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The Flower and the Stag

Chapter 11

She falls apart by herself

No one's there to talk or understand

Feels the sting, dries her eyes

Finds herself, opens the door and cries

~ Sugar Ray, 'Falls Apart'

Lily glared at her reflection in the mirror. Her red hair was -just to put it in one word- yuck. Her eyes were puffy, and her nose was red. No wonder no one wanted to come near her. Although, she reasoned, that could have been because they were afraid of have timing devices chucked at them

She grabbed some clean robes and headed into the shower, feeling more like drowning than getting wet.

'Lily?' There was a knock on the door, and Lily suspected her friends were worried that she would try to drown herself.

'Coming.' As she left the bathroom, she glanced at the mirror, and was pleased to see that she looked halfway decent. Clothes, Lily, can't forget clothes, the little voice inside her head reminded her. Oh yeah. She pulled on some jeans and her black robes, and stepped out, tying her long hair back into a ponytail, after drying it with a spell.

'Thought you'd never join us,' Jo said, grinning nervously, not quite sure of what to say.

She shrugged, and almost cracked a smile when she saw Lianne watching her cautiously; obviously hoping there was nothing throwable within Lily's reach.

'Are you coming?'

'Where?' Lily said blankly.

'The funeral.' Jo said quietly.

'Oh…yeah, hang on a second.' She pulled out her wand and transfigured some pencils into little daisies. 'I'm ready.'

The four girls left silently, each aware that there were only four, and that the fifth would never join them.

Lily never could remember much of the funeral afterwards, partly because she was crying through half of it, and partly because she spent the other half trying not to. Holly's family had also been killed by Voldemort, but her cousin, who had been on holiday with some friends, was still alive. She stood up shakily at the front of the ceremony, holding a tiny piece of paper, on which was written a poem.

When I come to the end of the road

And the sun has set for me

I want no rites in a gloom filled room

Why cry for a soul set free?

Miss me a little- but not too long

And not with your head bowed low,

Remember the love that we once shared,

Miss me- but let me go

For this is a journey we all must take,

And each must go alone,

It's all part of the Master's plan,

A step on the road to home

When you are lonely and sick of heart

Go to the friends we know

And bury your sorrows

In doing good deeds,

Miss me- but let me go

Lily sniffed…I wish mum was here, she though fervently, which just made her cry harder. Heck, she almost wished Petunia were here. She realised what she had just thought, and for moment stopped crying, mainly because she was worried about her sanity.

When the funeral was over, Lily walked over to James, wiping her eyes, trying to breathe save hiccupping.

He hugged her, and ruffled her hair affectionately.

She glared at him. 'Do not touch the hair.' James grinned, glad that almost a small bit of Lily was showing again.

Back at Hogwarts, James pulled Lily back before she could hide in her dorm again. 'Lily, look.'

'At what?' She said dully.

He sighed, wrapped a clock around her so she couldn't escape- or maybe because she was shaking- and they headed out the portrait again, James steering her down the corridor and out into the grounds.

'What is it, James?' She said impatiently, not wanting to talk.

'Holly would not have wanted you to be like this. Imagine if you died- which I seriously hope you don't- you wouldn't have wanted your friends to stop living too, wouldn't you? I mean, I haven't seen you laugh in days.'

'That's because I haven't.'

James shook her. 'Lily, stop it! I can understand you're upset- we all are, can't you see? But you have to pull yourself together!'

Lily pulled away furiously. 'Leave me alone!' She hissed. Before James could say anything else, she had run away.

Sitting by the lake could be a very soothing thing, Lily decided, after she had sat silently by it for several hours…James hadn't even followed her. She probably wouldn't have followed him, but she refused to think about that for the moment. Lily was just wondering what she ever saw in him, when he sat down besides her.

She ignored him.



'Please don't hate me.'

'I don't hate you.' Why did her mouth have to be so damn quick?

James snorted. 'Maybe you don't hate me, but you sure aren't happy, are you?'

