Lily barged in, so he hadn't had a chance to put a shirt on yet. Seeing his still scrawny chest, which was reddened and marked as if it had been scraped violently by an angry cat, Lily immediately asked Scorpius what happened to him. After putting on a shirt and turning bright red in embarrassment (even though Lily had seen it all before; she did have brothers), Scorpius had just shrugged her off and asked her what the scissors were for. That's how they had come to the haircut.

Still, there were a lot of things about Scorpius that Lily found herself questioning. He claimed to be out here in order to hide himself, yet the Ministry was busy doing Scorpius's work for him, Ron Weasley leading a protection effort to help raise forces. However, like when she asked him about his wounds, whenever Lily mentioned any outside news, Scorpius pretended that he didn't want to listen. He was determined to be alone, and yet Lily could see how desperate he was for companionship.

Now, Scorpius was already busy sweeping away the hair that had fallen across the floor. Lily didn't bother helping him with that, but she did brush some of the static hair off the back of his shirt while he was at it. She knew that Scorpius had defined rules regarding his personal space, but Lily figured it was for his own good that they be broken.

"So, what's your agenda for the day?" Scorpius asked as he stood back up and headed for the tent's fireplace, which merely acted as a trash can with all the summer heat. As he walked over, he put his own hand to his back, as if rubbing Lily's away.

"Um, I might go see Roxy for a while," Lily responded. Scorpius nodded, but Lily got in the next word when the mention of her friend jogged her memory of something she'd meant to give to Scorpius.

"Oh, that reminds me! I can't believe I almost forgot…" Lily rambled as she walked over to today's food bag, which was sitting on the counter in the kitchen. After sifting through it, Lily found a small, colorful package buried at the bottom, which she pulled out and handed to Scorpius.

"A Chocolate Frog?" He asked upon seeing Lily's gift. "How'd you get this?" It wasn't often that Scorpius ate candy, and Chocolate Frogs were exclusive to three specific spots in the wizarding world: Hogsmeade, the trolley on the Hogwarts Express, and Diagon Alley.

"Well, Roxy gave some to me," Lily explained. "Fred's got a whole stash of them at home. It's a little difficult to keep the place hidden from Hugo, but we manage." Roxanne and Fred Weasley's father, George, owned a joke shop in Diagon Alley, so they had easy access to all the best wizard shops.

"Thank you!" Scorpius said genuinely.

"Well go on, open it!" Lily ordered.

Scorpius laughed, but did as he was told. As soon as the package was opened, the frog leaped out and Lily was lucky enough to catch it while Scorpius took out the card, which was much more valuable than the magical frog, and turned it over.

"Who'd you get?" Lily asked, wincing from the strangely slithery frog in her palms.

Scorpius was looking down at the card as if mesmerized. At first, he looked slightly sad, but eventually he smiled and answered, "Your dad."

Lily smiled back, and in that moment she realized that she and Scorpius clearly shared at least one thing: they both missed Harry. Mr. Potter had been like a father to Scorpius, and Lily had been struggling to keep her family intact since he'd gone off on his mission.

Holding the card firmly, Scorpius walked toward Lily, breaking his personal space barrier, and pulled her into a giant hug. "Thank you," he repeated, this time much softer than before, and yet much heavier.

"Of course," Lily whispered back, taking in Scorpius's snowy scent. This was, quite possibly, the best moment yet of an otherwise unbearable summer, and Lily couldn't help but feel like her heart was singing.

Lily didn't stay at the tent much longer, since the early morning was stretching on. She needed get back home before anyone woke up and noticed that she was gone. When she entered through the back door, she was humming with cheer, and tiptoed across the living room dandily, dancing around with every move short of a twirl.

"What are you doing?" Albus asked as Lily entered the kitchen. He had a bowl of oatmeal on the table and was stirring it lazily. He was dressed in all black, as if on his way to a funeral, but Lily barely noticed.

"I'm humming," she said. As she sat down at the counter next to Al, Lily added, "You know, because I'm happy!"

"What could you possibly be happy about? You've been sulking in your room ever since Dad left," Al said. Adhering to Scorpius's request, Lily hadn't mentioned him to Al, so he knew nothing of how much better her summer had recently become, or how frightening a state his best friend was in.

"Well," Lily said, trying to think of a lie that would fool Al, who was much less gullible than James. "We're going back to Hogwarts soon, and what can I say? I'm looking forward to ruling all the other lowly fourth years." Fourth year at Hogwarts was known as the transition year, stuck right in the middle between pre-pubescent teenagers and slowly maturing young adults. Some considered it a rather awkward stage, but the fourth years themselves always felt a new level of importance, and it was true that Lily couldn't wait. She and Hugo were bound for greatness; there was no denying it.

Al managed a tiny chuckle, but seemed uninterested in Lily's school plans as he stood up, threw away his half-eaten bowl of oatmeal, and headed for the back door, grabbing his broom on the way out.

"I'm going for a walk," Al stated to Lily. "Let Mum know."

Lily gave Al a wave goodbye, not caring much where he was headed. He'd probably be going to visit Rose anyway, whom he'd been spending most of his days with, ever since she and Scorpius had broken up.

As Lily got up to make her own breakfast, her mother, Ginny Potter, walked down the stairs, a well-behaved, noble barn owl perched atop her shoulder and an opened letter in her hands.

