Categories > Books > Harry Potter > Harry Potter and the Long Road Home

And Now For Something Completely Different

by bigdonadiet 26 reviews

Surreal reality.

Category: Harry Potter - Rating: R - Genres: Action/Adventure, Romance - Characters: Harry, Lily, Petunia Dursley - Warnings: [?] [X] - Published: 2005-12-28 - Updated: 2005-12-28 - 7173 words

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Disclaimer: Not mine. No profit. No shit.

Chapter Three: And Now For Something Completely Different.

By Big D

259,200 seconds.

4,320 minutes.

72 hours.

Three days. His solemn and unwavering promise not to interfere with his own history had lasted a grand total of three days.

Not twenty years, like he intended, but three days.

How fucking pathetic is that?

Harry was laying on his bed, staring at the ceiling. He had an endless supply of questions, but the shadows between the wooden beams weren't offering any answers.

He should've left, he knew that. Should've walked straight out the door, without a word, the second he realized that he had somehow stumbled into his grandfather's house.

But he didn't.

He could still leave. Nothing had happened so far that would give him away. He could walk out the front door, and never look back. Charles would be confused. He would check the house to see if Harry had taken anything of value, but when he discovered that nothing was missing, he would shrug and write it off as one of those weird things that sometimes happen when you invite strangers into your home.

But he wasn't going anywhere.

It was one thing to make bold declarations about how he would avoid his family at all costs when they were far away, it was quite a different thing to follow through on that promise when they were close enough to touch. That wasn't the only reason he had stayed, but even if there hadn't been any others, he still would have.

Harry didn't believe in coincidence, or even in luck, really. He often bemoaned his own bad luck, but in his heart he knew that bad things didn't just happen, they were either a consequence of your own actions, or caused by someone else in order to do you harm. Chance played a part at times, but the odds of pure chance leading him to this particular house, at this particular time, were so infinitesimal as to be laughable.

In short, it was a small world, but not that small.

In fact, this entire situation reeked of a setup. Not only his being here, in his dead family's home, more than two decades in the past, but everything that had happened to him in the last few days, starting with the trap laid by Voldemort. He felt like he was holding onto a very slow portkey, like he was being pulled down a path he had no control over. But who was doing the pulling?

The obvious answer was Voldemort himself, but somehow that didn't seem right. Harry knew Voldemort, understood him to a degree, and this didn't feel like something he would do. Of course, the Dark Lord had managed to catch him off guard with the magic he had used to send him here, but that was more a matter of him having a deeper understanding of magic than Harry did, and taking advantage of it. He just couldn't see any real advantage in this for Voldemort, and Voldemort never did anything unless it was to his advantage.

After that, the list of suspects became rather short and unlikely. Dumbledore might be able to pull off something like this, but to what point? The old man had betrayed him once before, but Harry didn't think that he had the stomach to do so again.

Then, of course, there was the most likely explanation. It was entirely possible that years of mental and physical abuse had finally cracked Harry's mind like an egg, and that he was really lying in a hospital bed somewhere, gibbering like a mongoloid idiot, and that everything he had experienced in the last ten days was just a complicated illusion created by his now-shattered sanity.

But, even if that were true, there really wasn't anything that he could do about it. His best course was to play this straight, and see what happened.

So, assuming that there really was some unseen person or force guiding his path, what could he do about it? Not much, unless he could find out what they were really after. And for now, the best way to do that was to stay where he was.

Which brought him back to the Evans'. His family. Family wasn't a word he used easily, even in the safety of his own mind. To Harry, it was the most foreign of words, having no real personal connection for him. Friends he could deal with. Lovers he had no problem with. But when people started tossing out the f-word, he usually left the room.

Still, being here, in this house, with these people, had affected him in a way few things in his life ever had. It was odd, but he felt an almost instinctual bond with them, one that he had noticed with Charles even before he knew that the man was his grandfather. But even with them, there were questions. Most of them, not surprisingly, involved his now fifteen-year-old mother, Lily and her seventeen-year-old sister, Petunia.

After the awkward round of introductions, during which Petunia had almost revealed Lily's magical nature, and Harry had almost fainted from shock, Iris had invited him to have lunch with the family, so they could get to know each other better. Still a bit dazed, Harry had agreed.

Harry sat at the table watching his grandmother make soup and sandwiches. The surreal nature of that very simple action was almost overwhelming. Lily was sitting next to him, holding her father's arm and telling him about their day out. He looked over at his mother, which wasn't a very hard thing to do. Not only was she very pretty, but she also had a way about her that tended to draw eyes. She was very expressive, moving her hands as she spoke and punctuating each comment with a laugh, or a flash of her green eyes. He noticed that, every once in a while, those eyes would dart in his direction and linger for a moment, but she hadn't really said anything to him yet.