Lily shrugged, wishing he couldn't read her mind.

'If I manage to make you laugh, will you try to cheer up? Just for me? If I can't, I'll leave you alone.'


James grinned, and settled down opposite her, his brown eyes glinting. 'Okay. Now obviously, Jo likes Sirius, correct?'

Lily nodded, wondering where this was going. 'Correct.'

'Well, you should see Sirius every night. I'll give you an imitation.' He pulled the most lovesick face he possibly could, but Lily just raised her eyebrows, not even cracking a smile.

James thought for a moment. 'Want to hear a joke?'

Lily shrugged, but James took this as a yes and continued. 'How many steps does it take to get an elephant into a refrigerator- you do know what that is, don't you?'

Lily rolled her eyes at him. 'Yes. I don't know, how many?'

'3. Open the door, put the elephants in, close the door.'


James didn't even look the slightest bit nervous, although Lily looked like she might fall asleep at any moment. He decided to continue with the Sirius imitation, mainly because it was the easiest, and besides, it was pretty funny. He pretended to be looking in the mirror. 'James? Do you think she likes my hair like this-' James brushed his backwards- 'or like this? Or should I just leave it like this?' He scruffed his hair up.

Lily tried to stop a small smile escape. 'He brushes his hair? For Jo?...I didn't know he owned a brush.'

'Oh, he doesn't. He just uses his fingers.'

Lily giggled, imagining Sirius looking in the mirror doing his hair. She quickly stopped, though.

'Ha!' James said triumphantly.

She allowed a smile to spread across her lips. 'So you win. What do you get?'

'Well, I wasn't going to ask for anything, but as I managed to do it ever so quickly-' he grinned, very pleased with himself- and leaned over and kissed her.

There was a loud wolf whistle from the bushes, and Sirius, Remus and Jo rolled out, each laughing. Well, Sirius was sort of laughing. He was also waiting to push James in the lake.

Remus giggled, and looked at Sirius. 'Do you really do that?'

Sirius looked wounded. 'No.'

'Oh, for goodness sake, Padfoot,' James said, pulling away from Lily (finally.) 'Just kiss the girl already.'

Jo had turned a brilliant shade of red, and made an attempt to run away. Lily laughed and ran after her, pulling her back to where Sirius was standing. 'And this comes from the two people who liked each other for a at least 3 years and didn't even do anything.' Sirius muttered under his breath.

'Now kiss.' Lily instructed grinning. It all looked remarkably like a group of fourth grade kids, teasing their friends who 'secretly' had crushes on each other.

Jo ducked and Lily chased her around the lake, laughing, sounding more alive than she had in days.

Remus watched them with his hands on his hips, grinning. 'Well, Lily's back, Prongs.'

Sirius rolled his eyes. 'I think he's already aware of that fact…fancy an evening dip?"

'Er- now Padfoot, you really don't want to do this,' James said, backing away. Right into the lake.

Sirius howled with laughter, and only stopped when James had pulled his hysterical best friend in after him.


Several weeks later, Lily was pretty much back to her normal self, though she still, and probably always would, felt a sting in her eyes when she passed Holly's now unoccupied bed.

She walked down into the Common Room one evening to find Sirius, James and Remus sitting with their heads close together, whispering excitedly. Soon as she entered the room, they shut up and all looked unusually innocent.

'What's going on?' She asked suspiciously, looking from one to other.

'Oh, nothing.' James said with an air of a person who has a huge secret and is extremely pleased.


'Nothing at all,' Remus said, grinning.

'We are not doing anything illegal that could easily result in embarrassing a certain Slytherin for the rest of their lives-' Sirius was cut off by James, who had elbowed him in the ribs.

'Oooh.' Lily said eagerly, sitting next to Remus. 'What're we doing?'


'You think I'm just going to stand by while I watch you three do something worthwhile for once?'

'Are you saying that painting Mrs Norris blue is not worthwhile?'

'Not counting the sparkles,' James added.

