13 August: Plans and pickled onions Who: Lily and Remus What: Exchanging recent news and considering next steps When: 13th August Where: At the Potter house Warnings: They eat for the entire log; maybe don't read while hungry? :D
If the afternoon snack Lily had laid out looked more like a ploughman's lunch for three people, well, the full was coming up, she knew her guest well, and Lily was hungry too. With something fascinating to concentrate on--and without work-hour regularity to keep her to routine--she was slipping into poor habits on her own eating, and she'd missed lunch. Sort of. Anyway, the ham was delicious.
She grabbed another slice of it off the platter, along with some more bread and cheese, and finished up telling Remus about her coffee date with Severus. "So yes, that all went about as well as I could possibly have hoped. I don't really know if I can trust him, of course, but…" She shrugged. She didn't imagine that she was the only one taking a new approach to trust in a post-Peter world.
“Funny how after everything, he’s proving to be more trustworthy...er helpful?” Peter was the one who told. Wormtail the traitor, and despite Remus nearly killing him, Severus kept his silence. And not only that, proved to be helpful on more than one occasion. “Or maybe it’s just the academic pursuit around potions...”
Remus reached forward to pull together another makeshift sandwich with more meat than the cheese. There was a small comfort in seeing the stupidly fancy u-r-s poke out from the edge of his jumper. “Not like we have many other options. And if gets us a way to destroy these things? Worth it.”
"Exactly." Lily gestured with a pickle for emphasis. "And we manage the risk. Reduce the chances, reduce the consequences." Sensible things like that. Which didn't change the way she really hoped that all of the sensible things would be unnecessary. That this would be the first step in a path away from who Severus had been toward someone new. Someone she could be friends with again, perhaps.
Hope for the best. Plan for the worst.
"Anyway." Lily wrapped the pickle in ham and took a bite. "How are you doing?"
Remus had none too gracefully shoved the whole half sandwich into his mouth while Lily spoke. He never could eat enough. And at least with present company, he tried to remember his manners. Just a little. “Feel like I’m ‘bout to burst out of my skin. And just trying to keep things together, but…” Remus paused, running a hand through his hair. “I am worried about Thursday and too many other things.” Okay. One other thing really. “Sirius is going to have to go back to Grimmauld.”
"Oh." Lily pulled a face, kneejerk and uncensored, all her displeasure and regret about Sirius's family and childhood circumstances--and about him having to spend even one more moment thinking about or dealing with them--visible for a moment. "Must he really? Couldn't someone else--well, I suppose not." Whatever the family Black might theoretically have set up against their absent heir would pale in comparison to whatever they had as a standing defense against random interlopers, especially such as her. Sirius could, potentially, rely on the house to recognise him as what he was. Unfortunately. "Horrible idea," she added, the words the unnecessary tip of an iceberg. "What's the occasion?"
“The Prewetts think there might be a horcrux there.” Remus didn’t like the answer or ask, but he understood the necessity. “Which might be helpful to get our hands one if your mad potioneering works out.” He paused, toying through which truths were his to tell or keep. “Padfoot thinks it might be related to his brother.” That made it worse. Family was messy, the Black brothers none the better. “At least he told me, might even let someone help him.”
Lily's frown deepened with every addition. "Definitely better in our hands than theirs, even if we can't destroy them." Though if it were related to Regulus, why was it still at Grimmauld when he hadn't been for a long time now. Or had he? Merlin, Lily didn't even know what she was thinking, except that there were few things that she would put past the Black family.
She shook her head; that didn't matter, practicalities did. "I guess blood might matter," Lily said, and winced a little. "But James could help."
“I suggested the same.” The Lupin family was so far removed from the inner workings of pureblood culture, they might as well be muggles. Not that it mattered much at this point. There would be no great Lupin line and that was more than okay. “This was after I, ever so kindly, suggested to lick Walburga Black. He found it far more funny than he let on.”
Lily burst out laughing and nearly choked on a piece of cheese; she clapped a hand over her mouth, only removing it once it was safe to say, "Lucky escape there, she probably tastes terrible." She reached for the knife to cut more of the ham--and didn't bother being too dainty with the slices in this company. "How are you two doing, anyway?" she asked, almost too casually to actually be casual.