Charles was clearly enraptured with her. He hung on his youngest daughter's every word, seemingly to the exclusion of everyone else in the room as she explained how Iris had celebrated the end of the school year with them by taking her and Petunia shopping. It was the mentioning of Petunia's name that caused Harry to turn and look at the other Evans girl.

He had to look very closely to see the woman she would become in the girl she was now. The Petunia Dursley he knew was a bony, hateful wretch of a woman, who did everything in her power to ensure that those around her would notice her. She thrived on the attention and approval of others, and often went to great lengths to attain it, her favorite method being to run someone else down, so that she would seem better by comparison. Years of eating only whatever her husband and son had left behind, as well as at least one botched facelift, had left her looking more like a skeleton in a house dress than the still relatively young woman she was.

Petunia Evans, he quickly realized, was a different animal altogether. Well-fed, and in the bloom of youth, she was attractive, but not drop-dead gorgeous. She had inherited her mother's pinched face, but it wasn't totally out of place on her long frame.

Harry caught himself sneaking a peek at that frame before he remembered who it was attached to. She was wearing blue jeans and a simple, short-sleeved blouse, but it was so far from what he was used to from his aunt that it was jarring. Petunia Dursley wouldn't be caught dead in jeans. Harry couldn't help but think that she would have if she had kept the kind of figure her younger self now had. Petunia Evans possessed the long legs, and firm, round hips of a runway model and, relatively small, but noticeable breasts. That actually surprised him somewhat. He had washed the Dursley's laundry more times than he could count, and he had never once found one of Petunia's bras in with it. He had always assumed that she never had anything to support.

But the biggest difference between this girl, and the woman she would become, was the way she seemed to deflect attention from herself. Petunia was sitting at the table with her head bowed slightly, and her elbows pulled in toward her ribs. She was leaning forward at the waist, and her shoulders were hunched, making her appear shorter than she really was. Her entire body posture screamed- 'Don't look at me!' The way she held herself made her seem less like an almost six-foot-tall beauty, and more like a little girl sitting in a corner, who's hoping that no one decides to pick on her.

In fact, Petunia's body language reminded Harry of his own in the years before he went to Hogwarts. He had often sat at the Dursley's table in that same manner, just trying to avoid notice until he was sent back to his cupboard. But why would Petunia be acting like that? From what he could tell, Charles and Iris were perfectly lovely parents, so it wasn't as if she was being put through the same kind of nightmarish childhood he had been.

Petunia might not have wanted any attention, but she clearly knew that Harry was looking at her. She shifted in her seat so that her head was tilted towards him, and gave him a small, interested smile.

Harry blinked in surprise. Apparently, Petunia had taken his curious inspection of her as flirting, and was now trying to reciprocate, albeit a bit clumsily. Still holding his eye, she brushed her toe against his leg.

Harry went absolutely still. Nothing in his short, but very full life had prepared him for something quite like this. If he had to make a list of the things least likely to ever happen to him, Petunia Dursley playing footsie with him underneath his grandfather's dinner table would be number one with a bullet. But, he reminded himself, this wasn't Petunia Dursley, it was Petunia Evans. And she had no idea who he was.

At least she had that excuse. There was no excuse for the slight lump that started to form in Harry's lap at the feel of her foot touching his leg. He had never had a more uncomfortable erection in his life.

Petunia's foot crept up little higher. Her cheeks had grown red, and were getting darker by the second. She tried to casually reach for the glass of water on the table in front of her, but somehow managed to drop it on herself as she went to take a sip. The glass crashed down on the table, water splashing all over her, soaking her lap and part of her top. She looked up at him, horrified, before turning and running up to her room.

Iris rushed over to the stairwell. "Pet?" she called up the stairs, "Are you okay, Pet?" She looked back into the kitchen. "I'm going to go check on her. Lily, can you clean that up?"

Lily had a slightly petulant look on her face. "Why do I have to clean up her mess?" she asked, "Make her come back down and do it."

"I'll do it." Harry offered before Iris could respond. She gave him a grateful look and went up the stairs. His chubby had thankfully deflated, so he got up and made for the paper towels.

Lily, however, beat him over there. "I've got it." she smiled, laying a soft hand on his arm, "You're a guest, you shouldn't be cleaning up after us."

"I'm not a guest, I'm a tenant." he reminded her.