'Course that was worthwhile.' Lily said. 'I helped. But this- oh, this sounds much better.'

'Trust me, Kermit. This is much, much better.'

'So tell me already.'

'Okay, okay.' James glanced around; checking to make sure no one else was within hearing distance.

'We look ridiculous,' Lily muttered, smearing black paint onto her face.

Sirius's face was already completely covered, and he shrugged at her reflection. 'We all do. But we need to be disguised.'

'Why not wear the invisibility cloak?'

'Er- it's kind of- under repair at the moment.'

'What did you do?' Lily asked, putting her hands on her hips and smudging paint down her robes.

'It er- just got a bit ripped. So you'd be able to see all of our legs, which would not be useful.'

'It'd be better than this,' Lily said, indicating to the mess of black all over the three of them. James had accidentally covered his glasses in paint, and crashed into the bedpost, unable to see where he was going.

Lily sighed and rubbed them clean for him, then peered nervously out the hall, obviously scared one of the sixth years had heard them.

'They could all sleep through hurricanes,' James reassured her.

'Oh, great. Can we go now? It's getting really late.'

Sirius checked the mirror one last time, making sure he was completely black. He glanced at Lily, and realised something, a wide, evil grin spreading across his face. 'Lily, your hair is rather bright, don't you think?'

Lily backed away from him, holding her hair and shaking head. 'No. No way, you are not getting that gunk in my hair.'

'It'll wash out,' James said, catching her from behind.

'No. No- no- ewww, Sirius, stop!'

He was tipping the paint over her head and mixing it into the long tangles of red, which were rapidly turning black.

Lily raced over to the mirror and groaned. Then she turned to look at Sirius and James, who were watching her, pleased with themselves. 'If this doesn't wash out,' she said, fingering her wet hair, 'I will make sure you wake up bald one morning. Okay?'

'Yup. Come on, we're wasting time.'

They left, closing the door shut carefully behind them.

'Are you sure this is it?' Lily whispered.

'Shhh. Course we're sure. How do you think we got the firecrackers under his bed that time?'

'Serpent,' Sirius said quietly, and the wall swung open, revealing a large stone room, which was empty of people.

'Quick, put the fire out,' James said, hurrying towards one staircase on his tiptoes.

Lily waved her wand at the flames impatiently, then ran to catch up with then.

'It's this room,' James whispered, and they stepped into it silently, looking around, prepared to leap out at the first sound of life.

'Okay.' Sirius muttered, stepping over to the end bed. 'Awww…he looks even more ugly when he's asleep. How sweet.'

Lily giggled, covering her mouth to muffle the sound.

'Shhh.' James was rifling through Snape's trunk, searching for something. 'Ah ha! Quick, come on.'

'Just a sec.' Sirius was drawing something with his and on Snape's face. Lily peered through the darkness at it, and saw the word 'loser' becoming darker on their enemies pale face.

Snape sneezed. 'RUN!' Sirius hissed, which he didn't need to do, as both Lily and James had already rushed out the room, down the stairs and out the wall.

Sirius caught up with his friends, who were dancing around in a little circle. 'Party later,' he hissed. 'The monster's awake and angry. It'll only be a moment before he thinks to come after us.'

The three of them dashed off, almost running into Remus and Madame Pomfrey, who were coming back. They hadn't realised it was that late- or rather, that early. The moon must have already gone down. Remus saw them and raised his eyebrows at the paint. He almost started laughing at Lily's hair.

She scowled.

'Er- I'm not feeling very well,' he said, before she could see his friends. It wasn't a lie, he definitely wasn't feeling great. Pomfrey hurried up, not wanting a seventh year- even a skinny one- to collapse on her at six in the morning. She wasn't in the mood.

Lily grinned gratefully at him, and she, Sirius and James raced up to the common room, practically yelling the password at the Fat-Lady. She was obviously surprised, but the portrait swung ope and they fell in, laughing.

'You could hear him screaming!' Lily said gleefully, laughing hysterically.

