rhoddlet: (stitching together)
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This is out of order, but [livejournal.com profile] eponis asked for Lily Evans, Dumbledore, grey eyes, the Grey Lady, and a certain line of Shakespeare. And I wanted to oblige while HP was still rattling around in my head.

Seventh year was not the end of Hogwarts for Lily: two years after leaving, she came back. Binns had lost a great-great-grandchild -- odd to think of a ghost as having family, but he married as a young man, and he had been very close with this particular descendant. Death Eaters killed him, though, and Binns was inconsolable. It was also occasionally difficult to be married to James, so when Dumbledore suggested it, Lily came back to Hogwarts. There were, in fact, times when Binns would not put the effort into staying visible. After classes finished for the day and the door was shut, Binns got very transparent. Bit by bit, he would fade, first to pale gray, then to white, then to nothing but dust.

He only returned when it was time to teach again.

So Lily marked and read and prepared notes for the next day's lectures for him, and when the term was over and it looked like Binns would recover, the other ghosts of the castle came to thank her. All of them. From the House ghosts down to the ones that lurked in the lake, filling the spare room where she slept. There were rooftop ghosts on the ceiling, and even Peeves behaved himself. He almost trembled with the effort to keep from shouting or doing something destructive or inappropriate, but the Baron looked at him sternly, though, and Peeves stilled.

It was a solemn occasion, a touching one, and it surprised Lily, therefore, when the Grey Lady came again on the following night.


Marrying James had been easy. Continuing on that way, though, was more difficult: it might have been better if he had less money, so that they both needed to work, so they would have had something to think about besides the deaths of so many they knew. Instead, during their last fight, he shouted that he had reformed for her. He had worked to become Head Boy so that she would be pleased; he changed so much for her. Why did she want him to change more? Why couldn't she be happy with him the way that he was?


They went down the corridor together -- Hogwarts was empty after the students had left, and the Grey Lady was quiet, too. As a result, moonlight fel too loud, and Lily held a trowel. They went through one corridor, turned left at another, through a hall of windows, and finally to a courtyard, where Lily dug around the plant that had been indicated to her. She had never really talked to the Grey Lady, and it was a little odd that they should be out here together.

After a bit of digging, Lily had the feathery-looking plant separated out from the dirt. It was scraggly; there hadn't been a good, soaking rain for two weeks.

"Take it." The Grey Lady sounded like the whisper of leaves, and again, it was strange that they should be out here.

Lily looked at it over the swell of her stomach. She was pregnant -- almost seven and a half months now, more than enough so that it was hard to walk -- and she looked over at the Grey Lady, and her breath caught a little. Now that her eyes had adjusted to the dark, Lily could make out a bit of a ruined wall. And the flower bed here could easily have been part of a chapel of some sort. There was stained glass in one of the windows around the garden.

"Is this where they buried you? Angelica root from a burial ground. It's in Conoroy's Herbal, isn't it? We never learned about it in Herbology, but I remember something about it from Charms -- "

The Grey Lady looked at Lily for a long moment. Her face blurred with emotion; she held for a moment longer, then disappeared.


Dumbledore seemed surprised -- very pleased, but quite surprised. It was late afternoon, but he was the one visiting her this time, and he ran his finger over the leaves. "Angelica root, willingly given from a ghost's grave. Lovely green color. It was the Grey Lady who gave it to you, was it?"

Lily still felt a little dazed, but she nodded. The letter had gone back to James on the morning, but it seemed that Dumbledore had been expecting it. He had not, in fact, been surprised when she came and explained that she could not stay the summer as she had originally planned. He had smiled, asked her if she would like a lemon drop, and then set to admiring the plant.

"You'll have to put it in something silver to finish the trick, of course, but that's powerful protection indeed. Such an honor, too. It's almost exactly the color of your eyes."

"She must be great friends with Professor Binns." Lily's mouth felt a little dry, and her fingers ached. It had been a short letter, particularly compared to the volumes that James had written her, telling her about everything that had happened at the cottage and how much he missed her and how much he regretted what he said. Still, though, it had been hard to write, and now, she was frightened.

"Are James and I in that much danger?"

Dumbledore did not turn to look at her. He was still bent over the plant, examining the greenish blossoms. "And your child, too. It is not only the two of you." Lily put her hand on her stomach, and Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Have you ever heard of the Fidelius Charm, Lily?"


Trees. Cottage. Somewhat past midnight. Slight wind and the smell of smoke, with the door blown open and the windows smashed from inside. One body in the front, and the other in the back with the angelica root, which had been housed in a mostly-silver Quidditch Cup and was now upset from where it stood on the dresser next to the cot.

Red hair. Closed eyes. Leaves that were still green, but blasted around the edges, lying on red hair and scattered around the room. Dirt on the floor, and high and thin, from inside a cot, the wailing of a lonely child.

OK. I admit it. I stole the bit about angelica root as a warding thing from Scarlett. You know. The sequel to Gone With the Wind?

Date: 2007-06-10 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kay-taylor.livejournal.com
Eeeeee. I loved this. Lily! Officially now my favourite HP character. And the Grey Lady was just perfectly written, too. Very poignant.

Date: 2007-06-11 02:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Hurray! You're my official touchstone for Marauder-ness, so I'm doubly glad this worked for you.

Date: 2007-06-10 10:11 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Oh god, this is stunning. I'd continue praising you, but my brain isn't providing enough superlatives.

James/Lily not being a fairytale! Binns given recognisably human attributes, and being sad and fading as a result! The Grey Lady and her grave! You have no idea how happy I am now. If I asked very, very nicely, would you help me kidnap JK Rowling, so you can rewrite the schlocky horror that Deathly Hallows will no doubt otherwise become?

Date: 2007-06-11 02:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Nah. It's probably too late for all of us. We're doomed. Dooooooooomed!

Or something like that. XD Thanks for the comment.

Date: 2007-06-18 01:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eponis.livejournal.com
I'm sorry it took me so long to respond to this, but I'm so incredibly honored by this story. It's just gorgeous. I adore the way you write, your flowing prose and sharp character insights. I love that you went and made James and Lily's relationship something that wasn't perfect and ideal, and I love that Dumbledore is grave and human and tender, and I love this glimpse into the ghosts of Hogwarts. I'm reccing this in my journal, of course, and I want to thank you so much for such a gorgeous story.

Date: 2007-06-26 05:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Actually, I ought to thank you for the chance to write this. It was a lovely prompt when you gave it to me all those years ago, and it was such a pleasure figuring out what to do and where to site things and so on. :D I'm glad you were even interested in it after so long.

Date: 2007-06-24 01:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nolivingman.livejournal.com
I love that Lily and James didn't have a perfect marriage. They married young, I think, and that can be tough. And let's face it - James was kind of a jerk from all the hints we've gotten.

And I love your Dumbledore in all his creepy-ish sneaky glory. He's often presented as twinkly-eyed and perfect, but I find him kind of scary.

Date: 2007-06-26 05:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rhoddlet.livejournal.com
Dumbledore is just straight up interesting. I'm convinced that by HBP, we're supposed to be questioning the saintly headmaster bit and pushing at the idea that Dumbledore should be more transparent, should be more open with, at the very least, Harry.

And yeah. I can't imagine a marriage that young, under those conditions, would have been smooth sailing.

Thanks enormously for reading this. :D

Date: 2009-05-13 07:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bloodrebel333.livejournal.com
Grey Lady. :)))


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