25 July: How Gryffindor girls unwind Who: Florinda McGonagall and Lily Potter What: Girls' night in, amidst all the injury, betrayal and Horcruxes When: Evening of 25th July Where: Potter residence Warnings: None. (References to various happenings, and girls being tipsy and cheeky.)
James had been waiting with Harry near the front door when Florrie arrived. She gave him a hug and Harry a kiss, and saw them out and locked the door behind them--Harry was anxious to go, and it wouldn't do to disappoint an anxious toddler--and took herself and the bottles of wine out to the back stoop where Lily was waiting.
"James and Harry are on their way. I think they might be going to see Sirius and Remus because you know they're Harry's favourites. And I brought the wine, as promised. I've talked to Remus, so you can assume I know things, though obviously there are things I won't talk about. But you're going to help me with some of it if you want. Also can I just butt all their heads together? Because all three of them are idiots and Peter is--" Florrie scrambled for a word as she settled in and ended up with "--worse."
The twist of Lily's mouth at that last was far less bitter and angry than it would have been a day or two ago, but still sharper than just amusement at the understatement. "Hello to you too." She stood up from the stoop, which had become a favoured place for sitting and thinking her way through this. "So good to see you," Lily added, with a smile, and pulled Florrie into a hug mindful of her burdens. "Let me get some glasses." But she paused on her way back inside and added, carefully, "I am very glad Remus shared all that with you. Even if we never talk about any of it, I'm really glad you know."
"We're going to need to strategise about some things. But not tonight. We're off duty," Florrie reminded Lily. Setting the wine down carefully, she settled herself down onto the stoop with somewhat less care, since she wasn't made of glass and wasn't worried about spilling her contents. By the time Lily returned with the glasses, Florrie had one of the bottles open and ready to pour. "I've also got some chocolate in my pockets. Not medicinal grade. Something with a little more taste to it than that."
"You," Lily declared, holding out the glasses to be filled, "are my favourite Mediwitch." And she'd been having plenty of opportunity to rate a variety of others since their explosive antics at St Mungos, though thankfully Lily had now been declared entirely fit to... well, whatever. Drink wine with her best friend on a leafy summer's evening, certainly. "Here's to being off duty," she proposed as toast, though she wondered if it were easier said than achieved. She could leave the various books she'd been studying recently inside, but the worries and considerations were harder to shut away. "How're you, anyway?"
Florrie dug into her pocket and came out with some flavoured chocolates from South America. Merc had a friend down there and he'd brought back some treates from a recent match. She handed one of the bars to Lily as soon as Lily had finished pouring. "Recovered from everything physically but--and I hope I don't lose my Gryffindor credentials for this--still a bit in shock about all of it. The terrifying Death Eater trying to kill you, Mulciber turning out to be one himself--which, now we know more about that, it explains everything, doesn't it?--and then the collapsing floor. And Mum and Merc have been hovering. If they could lock me up in Scotland, I think they would." It was the closest Florrie had been to the action, and she couldn't even explain how it had started to her mother, who had no idea about her children's involvement in vigilante warfare.
"How are you? And how are James and Harry handling everything?"
"Harry's very concerned to make sure that Mummy's better. And James might lock me up here," Lily said, amused, though then admitted, more seriously, "I might let him. That was--" She took a breath, and a pull at her wine, before finishing with, "Far too close."
"Yeah," Florrie agreed. "That was too close. And--we're both targets now." She raised her glass. "Here's to narking off Bellatrix Lestrange more thoroughly than Sirius could manage."
A bubble of laughter burst out of Lily, loud in the warm dusk and very welcome. She was so glad to finally be catching up with Florrie, though also glad she'd waited until she could laugh; she'd been wound far too tight for a few days there.
Now Lily tinked her glass daintily against Florrie's and said, "Well, you know, if you want something done properly..." She left the rest unspoken, in favour of drinking to the sentiment. "This is very nice," she declared, reaching for the bottle to consider the label, and then, just as conversationally, added, "I've just really had it with them destroying things of mine. I'd rather like to return the favour."
"Mmm. Payback's a bitch and so are we." Florrie raised her glass again and had another sip. "Do we have a plan yet?"
"Nothing like it," Lily said--more like confirmed--with a laugh. "We have a whole lot of possibilities? We have some wild ideas? We have heaps of research and extrapolations? We're playing to our strengths, basically." Levity aside, she considered, and added, "We might be getting there. A lot depends on the whole dragonfire nonsense."
"Now that Merc's back in Britain we should be able to get on with that. We've missed the opportunity for doing it at Solstice but do you think gathering at Lammas would be useful?" Florrie drummed her fingers along the edges of her wineglass. Potioneering and alchemy were not her strengths.