Sirius and James were laughing too hard to say anything, they just leaned on each other for support and laughed till they cried.


It was the day of the Quidditch Final, and the Gryffindors were all incredibly nervous, but none more so than James Potter, who wasn't sure he could walk down to the Quidditch Pitch, let alone fly. Of course, it was just nerves, as Lily soothingly pointed out, and she shoved some pieces of toast into his mouth -literally.

James choked, and quickly sculled down some pumpkin juice, spluttering all over the table. Lily patted his back, trying to stop herself from laughing, and utterly failing.

The Slytherins were probably even more nervous than the Gryffindors, because they were up against James, plus a fantastic team for Gryffindor all round. The Chasers were the best Gryffindor had had in years, and even Sirius wasn't as ferocious up in the air as Gryffindors beaters. The Keeper barely ever let the other team score a goal. So, all in all, they were pretty happy with the line up. And if they weren't against the Slytherins, they probably wouldn't have had a care in world. But they were and they did, so James was having extreme trouble swallowing his toast -which he hadn't even wanted to eat in the first place.

'James, James, James.' Lily said, though she was on the edge of her seat, not wanting to be in the firing range (or spitting range) of James's pumpkin juice.

'What?' He coughed.

'You really should calm down.'

He glared at her with watery eyes. 'I am calm.'

Lily raised her eyebrows, but chose not to say anything.

'You? You are commentator? How much did you pay McGonagall?'

Sirius looked offended. 'Well, thanks for the support.'

Lily grinned. 'Seriously, did you pay her?'

'No. I just offered.'

'And she said yes?'

'Uh, well, no, not exactly.'

'Now why does that not surprise me?'

'I kind of offered you.'

Lily gaped at him. 'You what?' She said, when she had finally regained the ability to speak.

'I told McGonagall that you'd do it. Hey, we need someone up there, so we can get in to set it up. '

'But why me? I don't even know all the names of the players, apart from James, and I don't think they'd appreciate it if they could only hear what the Gryffindor Seeker was doing for the entire match.'

'You never know,' Sirius said, shrugging. 'They might enjoy it.'

'Can't you just do the commentary? I'll set the thing up.'

Sirius wrinkled his nose. 'But I already said you'd do it.'

'Well…Okay, I have an idea. We just tell McGonagall that I have laryngitis and can't talk very well-'

'What's laryngitis?'

'Don't worry about it. And so we say that you do the commentary and I supervise. That should be okay, right?'

Sirius didn't look convinced, but he nodded, somewhat reluctantly. 'Kay. D'you know where McGonagall is?'

'Yeah, screaming at James. He kind of 'accidentally' dropped some bugs into Snape's breakfast. He choked, and I think she was threatening to take him out the game.'

Sirius's eyes widened, but Lily didn't look particularly worried about it. 'Nah, forget it, Padfoot. She'd never take James out. You know how much she wants Gryffindor to win…lots. And you've seen the reserve Seeker, haven't you?' Lily was talking about Byron Bell, who was a fabulous Chaser but was hopeless at finding the snitch. Sirius shuddered. 'Let's just hope McGonagall's in a good mood then.'

'Why would that be, Mr Black?' Said the professor voice from behind them.

'Er-' they both turned around. 'Well, Lily got Largitinius-'

'Laryngitis,' Lily whispered hoarsely, trying to sound like she couldn't talk.

'Yeah, that. And she can't talk real well. But if I do the commentary'

'God save us,' Lily muttered.

'Then Lily'll supervise. Pleeease?'

Professor McGonagall was looking quite pre-occupied, and she nodded briskly. 'Yes, yes, do whatever you like, Black. Please hurry, the match starts in half an hour.'

Sirius grinned at Lily, and they raced up to the common room to grab their supplies. Then they hurried up to the commentating tower, pushing the box Lily had covered with the invisibility clock inside, puffing with exhaustion.

Awhile later, the teams walked out onto the pitch, and Sirius was yelling into the megaphone, while Lily set up their 'experiment.'

