Short Summary: Our minds are far more haunting enemies than anything the world can throw at us, and it takes a lot to overcome something you can't escape. In sixteen-year-old Lily Potter's case, her mind harbours a dark memory. But how can a barely-conscious meeting with Scorpius Malfoy set forth a chain of events that will heal the wounds of her past, reopen an abandoned murder case and unearth a disturbing new cult unwavering in their desire for wizarding purity?
Categories: Romance/Drama/Hurt/Comfort/Action/Adventure... yeah, they didn't fit in the category selector.
Author's note: First of all, I apologize for the horribly corny title. I just couldn't think of anything, but hopefully it will change by next chapter. Second, the idea for this story came from a poem about Sylvia Plath, so Lily is a little disturbed at first. Also, I'll just clarify character ages here, I tweaked a little bit. James (19) graduated two years ago, while Albus, Rose and Scorpius (all 17) are in their final year. Lily (16) is in her sixth year.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any other affiliated trademarks.
Chapter One: Secrets Looming
As luminous celestial bodies burned brightly in the silver-studded carpet of the midnight sky, the faint scratching of a quill was the only disturbance to the peace of the sixth year Gryffindor girl's dormitory. An ebony-haired witch looked upon the parchment of a diary, emerald eyes glazed over as she wrote feverishly, confiding dark secrets the world remained oblivious to.
At that time when I still believed in fairytales, I thought that September 1st would be the day when all my dreams would come true. At ten years old I was foolish enough to believe that on that 'auspicious' day the very next year, all my imaginings of happily ever afters in the wizarding world would suddenly become reality. I had always thought that at the gateway between two worlds, a number of impossible things would no longer be so.
At sixteen years old I am no longer so foolish. September 1st is no more or less auspicious than any other day. The concept of 'happily ever after' is a construct of senile raconteurs whose talents are no more than that of lying to small, impressionable children. That's what I was when my parents told me those fairytales; an impressionable child. That's what I believed until they were murdered.
Precisely one year before the day that should have been the happiest in my life, tragedy struck my family. Though I love them dearly, my brothers remain unaware of what I have seen. Six years later, I still allow them to remain innocent of the evils I witnessed. I deprive myself of sleep in the struggle to fight off the nightmares that would surely follow it… on the sixth anniversary of my parents' death I am, as always, alone.
Wrinkling her nose in distaste at the paragraphs she had scrawled, only half-conscious, Lily Potter resisted the urge to rip up her creation; she was paranoid, as always, that someone would find out about the burden she carried with her, the memory that still haunted her nightmares. That she would be forced to share it with the world, relive the moment she had spent so many years of her life trying to fend off.
Snapping the diary shut, she dug to the bottom of her trunk, burying the incriminating text as though it was a corpse in a freshly-dug grave. Sitting back on her four-poster, the young witch allowed a slight sigh to escape her pale pink lips, scanning the room with darkness adjusted eyes and willing herself to stay awake. Don't fall asleep… don't fall asleep… Lily urged herself. But there's no harm in getting comfortable, is there?
Mere minutes later the sixth year succumbed to weariness, a vivid nightmare flooding her mind almost instantaneously; next thing, Lily Potter was on her feet, sleepwalking down the stairs of Gryffindor tower. But in her mind, the scene fared somewhat differently…
A ten-year-old girl lay in her single-bed, her dark red hair spilling over the side of her pillow. Something caused her to wake with a start; a pitter-pattering noise of some kind… was that feet on the stairs? Before Lily had time to react, a hallway door was flung open by force and the startled young girl opened her door and ran, confused, into the corridor, to the sight of a dozen cloaked figures and the effervescent fireworks of spells exploding in their house…
By this time, the sleepwalking girl had reached the girl's bathroom and unconsciously made her way to one of the stalls. But the scene she saw before her was not the lavatory. Please… wake up… a voice inside her begged, but she was already captivated, trapped once again in her own mind.
Lily hunched quietly in the cupboard at the end of the hall, scarcely daring to inhale for fear that they would hear her ragged breathing. She covered her mouth to stop herself from screaming as her mother was flung into the hallway, a mere metre away.
"Crucio," growled a cloaked man, whose mere voice sent shivers down her spine. Her parents had told her about this spell, the excruciating pain it caused. That she should never use it, no matter the circumstance. So why would someone hurt her mother like this? Her eyes welled with tears as screams of pure agony rang through the house, in slow-motion as if to prolong the suffering of her mother, and Lily for spectating. Everything seemed to move so quickly from then on, then the green light-
Wandlight shone dazzlingly a few corridors away, emanating from a young man whose Head Boy badge gleamed silver in the illumination. Scorpius Malfoy had always found patrolling at night a pain; he was constantly irritated from lack of sleep the next day. Unfortunately with power came responsibility, and the ambitious Slytherin was in no position to turn down authority.