“I’ve probably eaten worse.” Remus certainly could put away his fair share and then some. “But we’re good. Glad for the distraction, the support.” Remus paused to take another bite. “Sirius made a big fuss about a proper first date and it was … well, just about what you’d expect from us.” All in the wrong order, anything but the tradition, but still good.
That was adorable, and Lily's smile was weighted with entirely appropriate levels of fond delight. "Well, you may recall my first date with James ended with me giving him detention, so you can only improve from there, right?" Arguably, their first proper date hadn't been until seventh year and hadn't involved any detentions at all, but why let the truth get in the way of a good story? "I'm so happy for both of you," she declared lightly, and carried right on into, "Did you want more of these pickled onions? I think I have another jar." Lily was really enjoying vinegary things right now.
“Only if you need an excuse to open the second jar.” He didn’t mind the pickled onions, they just weren’t top of his food cravings right now. “But it was good. We both needed the break, the reset and the reminder.” And really, to just do the sorts of things you were supposed to do at twenty-one. “Because Peter still hurts, and there are about a dozen other things in way to destroying these horcruxes.”
"I'm quite certain acquiring and destroying relics of a vicious evil bastard is everyone's idea of a magnificent second date," Lily declared, with less sarcasm than might have been expected. She smiled. "Or maybe it's just that if I had to be stuck in this situation, I'm glad I'm stuck with you lot."
She'd mostly decided against more pickled onions--there really wasn't any need, so she should probably restrain herself--but once she started seriously thinking about those dozen other things still between them and the horcruxes, her body just got up and fetched the new jar from the pantry. "I know there are still so many obstacles, but I can't help feeling a bit optimistic. They're losing strength. Not just Bellatrix fleeing--" If she really had; count no chickens that might still try to hex your head off. "--but Severus being willing to risk working with us. I think we can do this."
Remus looked down at the table. He wanted to be optimistic, but it was really hard some days. Especially when Peter’s knife still twisted just a little deeper. “Sod that. We are doing this. Finishing it once and for all, one way or the other.” Greyback was dead. That was huge. And yes, Remus was tired, but he was going to fight until he had nothing left if that’s what it took.
Lily nodded, firm and satisfied. Yes. Yes they were. "You lads help Sirius get a horcrux, then. And I'll see about setting up a secret lab to figure out how to melt the things down." Her smile curved just a little wicked. "I've always wanted a secret lab." Though it wasn't going to be that secret once Moody and the Prewetts and who know else had been over it fine-tuning security. Also it might well wind up having a playpen in one corner, if James was going to be busy with other things. But still.
“Two actually.” Remus hadn’t forgotten the second one. It just seemed less urgent to resolve. “There is another that is safe, hidden, at the school.” And no one knew the school better than them. Well, Peter, but he didn’t have access or the map. “Which also, if you need anything for your secret lab, Sprout has given me near free run of the Hogwarts greenhouses.”
Horcruxes at Hogwarts was interesting to Lily, but Remus was right: no one had a better grasp on the myriad mysteries of that place than the boys. Free run of the greenhouses, on the other hand, made her eyes light up. "Oh. Yes please. I'd been trying to figure out ways to spread out our acquisitions, make sure we weren't too noticeable, but for bulk and certain esoteric ingredients, Hogwarts is going to be ideal. I'll give you a list, though it's just going to be a for-starters. Half the struggle is going to be figuring out what we actually need."
Remus was now seeing how high he could stack little meat slices before the the sandwich toppled. “Let me know what you need, I’ll see what I can manage. Or what Sprout won’t miss.” He would probably owe her a few weekends of manual labor in exchange, but he didn’t really mind. It was honest work.
"Grand." Lily popped one last pickled onion in her mouth and screwed the lid back on the new jar. "Let me know if you need a hand with anything. I'm at liberty aside from this project, and if I do nothing but look at the inside of a cauldron or a book, I'm going to go spare."
“Get me the list on the other side of the moon, and we’ll go from there.” Remus didn’t know what sort of mood that would bring, but he would at least feel a clearer head to go looting around the greenhouses. For now, he was quite content to shove as much food as possible into his mouth.