Lily did have to nudge Sirius several times when the Slytherins managed to score a goal, to stop him from getting too carried away, but when a beater tried to knock James off his broom, the crowd heard two people screaming from the Commentators box, and when Lily glanced down at the crowd, she could see McGonagall fighting through the crowd, trying to get up to them, furious with her Head Girl. Lily winced and hurried back to what she was doing before their teacher could do anything.

'And GRYFFINDOR WIN!' Sirius yelled, delighted, and he repeated this several times. 'JAMES POTTER CATCHES THE SNITCH!'

Lily shrieked and jumped around for a moment, and Sirius had to block the door way so she didn't jump out. Well, he was also keeping McGonagall out as well -Lily hadn't quite finished setting up. When she had, Sirius moved away from the door, and Professor McGonagall fell in, her face scarlet with anger.

'You two-' she said breathlessly, too exhausted to say anything else.

'Yes?' Lily said innocently, hiding whatever it was she'd been working on. 'I seem to have recovered…sorry 'bout that little- er- outburst. It was just that, I mean, James could've been killed.' She looked at McGonagall, praying she wasn't in too bad a mood. McGonagall sighed, nodded and left the room, but only after glaring at Sirius, who shrugged and grinned at her, waving goodbye.

Both Lily and Sirius breathed a sigh of relief, then set to work on the finishing touches. Lily had just blown a hole in the ceiling- all part of the plan- when James entered on his broom, grinning, his hair wind-blown from the game.

'Is it ready?' He asked eagerly.

'Yup!' Lily nodded, a smile identical to Sirius's on her face, and James wondered if she was possibly spending too much time with his best friend- she looked almost as evil as Padfoot at the moment.

'Okay. Once you've enlarged them -make sure they're huge- pulley them up, then run. I'll be outside. Got it?'

James and Lily nodded. 'Yeah…I don't have to touch them, do I?' Lily looked disgusted, but neither boy blamed her.

'Nah. Use these,' James handed her a pair of tongs he'd transfigured.

Lily nodded, looking relieved. 'He does wash these, doesn't he?'

James pulled a face, and Sirius left, holding the megaphone. 'Don't got there,' he warned her.

She looked slightly sick, but picked them up with the tongs, sticking her tongue out in disgust.

Sirius raced down onto the Quidditch Pitch, looking up at the sky, waiting for a certain pair of boxers to appear up in the clouds.

'Goodness me!' He yelled into the microphone, grinning. 'Is that a pair of underwear I see up there?'

Half the school's population turned to look, and immediately half the school's population started laughing, pointing up at the pair of bright green boxer shorts waving in the breeze. They were huge, much, much too big for even Hagrid.

Lily and James were already down amongst the crowd, each hysterical. 'And what is the name on them?' He said, his voice magically loudened so that everyone within 200m could hear him. 'Ah, yes, I see! Severus Snape! Mr Snape, what are your undies doing up there?' He asked the question innocently, but was laughing so hard it was rather hard to understand, but most of the school did, and the people who didn't just asked their friends, who were quite happy to enlighten them.

Severus Snape's face was very, very red, and after yelling a few well-chosen words at his Gryffindor enemies, he rushed inside, hoping that plane-tickets to Madagascar weren't too expensive.

Outside, the students were still enjoying the show put on by Sirius and James, who were taking turns with the commentary, and only stopped when Professor McGonagall snatched the megaphone off them, yelling something about detentions for the rest of the year. Lily, James and Sirius were laughing to hard to care, and when James received the Quidditch Cup they just got more excited.


'What a way to spend the last day of the year,' Lily said, looking around at her surroundings.

'At least we made our mark,' James answered, grinning and leaning back in his chair, only to find it couldn't cope and it crashed beneath him.

Lily giggled and helped him up. Sirius looked wistfully out the window. 'You know, it's a good thing our last prank was so good,' he said. 'If it wasn't we'd be up here for no reason.' He grinned, relishing the memory of Snape's face when he saw his underwear waving in the breeze.

