Lily laughed. 'Don't you mean "how large
I look", Professor?' She stepped back, allowing him to pass through to
the sitting room. 'It's not much cooler in here but at least it's out
of the sun,' she said. Her forehead was shining with perspiration. 'If
this is how the summer's starting I can't bear to think how much hotter
it will get.'
Dumbledore laid a small case on one end of the
coffee table as Lily re-cast the cooling charm she had set earlier. It
was having trouble coping with the humidity.
'Take a seat, Professor. Would you like a cool drink?'
would be sterling, my dear, but allow me to fetch it.' Dumbledore moved
into the kitchen as Lily eased herself down onto the lounge.
pulled a curious-looking container out of the fridge; a metallic
cylinder, blue in colour and icy to touch. 'Hmm, "Lemonade",' he read,
then removed a second like it and took them to the doorway, holding
them up for Lily to see.
'Does one need a wand to access the liquid?'
Lily found herself laughing at her dear old mentor. 'Not at all,
Professor. You just pull back that ring tab and drink from the can. Or
you can pour it into a glass if you prefer.' She started to rise from
the lounge until he quickly re-assured her.
'No, no, from the can will be fine.'
full of sugar,' said Lily sheepishly. 'It'll probably make the baby
hyperactive, but I just can't stomach pumpkin juice these days. Even
the smell turns me right off.'
'Yes, I remember well the
eccentricities of expectant mothers. An old friend of mine couldn't
bear the sight or smell of shaving cream during her gestation, so her
poor husband was obliged to grow a beard. They were Muggles, you see;
not able to use a shaving charm.'
Lily leaned back and put her
feet up on the coffee table to ease her ankles. They drank in silence
for a few minutes, appreciative of the chance to stop moving in the
'Oh!' Lily's hand jumped to her stomach. 'That
was a strong one. Have you felt a baby kick, Professor? Come and feel
this one's obviously not lethargic from the heat!' She reached for his
hand and guided it to the place where her baby was kicking. Dumbledore
rested his palm there and smiled when he felt a forceful push. Some
things were more magical than magic.
'I'm sorry James isn't
back yet. He must have been waylaid at Sirius's, going over the latest
disappearances. But he knew you were coming can we start without him
or should we wait?'
'We can start on Order business, by all
means, but I will need both of you for the matter that specifically
brought me here today.' Dumbledore banished his empty can to the
kitchen and moved around to sit in the chair opposite. Once settled he
said, 'I have an assignment for you, Lily.'
'Oh,' her interest
was peaked. 'I don't know how much I'll be able to help in the next
couple of weeks ' she gestured helplessly towards her stomach. 'And
after that ?'
'Oh no, this task's not for a couple of months yet. But some preparation would assist you in making a success of it.'
'Oh, ok. But you know I won't do anything dangerous now.'
my dear, your safety and your baby's is of the utmost concern. This
assignment will be quite safe, but it may prove difficult nonetheless.
As you know, Voldemort has so far kept his activities out of the notice
of the Muggle world, particularly from the attention of the Government
and its law enforcement bodies. However, there is no guarantee he will
continue to do so. I very much fear there will come a point, probably
before the end of the year, when he will want to attract their
attention rather than divert it.'
'You mean he'll start blackmailing them? Like a terrorist?'
that's precisely what I'm afraid of. And so far, though the
Government's aware of troubles in the wizarding world, it has no idea
of the threat Voldemort and his Death Eaters pose to the wider society.
The Ministry has decided to open talks with the Prime Minister.
of course, wanted to do it by herself but, fortunately for us, her
Ministerial Muggle Liaison convinced her to take a small team.'
looked thoughtful. 'We're lucky to have Dearborn there. Without him so
close to the Minister, the Order would have a hard time achieving
anything against You-Know-Who.' She was pensive for a few moments and
all was silent. Outside even the crickets were having a rest from the
heat of the day.
Something occurred to Lily. 'But there's
recently been an election. Won't the new Prime Minister need to be
briefed from scratch? I mean, does she even know about us the
'Ah, here's where I turn to you. Dearborn
put your name forward to be part of the liaison team.' Dumbledore
chuckled, 'He'll find himself outnumbered at this meeting: the Prime
Minister is a most formidable woman, as is Millicent Bagnold. And
you're an ideal person to be included, being a former Head Girl with
excellent NEWTs, and yourself a formidable woman,' Dumbledore's eyes
twinkled. 'But it's your Muggle heritage that Bagnold needs in order to
make a success of this meeting.'
He paused before adding,
'Of course, your connection with the Order is completely secret;
Bagnold has no idea that you'll be working on our behalf.'