Lily's gaze went unfocused as she considered the ins and outs of that. "Miiiight be slightly less effective," she hazarded. "Then again it's dragonfire, what's ninety-five percent of extremely fucking effective? Also--" she pointed around her wineglass. "Harvest festival. Might actually be more effective. Who even knows? We're off the edge of the map with this."
Florrie shrugged. "The question is whether I should put off if I can, and if we don't know, I'll have to say as much. This is all out of my experience as well. I've got a ward from one of the Prewetts and I reckon that's what it's about. And who knows what he's thinking?" She thought about that and amended, "Either one of them. Which reminds me, I know this is a bit of telling tales out of school, but apparently Sirius and Remus are a Thing now? What have you heard?"
Lily's smile was immediate, wide and brimming with fond delight, which probably negated any need for confirmation. Regardless, when she swallowed her gulp of wine, she declared, "I am so pleased for them. They both deserve someone who properly appreciates them." Her grin dimmed for a flickering moment, until she forced it back and gave it a wicked edge as she added, "And a bit of fun."
That had worked better than expected. "Good heavens, yes. Someone deserves a little happiness and might as well be those two. I should probably give them safe sex leaflets but I don't think I can bring myself to even so." Which started Florrie into a gale of giggles at the idea of Remus' response to being handed a stack of sex-related reading. "Remus might die!"
"But Sirius would offer constructive criticism," Lily pointed out, before succumbing to laughter herself. "Oh Merlin," she wheezed, sagging on the step as she got herself back under control. "Honestly, I wasn't sure I'd ever see the day Sirius Black had a proper and committed relationship." She sat up a little straighter, pointing a finger at nothing in particular. "Didn't I say once, back at school, that he'd only get married if he knocked some girl up?" Not her most charitable pronouncement, but Sirius had not been doing his best to provoke her charity at times that year.
"You did," Florrie agreed, still laughing. "But I wouldn't give him any pamphlets. You know anything 'safe' is a dare not to do it. If you told him he was having safe sex the pride of the House of Black might not rise to the occasion."
Lily spluttered into her wine--which she should have known better than to try drinking again. "Oh Merlin," she repeated, swiping at her chin. "Then please don't. Both of them would be unbearable." The idea of a twitchy Remus trying to ask her advice on such a scenario was both hilarious and horrifying; Lily chose self-medication over thinking about it further. "Let him keep thinking that safe sex is not doing it in a moving vehicle."
Considering that there were lycanthropy precautions involved, Florrie was fairly certain she couldn't, but she didn't have to ruin the mood by going into that. So instead she nodded, the last of her laughter, which Lily's mishap with her drink had only prolonged, fading off. "Anyroad, we've spent more time thinking about their sexual life than I ever wanted to consider. Don't tell James."
Lily smirked. "James puts his hands over his ears and sings Baa Baa Black Sheep at the top of his lungs if I so much as allude to the fact they're doing it. Harry loves it. You're right though, enough about them." She sipped at her wine again, and wrinkled her nose. "Problem is, there is basically nothing else interesting in my entire life. All I've been doing is lounging about and reading unpleasant or inaccurate books about horcruxes and related nonsense. There's some weird things in there, but it's not exactly riveting conversation."
"I don't want any gossip about dead Dark wizards. Or undead ones." Florrie made a face in Lily's general direction about the very idea. "So I reckon the question is, was there anything useful in there or are you making yourself cross-eyed for nowt?"
"Florinda McGonagall," Lily stated, in her best mock-stern librarian voice, "no knowledge is ever wasted." Then she grinned, and said more normally, "Don't know about useful, though. There are so many wild theories and impossible suggestions about things that could destroy a horcrux, but where are we likely to get hold of basilisk venom? Real stuff, I mean, not the back-alley nonsense."
With a sigh, she propped elbow on knee and chin on hand. "Reading hasn't been very conclusive on dragonfire either. A lot of disagreement on whether it's theoretically possible, but since it mostly revolves around natural application, I don't even know if it applies to what we have in mind." A little laugh, and she added, "Though that reminds me, there was mention in one of the books of alkahest which--I don't know if you've heard of it, it's sort of a potioneer's myth, an elixir that can dissolve anything. No one's ever made it though, partly because--" She gave a ta-da flourish only slightly impeded by her wine glass. "The alleged recipes involve dragonfire."
Florrie started giggling again. "Of course it does," she said between gasps of laughter. "All roads lead through the Hebrides. Do you want to come when I talk to the Prewetts? Or Prewett, I don't remember which?"
"Well, is it the punny one or the snarky one--no, wait, that doesn't help." Lily grinned and reached for the wine bottle to refill them both. "Yes, sure, let's. This seems to be what I'm doing with my time now, and we both know I'll get snippy if I haven't enough to do."
“We can ward them. Later, like tomorrow. Because tonight is for wine and chocolates and maybe some work gossip.” Florrie raised her glass to the idea of a night of leisure.