"Well if you're paying to be here, you really shouldn't have to clean up after us." she said wryly. She shooed him back to his seat and quickly had the spill cleaned up.

Harry turned to his grandfather. "Is it always this exciting here?"

"Only during the summer, thankfully." he responded, "The rest of the year the girls are at school."

"What school do they go to?" Harry asked, knowing the answer, or at least half of it.

"They don't go to the same school." Charles told him, "Petunia goes to school in Birmingham, where her mother studied, but she just graduated." He gave Lily a proud smile. "Our Lily goes to a school for the gifted, up north." Lily blushed and grinned at her father.

Just then, Iris came back into the room. She went back to the stove and stirred the soup without a word.

"Is Petunia alright?" Charles asked.

Iris made an annoyed noise and took the pot off the flame. She leaned against the counter and pinched the bridge of her nose, like she was fighting down a headache.

"She said that something... unnatural made her drop the glass." Iris said tiredly, glancing at Harry as she spoke.

Lily became indignant. "Why that rotten little liar." she hissed, "She just doesn't want to admit that she's clumsy."

"That's enough, Lily." her mother snapped, "I don't want to hear anymore about this."

The rest of the meal passed in relative silence. Iris took a plate up to Petunia, who refused to return to the table. Harry found himself to be rather hungry, after all the day's shocks, and Iris was happy to provide him with seconds. He was on his third ham sandwich, when a troubling thought occurred to him.

When he had been introduced to Lily as "Harry Potter", she hadn't even batted an eye. There were enough Potters in the world that she might not think much of him having the same last name as one of her classmates, but he also was the spitting image of his father. A little shorter and skinnier, with longer hair maybe, but almost identical in the face. He looked at Lily out of the corner of his eye. She and his father wouldn't get together for another couple of years, but they had been housemates for almost five years at this point. It was possible that, with all that had happened today, she simply hadn't noticed any similarities between himself and James, but it was something he thought he should check out. It was times like these that he wished he were a more capable legilimens. Moody had spent years trying to hammer that discipline into his head, to no avail. He understood the theory, but was terrible at the practical parts.

Somewhat disquieted by his thoughts, Harry excused himself from the table. On his way upstairs, he passed a clock that showed the time to be a little after one in the afternoon. He shook his head wryly. 'Funny how much your life can change in just a few hours.' he thought.

Harry walked down the upstairs hall, towards his room. The last door on the left before the attic stair was shut tight, but as he passed it, he heard a loud, anguished sob. 'Petunia.' he thought, stopping and staring at the door. He knew that Lily hadn't magicked the glass out of Petunia's hand, but he also knew that her dropping it hadn't simply been a matter of her being clumsy. She must be horrified at the thought that she had come on to him, only to make a fool of herself. He had a surprising amount of sympathy for her, given their past (or future, as the case may be) and considered knocking on the door, but decided against it. Nothing good would come of him talking to her. Better for her to believe that she had embarrassed herself, and that he wasn't interested in her.

As he turned to enter his room, the door swept open, and he was suddenly face to face with Petunia, her eyes bloodshot and damp. She opened her mouth to speak, then caught sight of him. Her jaw went slack and her face turned a shade of dark crimson.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to bother you." Harry said, "I'll just be going."

Petunia lunged out and grabbed his arm, yanking him into her room and shutting the door behind them. She leaned against the door and panted a bit, looking a little shocked at how bold she was being.

"I thought you were my mother." she gasped.

"Not equipped for that, love" Harry quipped warily.

She laughed nervously, but didn't look like she intended to let him out of the room.

Harry looked around. The room was a pretty typical example of its kind, with pink, frilly things sprinkled around a high, four poster bed. What caught his eye were the pencil drawings scattered along the walls and on the desk. Petunia was still leaning against the door, blocking his escape, so he walked over and picked one up. It was of a large, blockish building surrounded by elm trees. The detail of the drawing was exquisite, right down to the carved molding around the front door, and the people lounging on the grass. He thought it might be a school, or a library of some sort. Again, he was surprised, he had never imagined that Petunia could be an artist.

She had finally moved away from the door and was hovering over his shoulder, close enough for him to feel the warmth of her body.

"I know it's not that good." she said timidly. "I always wanted to study art on the continent, but I doubt that any of the schools there would take me."

Harry turned and leaned against the desk, giving his future aunt a thorough inspection with his eyes. He was really starting to have trouble understanding how this shy, artistic, mild-mannered girl had ever morphed into the spiteful woman he knew her as.