Lily sighed. 'But we don't get to go to the feast.'

James and Sirius did look a bit dejected at this, but quickly cheered up. 'Doesn't matter. We told Remus and Jo to bring us back some food. We'll survive. We can party tonight!'

Lily nodded, but didn't look completely convinced. 'It's our last night here,' she said sadly.

'Don't get any ideas,' Sirius warned her. 'I am not watching you and James smooch for the next two hours.'

'I wasn't thinking of doing that,' Lily said absently, and Sirius grimaced, obviously thinking of other things she could be thinking of. Lily slapped him half-heartedly, then grinned. 'Maybe we could- oh, there's nothing to do… McGonagall just had to swipe our wands, didn't she.' Lily said this as a statement, not a question, and put her heads in her hands, looking dejected.

'Aw, cheer-up, Lil. Tomorrow we go home.'

'That is not a cheery thought, Sirius.'

He winced. 'Oh, yeah. Petunia. Hey, you'll be a qualified witch. You can turn her into a slater if you want.'

'Sirius, shut up. I'm feeling bored. Never try to cheer me up when I'm bored, because you're hopeless at it.'

He backed away. 'So sorry, m'lady.'

She glared at him, but was too tired to think of a comeback. 'Just think of the look on Snape's face,' Sirius said, trying one last time.

Lily smiled a little bit, remembering. 'Yeah, it was worth it. Okay, I'll be happy…d'you think they had chicken at the feast?'

'Probably.' James's mouth was watering.


On the ride home, no one could think of a good thing to say. They were all quite sad to be leaving Hogwarts, but no one really wanted to admit it. Lily, James, Sirius, Remus and Jo were all crammed into the same carriage, their baggage behind them and squished wherever it would fit. Lily had a game of chess sticking into her neck, and she was so close to James she might as well have been sitting on top of him.

The train pulled up, and Jo burst into tears. Sirius patted her awkwardly on the shoulder, while James lugged his trunk out into the sunshine, Lily following him.

'So. This is it.'


'You look like you're about to cry.' James said softly, looking her in the eye.

'I am,' Lily whispered, choked up with tears.

James hugged her, and then kissed her softly on the cheek.

Lily grinned and looked at him, tears spilling down her cheeks. 'I'm not sad,' she said.

'Nah, course you're not. You finally get to turn lovely ol' Petunia into a toad.'

Lily laughed, and hugged him again. She said goodbye to Sirius, said goodbye to Jo, said goodbye to Remus and all her other friends that she'd made throughout her seven years.

Then she went through the barrier of Platform 9 and 3/4 for the last time.


Sirius Black, age 39, sat at a desk in an old classroom that wasn't used much any more, where they were holding a meeting with Dumbledore, planning how to attack Lord Voldemort. He glanced around. Remus was watching Professor Binns discuss his plan with drooping eyelids, half-asleep.

Sirius sighed. He could almost imagine James and Lily at this meeting. But he hadn't seen them for 15 years, and would never see them again. He scolded himself for thinking like that and turned his attention back to Binns, who certainly had not improved over the years Sirius hadn't seen him. His plan sounded remarkably like the Goblin War from 1856, almost word for word, in fact.

He looked down at the desk in front of him, reading some of the inscriptions on it, carved in by students who had no doubt been as bored as he was at the moment.

Someone had written a poem.

Do not stand by my grave and cry,

I am not there

I did not die


Sirius snorted with laughter, and earned a reproving look from Arabella Figg, who was sitting in the seat next to him. He mouthed an apology and then went back to the table.

Boring things, like 'I woz ere'

At the bottom of the table, one thing had been etched in much more deeply than the other marking on the table, and this one had obviously been redone over time, with only the last letter of the third word not quite finished. Sirius stared at it for a long time, remembering a lesson quite like the one he was in now, where he had been so bored he hadn't had anything else to do. There, in the bottom corner of the desk, surrounded by a rather crooked love-heart, it said