His cold grey eyes flickered to the end of the corridor as a noise reached his ears. Was that a scream from Moaning Myrtle's bathroom? It was probably just the inconsolable spectre that had haunted the bathroom since before the days of his father, but then again it sounded like more of a scream than a wail… Plus, something about it seemed so real… it had to be a real person that needed help, not just the silvery imprint of one. Perhaps it was just some kids out of bed, mucking around in the moonlight, but in any case it was his job to find out what was going on and award these defiant students with detention if it were so.
Her father falling to the ground triggered the scream; she saw his face, mutilated and disfigured beyond recognition. Though she had been reasonably calm thus far, panic had finally set in. What had just happened? Was this some kind of nightmare? Her mother yelled at her desperately, deep gashes evident on Ginny Potter's pale body as she lay paralysed; still in shock, Lily barely comprehended the word 'run' before a second green light illuminated the room. She looked up to see him - that horrible, malicious face - advance toward her, flanked by two others. Lily dashed down the hallway, wishing her brothers were here to protect her, when she was joined by footsteps on the stairs. As she hardly managed to dodge two scarlet curses, Lily realized she would never make it to the neighbors in time to save herself.
Instead of heading for the door, she turned the corner and dived into the cupboard under the stairs; how was she going to keep them out? It was then that she heard curses rebounding off the door. In her panic, had Lily managed to do accidental magic, like her father had done when he was a child? After a few more minutes the pounding of spells disappeared, as did the sound of voices outside. Still scared out of her wits, cowering, the ten-year-old was aware that she was now the only living being in the house. Curled up and now crying, Lily remained extremely quiet for what seemed like forever. Until she heard the voice of her uncle Ron…
As Scorpius stepped into the bathroom, it became apparent to him that it wasn't Moaning Myrtle after all. There was a shadow, a person sobbing in one of the cubicles. With his wand at the ready – for caution's sake only, in case this was some kind of trick – Scorpius stepped warily toward the cubicle.
She had sealed the door in such a way that Ron had to blast it off its hinges to get to her. As soon as Lily saw that it really was her uncle, she collapsed into his arms in a hysterical fit of tears, unable to speak…
It was here that the paths of her dream and reality severed. She was not crying inconsolably into the arms of her uncle, unable to tell him – anyone – what she had witnessed that night. Instead, half-asleep and with tears streaming down her pale face, Lily Potter fell not into the arms of her uncle, but the arms of a blonde Slytherin.
Scorpius felt somewhat of a jolt as the redheaded girl practically fell into his arms, wrapping both arms around his shoulders and burying her face in his chest. He was even more shocked as he realised that the girl was Lily Potter, the younger sister of his best friend Albus. He never really talked to Lily; not because he didn't like her, but because she barely talked to anyone, and Scorpius had always got the feeling that similar to her older brother James, the youngest Potter didn't exactly like him. Just as he opened his mouth to ask what the bloody hell was going on, she interjected with the words she had wanted to tell her Uncle in the dream but never been able to muster.
"I saw it, Uncle Ron… I saw them… they trapped them, tortured them and then they – they-"
These words were audible through the sobbing, but they made no sense to Scorpius. What was Lily Potter on about? One strange sensation was certain, though. As Lily buried her head further into his chest, Scorpius had the overpowering urge to stroke her hair, to tell her everything was going to be alright, to make everything better –
No. Scorpius said to himself forcefully. It was against the Malfoy image to be so warm and comforting – so why did he have the urge to be now? She was just a silly little girl who was having a night terror. Instead of wanting to hold her, I should want to slap her for being such a baby, he thought to himself. Clearing his throat, Scorpius used the coldest voice he could muster. "Potter?"
Scorpius felt a pang of unfamiliar emotion in his stomach as he removed her arms from his shoulders and held her at arms length. She was awake but unresponsive. "Potter… Lily."
At this moment it was as though something had snapped its fingers within her. Lily's eyes were no longer glazed over; they were wide and alert, and they darted around the room with obvious confusion and fear. "Wh- where am I? I was... I was in the house, and..." she whispered, before snapping out of it and realising who was standing in front of her. "Malfoy?" she questioned in her softly-spoken, rarely heard voice. "What happened?"
Scorpius grappled for words. "I... well, I heard a scream coming from the bathroom, so I came to investigate... you must have been sleepwalking or something. You thought I was your uncle... you told me that..." he trailed off, attempting to remember. What had she told him?
