Disclaimer: I do not own any part of HP.
Thank you to all of you who have read and reviewed so far, and a special thank to my fabulous BETA, Sindie.
"I was starting to worry about you," Lily sighed into the phone. It was nearly seven by the time Severus had called her back.
"I'm sorry, Lily. I had a very long day; I was exhausted. I still am, actually."
"I understand, Sev. I bet you learned loads."
Severus laughed as he leaned against the kitchen wall, "I did, but it was more of the fact that it was just a lot of information. We talked about my projects, as well as some of his own, and oh, that reminds me, we got into a rather long conversation about bone growth and regeneration."
"You mean something to help with Tuney's spine?" She gasped and grinned at the possibility of Severus being even a step closer to helping her sister.
"Yes, we went over my own research; he agreed that it was sound. He actually suggested beginning preliminary trials this week." He had known for some time that he had pretty set foundation for a potion that was basically an adaptation of Skele-Gro; however, it would not only mend bones but tissue and muscle as well; he simply hadn't had the time or materials to begin testing.
"Oh, Sev, that's wonderful!" Lily cheered.
"I know. I honestly believe it will be my first recorded achievement." You could hear the pride in his voice. In his past life, working for Dumbledore, he had little free time, and although he had more ideas than he knew what to do with, he rarely had a chance to invest time to work on them.
"Oh, Sev, I'm so proud of you."
Severus laughed. "Don't be proud of me just yet; let's wait until we know for sure that it works."
"You're brilliant Sev; I'm positive it will!"
"Well, thank you for having so much confidence in me; it really does mean a lot."
More than she could ever possibly understand. Lily's opinion mattered more to him than anyone's, even his own. "Alchemy," he went on as he reached for a kitchen chair a few feet away, pulling it closer to where the phone was hooked to the wall beside the fridge, "is a very complicated yet underrated field of study," he said, then sitting in the chair. "Master Flamel believes adamantly that it should be taught alongside Potions, and I have to say I agree. Though… perhaps as an elective, very few witches and wizards have a true appreciation and understanding for potions and pass only by the skin of their teeth. Alchemy, although related to Potions, can be quite complex."
Lily liked Potions and was quite good at it, but her level of interest could never compare to her boyfriend's, who droned on more like a professor than a student. Not once throughout his thirty minute lecture did she interrupt him, but happily listened as Severus excitedly told her about his amazing first day as Master Flamel's apprentice.
Narcissa attempted to drown out the sound of the others in the room, focusing instead on her own thoughts. She didn't want to listen to her eldest sister and her fiancé go on and on about how much money they had, how pure their blood was, and of course… the Dark Lord.
"He's already started to mark his most loyal followers," Bellatrix said with a smirk, which made Narcissa think something she'd rather not.
"Indeed," Rodolphus added, running his hand gently over his own left forearm.
"I heard he was interested in Lucius."
Narcissa's head shot up, her gaze instantly shooting to her sister at the sound of Malfoy's name. "It's only natural, of course. His family is as pure as our own, if not as old."
"You're sure?" she asked. If she was forced to marry him, she didn't think she liked the idea of her husband being a Death Eater.
"Oh, yes. I'm sure Lucius will be honored to join."
An unnerving chill ran up her spine as Narcissa watched her sister's smirk grow almost sinister.
"After all," Bellatrix continued, "those who follow the Dark Lord will be greatly rewarded… But those who do not, severely punished."
Severus had a headache, but he supposed that was to be expected after spending eight hours in poorly ventilated lab attempting to mend the broken spines of dozens dead rats with an experimental potion. He and Flamel had spent the better part of two weeks concocting a potion that would both mend badly broken bone as well as re-grow bone, tissue, and muscle that was damaged beyond repair. So far, the results had been hopeful but not completely successful. They had also been conducting more research on ways to help with CP, specifically, neurological disorders that affect the part of the brain controlling body movement and muscle coordination. There were, to date, no pre-existing spells and potions focusing on anything to do with neurological defects in the brain, but that wasn't surprising, considering very few witches or wizards were born with such ailments.
When he had finally got home, which was close to an hour later than usual, he took a pain potion and headed to his room with every intention of going to bed. That, however, wasn't meant to be. His mother had insisted he eat dinner, and when he declined, she grabbed him by the shirt collar and all but dragged him down the stairs and into the kitchen.
"Mum, I'm not hungry," Severus groaned as Eileen finally released his ear and pointed to his chair at the table.
Severus groaned, but complied.
"Now eat; you've no doubt had a long day, and knowing you the way I do, you most likely worked through your lunch."