'Of course. So would it just be a matter of attending the meetings? Do you need me to do any briefing? Or investigating?'
precise details aren't yet decided. I daresay Bagnold and Dearborn will
meet with you, probably several times, before the three of you make
contact with Downing Street. What I most want you to focus on, when the
time comes, is understanding Mrs Thatcher as best you can: what her
response is not her political response, but her personal and Prime
Ministerial response firstly to the existence of our world, and
secondly to the threat of Voldemort. Will she be a help or hindrance?
We need to know who our friends are.
'Dearborn will be getting
information about the security and intelligence resources that we might
be able to share with the Muggles, and Bagnold will no doubt talk about
the need for discretion and keeping up the appearance of order. No need
to worry too much about her. You and Dearborn together will be able to
accomplish everything we need from this liaison.
'As well as
Mrs Thatcher herself, you will also need to assess the risk to the
royal family. The Prime Minister will be most concerned about that,
too. So use your best investigative skills, Lily, and find out what
sort of security is in place in the event of any magical threats in
The business-like mood was suddenly disrupted by a crack.
'Lily, my love, will you marry me?'
'James! Don't be absurd. And don't Apparate onto the coffee table. We have a guest.'
I know. And I'm sure Professor Dumbledore himself has made many foolish
proclamations of love over the years, haven't you, sir?' James winked
at him, as if to prove to Lily he had in no way behaved
inappropriately. 'Here, Sweetheart,' he stepped off the table and bent
down to kiss her tummy, 'a present from Peter.' He handed her a bag of
jelly-beans and flung out his wand. 'Accio bowl.'
Lily sat up eagerly. 'White ones, my favourite. Dear Peter. Always remembers.'
the time Lily had poured the jelly-beans into the bowl and offered some
to Dumbledore, James had banished the empty bag and plopped himself
next to Lily on the lounge.
'Sorry I'm late, Professor. We
didn't make much headway Anyway, why did you want to see us? Is there
news? Has there been a breakthrough?'
'I suppose one could say
there has been a breakthrough of sorts.' Dumbledore hesitated and
took another jelly-bean. 'What I'm going to discuss with you must
remain completely confidential. And James, I mean completely. There
must only be the three of us here and three certain others, whom I will
reveal to you shortly, who know what I am about to show you. It is
imperative that you do not discuss this with anyone. Are you both clear about that?' Dumbledore fixed a piercing stare on the young man opposite him. 'James?'
James and Lily looked at one another. Suddenly, the room felt a little cooler and the summer silence seemed a little thicker.
'Uh, is it necessary for us to know, then?' James asked uncertainly. 'I mean, if it's so confidential, why do we need to know about it?'
'You're clear that this must go no further?' Dumbledore insisted with a stare until the Potters nodded in agreement.
Well, it's best I show you rather than tell you. Do have a jelly-bean
while I prepare.' Dumbledore retrieved his case and drew out a Pensieve
which he placed on the coffee table between them. He was just moving
his wand to his temple when James reached across to still his arm.
'Wait. What are you going to show us? Why can't you talk about it?'
'Oh, we will certainly talk about it, once we've seen this.'
'Professor,' interrupted Lily, 'you said there'd been a sort of breakthrough will this help us defeat the Dark Lord?'
'It certainly seems that way, Lily. But prophecies, as you well know, are not the most reliable tools.'
James snorted as he fell back against the couch. 'Oh, please.'
'James! This is serious. I'm sorry, Professor. Go on.'
at all. I completely understand your reaction; on most occasions I
would readily concur. However, drawing on a somewhat longer life than
either of you, my experience tells me that this is a genuine occurrence
of foresight.' Once again he moved is wand to his temple. 'If you'll
allow me '
As Dumbledore extracted his memory, James
absent-mindedly offered the bowl of jelly-beans to Lily and then helped
himself to a handful. The two of them were still chewing when
Dumbledore activated the Pensieve.
The three leant forward as a figure rose from the bowl and chanted a prophecy in a harsh, gravelly voice.
the figure had returned to the swirling mists in the bowl, the three
slowly leant back into their chairs. Dumbledore watched his two young
friends carefully for their reaction: James was looking perplexed but
Lily had paled considerably which, combined with the light sheen of
sweat on her face, gave her a feverish look. Dumbledore quickly
conjured a cool, wet face-cloth. She took it gratefully and wiped her
'What has that got to do with us?' James was looking
between Dumbledore and Lily. He was holding Lily's hand, though he had
no recollection of picking it up. 'I mean, that's good news isn't it?
Someone's coming who's powerful enough to kill You-Know-Who isn't
'James,' Lily said with exasperation, 'it means a baby's going to be born very soon who is going to be marked by him
in some way, which is horrible enough in itself. And,' she began
ticking off each point on her fingers, 'while this person may grow up
with special powers, one of them will kill the other. And we'll
probably have to wait twenty or more years for this to happen. And it
doesn't definitely say that this person will win. And,' her tally of
points forgotten, she swallowed before whispering, 'it could be my
'What?! That's rot, Lily! Our baby's not due till
August, and anyway, we've only defied him twice that fight in
Liverpool, and the time we both went to rescue Dorcas. What does that
mean, anyway thrice defied? Our whole life is one big
defiance.' Thought marked a crease in his forehead. 'Could it mean
being members of the Order? Does it mean people who have attacked him or escaped
from him?' He looked to Dumbledore for an answer but none was
forthcoming. Dumbledore merely held out the jelly-bean bowl. Lily
grabbed a handful and started popping them into her mouth, one by one.