I saw it, Uncle Ron… I saw them… they trapped them, tortured them and then they – they-
Scorpius frowned. Was she talking about the night of her parents' death?
The tragic story was practically legend throughout wizarding Britain. Nineteen years after the demise of Voldemort, some deranged followers had managed to escape the wizarding fortress of Azkaban and sought revenge on the man who had defeated their master. They had attacked in the night, brutally torturing Harry and Ginny Potter before killing them.
Young Lily Potter, the only one home seeing as her brothers were at Hogwarts, had somehow managed to lock herself in the cupboard under the stairs by way of underage magic. Her Uncle Ron had heard a report about the Dark Mark hovering over the Potter home and came to find the upstairs level decimated, and the mutilated remains of his beloved sister and best friend. However there was a whimpering sound that he decided to investigate, only to find his ten-year-old niece, traumatised by the dying screams of her parents. Or at least that was what was assumed.
But that was where the story ended. While the Death Eaters were caught, some eventually escaped from custody and it was never determined whether these were the ones responsible, and if not, who and where were the true assailants? There were no witnesses to the deaths.
Scorpius replayed these words in his mind a couple of times before comprehension dawned, his eyes growing wide at the realisation. "Merlin... Lily, are you saying...? Did you see it? I thought that no one... you saw it happen, didn't you?"
"Please... please don't tell Albus," she begged him, emerald eyes swimming with emotion. "You can't tell him..."
"But - what? Why? I don't understand - if you saw it, if you tell the authorities you might be able to find out who... and why haven't you told Albus? He'd be beside himself with worry knowing that you knew this all those years..."
"Exactly," said Lily sadly. "If he knew, he'd be so worried... he'd ask me questions, agonise over things, thinking that knowing the truth will bring them back... Please, let him stay innocent of it... let the past stay buried. It can't hurt him if he doesn't know."
"But it's hurting you... wouldn't you feel better if he... if you talked about it?"
"If you'd seen your parents maimed and killed before your eyes, would talking about it help you? Perhaps I could gain a little resolution from it, but at the cost of my brother's happiness? He'd be miserable. Better for me to suffer, than the both of us."
Scorpius understood. He looked into those tortured emerald eyes, and understood. It was destroying her, but she kept it to herself in an act of self-sacrifice. Gryffindors, he thought to himself, but he also felt a massive pang of sympathy toward her. No wonder Lily was practically a recluse, after all she had witnessed.
"Scorpius?" she questioned softly, clutching at one of his hands with hers.
"Yes?" he nodded, surprised by the softness of those hands.
"Please don't tell Albus. Promise, promise me you won't tell him," she begged.
Scorpius nodded. Where before he had looked upon her with complete neutrality, he felt he owed Lily a great amount of respect. After all, being Albus' best friend, he knew how much their deaths had affected him, and that knowing this would send him out of his mind with worry. What she was doing was, in his opinion rather stupid, but also very brave. "I promise."
"Thankyou," she replied, letting go of his hand. "I'd better go back to my dormitory and get some sleep."
"Oh, I'll walk you back there... I have to patrol that area anyway, before I can go back to the dungeons."
Lily nodded silently in acquiescence. Thought she wouldn't admit it, she hated the dark, and the thought of having someone to accompany her made Lily feel a great deal safer.
They walked to the portraithole in silence. Scorpius had a million questions for her, but knew it was kinder to keep it to himself; she obviously didn't want to talk about it. Lily felt exhausted, both emotionally and physically, as she reached the portraithole. "Thankyou for walking me back."
"It's the least I can do," Scorpius replied. He stood for a second, just staring, expecting her to say something else, before realising that he had better leave; The Fat Lady awakened and was squinting in the darkness at him. "Well, see you at breakfast."
He turned on his heel and returned to the Slytherin boys' dormitory, quickly undressing and putting on his pyjamas. He got into bed, but spent the night tossing and turning relentlessly. Scorpius couldn't stop thinking of those haunted eyes, infuriated with himself for wanting to get involved in business that was not his. He couldn't quite understand his own odd behaviour; first he had wanted to comfort her, now he was obsessing over ways to help Lily gain closure over the issue. What had gotten into him?
Author's Note: This will be the only chapter with bookend A/N's, I swear. For anyone that read Love Stings, I'll warn you that updates won't be as quick, since LS was almost entirely pre-written. If you want to see my idea of what the characters look like, check out my profile. Aside from that, I really hope you guys like the first chapter, there's a lot more action to come :) Leave a review and tell me what you think!