"'Morning," Lily said, before turning around and noticing Ginny's frantic reading. "Is that from the Ministry?" Lily asked, referring to Ginny's letter.

Ginny nodded. Once she finished reading, an enormous smile broke across her cheeks. Lily loved her mother's smile, quite possibly because it was the one thing she hadn't inherited from her. Lily had Ginny's straight, red hair, freckled cheeks, and mouse brown eyes, but her smile was all Harry.

"He's coming home!" Ginny exclaimed as she looked up from the letter and at her slightly shorter daughter.

Lily smiled now, and immediately asked, "When?"

"At the end of the week," Ginny said. "He wants to see you all off, of course." The Hogwarts Express was leaving that Sunday, and so Harry would be returning home for the weekend so that he could be there when James, Al, and Lily left for school.

Lily's smile was still etched across her face, and nothing could take it away. Finding Scorpius had brought her an immense sense of joy, but now that she'd be seeing her father, that joy was multiplied tenfold.

"Plus, somebody's going to need to talk to James," Ginny added, this time in a whisper. James had been arguing with Ginny, and Harry before he'd left, all summer long about his pending return to Hogwarts. He was meant to be entering his final year, but now that he had made it onto a professional Quidditch team, he seemed to want drop out of school in order to play with the Magpies full time. Of course, he was seventeen, so it was his decision, but both Harry and Ginny were seriously against it. Still, none of what they'd been telling James so far had worked to change his mind, and they only had so much time left.

"Don't worry," Lily said. "Dad will fix everything. He always does." Lily was happy, and she wanted her family to be too. Giving her mother a giant hug, she whispered in Ginny's ear, "We're going to be a family again. You'll see."

It was Friday, the night before her father's return, and Lily was getting dressed to meet Scorpius at his tent. She'd be going to Diagon Alley with her family the next morning, and so she wouldn't see Scorpius again until they were both on their way back to Hogwarts. That made this their last night together for the summer, and Lily wanted it to be perfect.

She had tried on a dress for the occasion, but had just as quickly taken it off, realizing that it didn't suit her at all. Lily was willing to do just about anything to get Scorpius to look at her the way he had always looked at Rose, but a line was drawn at her integrity. She still wanted Scorpius to look at her and see her, not anybody else.

So after putting on a pair of jeans and a slightly feminine top, Lily brushed a hand through her hair and examined herself in the bathroom mirror. She looked no different than she usually did. Deciding that it really couldn't hurt, Lily ventured out of the room and into her parents' bathroom to steal a whiff of her mother's perfume. Ginny, James, and Al had all left to have dinner with the Weasleys, Lily having claimed that she was going to Roxanne's for the evening. They wouldn't miss her anyway, just like Ginny wouldn't miss a few drops out of the one bottle of perfume she owned.

Finally satisfied with herself, Lily skipped downstairs and rummaged through the kitchen to fill a new food bag for Scorpius. She took an entire loaf of bread first, since she knew from experience that Scorpius would be craving it after a long day of doing whatever it was he did out in the woods. Plus, the fresh scars that he seemed to gain everyday would require some energy to heal. Lily went on to pack more food than she had ever brought Scorpius before. She wasn't sure why she was doing it, since Scorpius would be leaving soon anyway, but for some reason it felt necessary.

Then she was on her way, flying as fast as she could through the black sky to Scorpius's canvas tent. Hopping off her broom, Lily barged right in as always, yelling out "Hey!" as she made her way into the kitchen.

"Hey," Scorpius replied while sifting through the kitchen cupboards. Just as Lily had suspected, he was already searching for food. "Did you bring-"

"Bread?" Lily asked knowingly before tossing him the loaf. "It's all yours." She then sat her bag on the counter and started unloading while Scorpius chowed down. He looked nice tonight, wearing a black collared shirt that Lily had stolen from Al's closet, his hair sleeked back in a completely natural way. Best of all, Lily couldn't see any new scars or bruises. Granted, the old ones on his forehead were still there, but they were healing rather than oozing.

Scorpius commented on the amount of food Lily had brought, which unfortunately led to her trying to explain where her family was at the moment. This required mentioning Rose, a topic that Lily always tried to steer clear of, but Scorpius was a gentleman and let her carry on as if nothing had happened. Lily then explained the misconception she'd given her mother so that she could be with Scorpius tonight.

"So how much time do you have?" asked Scorpius after Lily had fully explained.

"Loads," Lily answered, having finished unpacking by now and leaning against the counter. "I don't have to be back until midnight, because there's no way they will be."

"Good," Scorpius said genuinely. "Because I was thinking I could make us dinner." He already had his sleeves rolled up and was ready to go, but Lily was shocked by the idea. In all the hours she'd spent here over the past few weeks, they'd never cooked anything in this puny kitchen. She hadn't even realized the stove still worked.

"Really?" she asked. "Well gosh, are there any other hidden talents I don't know about?"

Scorpius took a moment to respond, during which Lily stared at his blushing cheeks. She looked up to Scorpius, and sometimes wondered if it was in the same sort of way she looked up to her brothers. Then Scorpius would blush, or smile, or turn his head ever so slightly as if he was contemplating some deep thought, and she'd be reminded that what she felt for him was not at all platonic. She only wished that he felt it too.

"Oh, don't worry, it's no talent," Scorpius finally responded. "I'm bloody awful at Potions, and cooking's not much better."


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