Chapter 25

Ines was not unfamiliar with the Floo network and went through it with ease. She bid goodbye to the Potters, and Sirius and was off to the Cokeworth tavern. Stepping out of the fireplace she was greeted with many men all staring her up and down, she guessed it wasn't often that an unaccompanied young girl made her way through their fireplace. Lily had given her directions to her home from the tavern which she followed with some difficulty, navigation was not her forte. She reached a very uniform looking road named High Street, walked down past 6 houses to find 17 Willis Street. Lily's home. She walked up the drive, past the perfectly manicured lawn, and onto the porch on which she knocked on the door. After a few moments, she heard some bustling from behind the door.

The door opened to reveal not Lily, but who Ines could only assume was Petunia. Ines had heard many rotten things about Lily's older sister and her appearance held true to Ines' image of her. Petunia was thin and blonde and had nearly twice the usual amount of neck, the opposite of Lily. She peered down at her with disgust, "Are you one of Lily's freak friends? Like the snake boy?". Ines didn't know how to answer and stuttered profusely. She assumed Petunia meant Snape, and as much as she disliked him was shocked at the amount of hate in her voice. Petunia, not wanting to wait for an answer stalked off down the hall, revealing Lily sprinting down the stairs yelling at Petunia as she went "Tuney leave her be! Go away!". Petunia stalked off, remarking something about a man named Vernon and turned into the kitchen.

Lily reached the doorway and the girls embraced jovially. Ines had missed Lily so dearly that she nearly cried at the sight of her, pulling out of their hug she noticed Lily almost doing the same. Ines looked around her home in awe, and Lily followed her gaze. She had never been in a muggle home before, she hadn't even spoken to one before she came to Hogwarts. She had believed her parent's ideals for only a little, and even then she wasn't so sure of them. Going to Hogwarts changed just about everything about her, including her viewpoint towards non-pureblood witches and wizards.

Lily dragged her up to her bedroom and Ines was greeted with the most perfect physical representation of who Lily was. Light flooded her senses; for a split second Ines, blinking in its brilliance, as though she would go blind. Then she blinked again, and the room itself was a pale blue: red roses climbing the walls, a white and blue canopy- of course, a canopy- matching the wadded silk bedspread, braided rugs strewn across the bare wooden floorboards. The wall behind her desk, covered in papers, was filled entirely with a bookshelf. Each shelf practically bursting at the seams with the books, both magic, and muggle.

She had many pictures, some moving some not. There was plenty of her family, most of them from many years ago. Ines spotted herself in some of them. There was muggle one of her after her second year, Mrs. Evans had brought a camera to the platform to get a picture of Lily with her friends. When her parents saw that go down, she was confined to her room for the first month of summer, not that she really minded. There was a magic one of the day Ines and her had gone to Diagon Allet for the first time together. Ines sat across from Lily, giggling into her steaming cup of butterbeer with its foam lining her upper lip. There was one that Ines had never thought she would see again, James had asked Sirius to take a photo of him and Lily as he surprised her. Lily was furious, not only because of the photo but the fact that James had scared her so much she spilled her inkwell. When the photo had developed she snatched it from Sirius and Ines had always assumed that she had burnt it or thrown it out, but it was tucked into a space on her desk.

They sat on her bed, just as they would have back at Hogwarts and spoke for hours. Lily told her that her parents were both working and that she would see them later, and apologized for Petunia. Ines, knowing all about hating siblings, laughed it off. Around late afternoon, Lily's parents had come home. When Ines went down to see them Mr. and Mrs. Evans greeting was cut off by the sound of Petunia's yelling. "Agh! That blasted motorbike". She was peering out the window, her yells proceeded a loud groaning sound. Ines whispered, "What's a motorbike?". Mr. and Mrs. Evans had heard and looked to Lily in confusion. They knew that the girl she told them was visiting was a witch like Lily, but assumed she would know about their lives. "Mum, Dad, This is Ines as you remember," She looked to Ines awkwardly, wishing she wouldn't have to explain "She comes from a wizarding family, so, she only knows of magic things.". Mr. and Mrs. Evans nodded in understanding, sparing slightly confused looks. "So, what is it that your parents do?".

Lily's head snapped, ready to defend her from the question. But Ines didn't give her the chance and took it gracefully, "My father works in the banks and my mother manages our estate.". Ines really was not in the mood to explain her father's role in the Goblin Liaison office and her mother doing absolutely nothing but gossiping with other pureblood mothers for a living and kept it to that. The Evans accepted her answer, and Ines assumed the confusion was due to the fact that they had expected a job of much more excitement and thrill. After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Ines and Lily headed into her backyard and sat in the garden among the flowers. Petunia had taken to working in the garden constantly and it was perfectly organized and manicured so the girls did their best not the muck any of it up. They spoke a bit about the expected date of their O.W.L results before the found themselves in a still silence, they both had the same thought on their mind. Thinking of their exams brought them back to thinking of the boys and Severus, and what they had done.

"Is living with the boys strange at all? Considering what happened.". She asked, turning over from on her back to face Ines. "Very, we haven't spoken much, save for a few polite conversations. Running into each other in the halls, grabbing food. There's just so much tension and awkwardness I wish I could say something more to them but I don't know how especially considering how long I've ignored them. They're very sorry, I know it, they feel horrible.". Lily turned away, not in anger or indifference but to think. "I know you're living with them and all, but I think I want to decide that for myself when I see them.". Ines nodded, "I respect that, makes sense.".

It was getting darker out, the sun had fallen behind the trees and the lights in the surrounding homes. Ines bid Lily and her family, save for Petunia, goodbye as she wanted at least some sight on her way back to the pub. Despite knowing they would see each other in less than a week Lily and Ines had a long goodbye, watched adoringly by Mr. and Mrs. Evans. She walked back to the pub and ignored all the staring men as she walked into the fireplace and called for the Potter's house. She was greeted by James and Sirius sitting on the couch just as they had been when she left. Except without a chessboard between them, there sat Euphemia. Sirius stood when she arrived, smiling brightly, before realizing the eagerness in his actions and sitting back down. It was silent for only a moment as they all looked at Sirius. "How's my darling, Lily?" James asked softly, Ines grinned "She's good, patiently awaiting her exam results.". She stepped out of the fireplace and they all watched her. She whispered 'goodnight' before walking down the hall, up the stairs, and into her room. More content than she had been in days.