She had him there. Mrs. Flamel had brought him in a tray of food; he had taken a total of three bites before resuming his work. So without further complaint, he joined the rest of his family for dinner. Afterward, he planned to head back to bed, but not before calling Lily first. The next day was Saturday, and they had plans to spend it together.
Sirius was bored. Regulus was off shopping with Mother, and Father was in his study doing Merlin knows what. He had Floo-called Boris and talked about Quidditch for a bit, but then his friend was called to dinner and had to go. Anna wasn't home, and Jack was running an errand with his dad. He thought briefly of calling James, but then decided against it; he only really hung out with Potter when he was with Severus.
"I guess I could call Remus."
He didn't hang out with Remus as much as he did his Slytherin friends, and like Potter, he usually only did when Severus was around. His mother had already made it quite clear that she had no desire for either of her sons to associate themselves with "dangerous creatures." So, Sirius and Regulus simply did not mention Remus in front of their mother, which was easy enough, though Sirius still worried about the fact that she knew what Remus was, and knowing his mother the way he did, she would wait and bide her time and then use the information when it best suited her needs.
In that his mother was out and would be for several more hours, Sirius decided to take a chance and call his friend. He went to the Floo in the library, which was at the end of the hall on the third floor, and then told Kreacher to tell him if anyone was close by.
Remus was in his room working on his summer homework when his mum told him he had a Floo call. He was expecting Lily or maybe Severus and was quite surprised to find Sirius' head sticking out of his fireplace.
"Hey, Remus, busy?"
"Just doing homework."
Sirius laughed. "I actually thought of doing mine as well, but I'm just not in the mood."
Remus laughed as he walked closer to the fireplace. "I wasn't either; I just didn't have anything to do."
"I know what you mean." Sirius snorted. "I'm so bored, I'm actually considering having Kreacher play Quidditch with me. You know, actually, that might be a good idea; I could use him as a Bludger."
While Sirius laughed at the idea, Remus just shook his head. There was no doubt whatsoever that Sirius loathed his family's house-elf and that the feeling was mutual.
"If you want, you could grab your work and come over; maybe we could help each other out," Remus suggested.
Sirius sighed and shook his head. "I don't know… my mum."
"Oh, right." Remus' gaze dropped. "She probably doesn't want you hanging around me now that she knows what I am."
"You're not a what, Remus! You are a person and my friend. You know what? Screw my mum. She's not home, anyway. Just let me go tell my dad, and I'll be right over."
Remus grinned. "Great, I'll tell my parents you're coming over."
With that, the Floo call ended, and Sirius headed downstairs and to his father's study. He knocked several times with no response. Finally, he told Kreacher to pop in there and tell his dad he needed to talk to him. He knew his dad didn't like to be bothered when he was in his study, but he wasn't about to go off without telling him. He'd tan his hide for sure.
A moment later the door opened, a stern-looking Orion Black glaring down at his son. "This better be important."
"Sorry, Father, but a friend invited me over to study, and I didn't want to leave the house without your permission."
Orion's expression softened just slightly. "Very well, you have two hours."
"Thank you, Father."
Orion just nodded.
Sirius then dashed up to his room, grabbed his books, and headed to the nearest fireplace.
Lily couldn't help but smile as she watched her sister play the piano, her boyfriend sitting beside her listening intently. She had been playing a lot over the summer, practicing her skill. Apparently, she was finally starting to take the possibility of attending the Royal Academy of Music seriously. When Petunia finished the piece, Alex cheered and then kissed his girlfriend on the cheek.
"That was amazing, Tuney."
Petunia blushed slightly; she almost always did when Alex complimented her.
"Thanks," she said, placing her hands on the piano bench, lifting herself up slighting and scooting over. "Now, it's your turn."
Alex groaned and shook his head. "I'll butcher it."
Petunia just laughed as she wrapped her arms around his waist and pulled him to the center of the bench. "You have gotten very good; now come, show me how wonderful of a teacher I am."
"Well, all right, but, Lily, please, if you value your hearing, you may want to block your ears."
Lily laughed and shrugged. "I have complete faith that you will play quite admirably and, of course, with my sister's teaching skills."
"Thank you, Lily," Petunia said, grinning. "Now play." She pointed to the keys, which Alex then placed his fingers across.
"Okay, but I warned you."
As he worked his way through the piece, he wasn't playing anywhere close to Petunia's level, but he certainly was getting better.
Lily thought that perhaps Petunia would make a good teacher… then again, teaching her boyfriend who she was madly in love with was one thing, teaching strangers, or even children, was another.
A/N: Like the quick update? Hope so. I needed to make it up to you all for making you wait so long the last time. Please review and let me know what you think.