'Who else knows about this, Professor?' James asked. 'You said only six people are allowed to know.'
three of us, obviously. The prophet herself no, you don't need to
know her name, safer for all concerned and the other couple to whom
this prophecy may refer.'
James sucked in a breath and
whispered, 'the Longbottoms.' He ran a hand through his hair. 'It fits
them much better than it fits us.' But then a thought struck him, 'Do
they need protection? Does You-Know-Who know about this?'
looked down at his hands as though carefully inspecting his age spots
for meaningful patterns. 'Ah. Well, there's the difficulty. I very much
regret that the first part of the prophecy was overheard by a spy. So
we must assume Voldemort knows about a child being born this month to
parents who have defied him three times. Beyond that he knows nothing,
as the spy was discovered and evicted before any more was revealed.'
Lily began, 'if it turns out to be us or Alice and Frank for that
matter whoever it is what should we do? Can we do anything? Of
course, it won't be us, because we don't fit all the elements of the
prophecy ' Lily's usually calm and rational manner seemed to have
melted away, ' except that you're here, aren't you, and you
wouldn't tell us if you didn't think I know the baby's due in August,
but it's early August and it might come earlier and even so, we've
only escaped him twice so far '
'Lily, calm down, it's ok.'
James conjured a glass of water for her and tenderly brushed her hair
away from her forehead. 'It's not us. We've got nothing to worry about.'
'But what about the Longbottoms?' Lily looked to Dumbledore. 'Are we I mean, is there any danger?'
'When we have more information it may be necessary to take some precautions,' Dumbledore said.
'You mean, when we know for sure who the prophecy refers to?'
James. If it comes to it, you should consider some means of protecting
yourselves and your child. There are several options, but we can cross
that bridge when if we come to it.' Dumbledore smiled in
reassurance and started to return the memory to his mind and the
Pensieve to its case.
James offered the final jelly-bean to
Lily just as a large black bird tapped at the sitting room window. A
wave of hot air burst into the room as James opened the window to
retrieve a letter.
'Oh Merlin,' James whispered.
'What? What is it?' asked Lily.
'It's from him. You-Know-Who.' James laughed nervously. 'I can't believe he would actually send me a letter.'
Lily pushed herself up and moved beside James to see the parchment in
his hand. It was sealed with green wax by the Dark Mark. 'Don't touch
it! Professor, take it from him.'
'Lily, it's ok. It's just a letter.'
'No, it could be cursed, don't open it. Professor, can you check it, please?'
my dear. Come sit down. You too, James. Let me see it I won't open
it, I'll just scan it for curses.' He waved his wand around the letter
and a golden glow encased it for a moment. He handed it back to James.
'All safe, not so much as a Portkey attached. Let's see what he has to
say for himself.' He resumed his seat. 'Any jelly-beans left?'
With a glance at the empty bowl he muttered, 'What a shame.'
ridiculous squabble has gone on long enough. It is time for all pure
wizards to put aside their differences for the greater good of magic.
you choose to honour your magical heritage, you will accept this offer
of amnesty and join me as a citizen of the wizarding empire that I am
bringing into being. When you accept, your wife and children will be
marked and afforded protection by my sanctuary charm.
have twice proved your reputation as a powerful wizard, Mr Potter. I
trust you will see fit to devote that power to our new empire.
Forever I remain
Again, Dumbledore watched the young couple carefully.
Lily broke the silence. 'Well,' she looked half amused, half angry.
'Can you believe the nerve? "Sanctuary charm" my foot! I bet it puts a
big yellow star on your front and transports you straight to a
James still had not spoken. His hand held the parchment rigidly, his jaw clenched tightly. 'How dare he,' he finally growled under his breath.
that's one way to win friends and influence people,' mused Dumbledore.
'I wonder who else received a letter.' He rose and moved to the window,
contemplating the scene outside. 'I wonder who'll choose what's easy.'
James was still staring at the letter.
'Come on, James. You're not giving this serious thought, surely?'
'What? Oh sorry, Lily. No,
of course not! I just can't believe to threaten like that I love
you so much, Lily.' He reached his hand out to her cheek. 'No one will ever take me away from you.'
know, my love.' Lily leaned over and kissed him. 'Here,' she said,
taking the parchment and turning it over, 'let's be clear so he doesn't
get any ideas.' She summoned a quill.