Of course, some of the signs were there. She obviously didn't care much for Lily being a witch, but Harry thought that had more to do with the massive amount of attention that Charles lavished on her sister than actual hatred of the younger girl's "unnaturalness".

Petunia ducked her head and fidgeted under Harry's gaze, but didn't try to move any farther away. The picture grew a little clearer in his mind. Putting himself in her place, he wondered how he would react if he had a younger sibling whom his parents were clearly more fond of. Would he pretend not to want any attention, so that it wouldn't hurt so bad when no one noticed him? Would he point out the other person's every tiny fault, even if he had to make them up, in order to make people see that they weren't perfect?

Harry could practically feel the hope and desperation radiating off of Petunia like flame from a furnace. Hope that someone would finally notice her, approve of her... maybe even love her. It was a hope he understood all too well, having gone through it himself for much of his childhood. Only, the love he had desired had been refused by the very person who now wanted it from him. He never thought that he would ever feel sorry for his aunt, but right now his heart ached for her.

"It's a very lovely picture, I think." Harry said softly. "They'd be mad not to take you."

Petunia's face bloomed into a ecstatic smile. "Really?" she breathed.

He smiled at her gently and nodded.

She seemed to be unable to control her excitement, and the next thing he knew, she was hugging him fiercely, burying her face into his neck. He tentatively wrapped his arms around her, which caused her to press her lithe body against him even harder, and tremble ever so slightly.

Petunia took her head off of his shoulder, but stayed cuddled up against him. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out. In Harry's entire life, he had never really noticed the color of her eyes. They were a deep, ocean blue, and shone with the kind of loneliness that only a teenage girl with no real problems could manage.

He had occasionally wondered just how Petunia and Vernon had gotten together, now he understood. His aunt had spent so much time convincing herself that no one wanted her, that when someone finally did reach out to her, she couldn't help but be swept off her feet. Even if the one doing the sweeping was a boorish, no-necked lout like Vernon. It was the kind of real-life tragedy that happened every day.

Petunia finally seemed to find her voice. "I... I don't know why I'm acting like this." she whispered, those big blue eyes misting over again. "You must think I'm some kind of tart, but I'm not, really." she said earnestly, trying to make him understand, but seeming unsure of what she really wanted to say.

For Harry's part, his mind was a whirlwind of conflicting thoughts and emotions. He always preferred to think things out logically, but logic was failing him now. His logical brain was telling him to run, to get out of there before things got out of hand, but his heart wasn't listening. His heart wanted to help Petunia, help her stay the person she was now, and avoid becoming the lost soul he knew her as. Logic railed against the very notion, screaming about broken timelines, and future history. All his heart could see was a person who needed his help, a person he was rapidly coming to care about.

And all Harry's body knew was that there was a pretty girl pressed up against it. It cast its two cents by starting to fill his prick with blood. 'Selfish bugger.' he thought irritably at his cock.

"It's just that, from the moment I saw you, I felt like I'd known you forever." Petunia said, oblivious to Harry's internal struggle. "I know that sounds stupid, but it's how I feel."

"It doesn't sound stupid." Harry reassured her, "In fact, it make a lot of sense."

She gave him a funny look, but was suddenly distracted by his thickening erection pushing against her hip. Her eyes went wide and her mouth fell open, but she still didn't pull away from him. Instead, she adjusted her legs a bit, until she was sure that what she was feeling was really what she thought it was.

Petunia brought her eyes back up to Harry's. The look on her face wasn't one of revulsion, but rather anticipation, and maybe a little fear. She bit down on her bottom lip, like she was making a decision, then leaned down and laid her lips on top of his.

The kiss was inexpert, really not much more than a wet bus on the mouth, but Harry could clearly feel her willingness to proceed further. For the first time, the word "incest" popped into his mind, in bright, shining letters. It was a sobering thought. He needed to end this now, before it was too late. But how could he do that without hurting Petunia?

Harry was saved by a sharp squeak from one of the stairs. Someone was coming up. Petunia jumped away from him like he was on fire, and practically leapt into the chair in front of the desk. Only seconds later, the door was pushed open, and Iris entered. She stopped in her tracks and blinked when she saw him.

"Oh, hello Harry." she said, "I didn't know you were in here."

Petunia all but had her face buried in her papers, afraid to look up for fear of her mother figuring out that they had just been snogging.

Harry, more adept at hiding his true feelings, slid easily into his "Charming Young Man" persona.

"I just stopped by to check on Petunia." he said, the lie rolling smoothly off of his tongue. He didn't like lying, but he could do it with the best of them. "She's been showing me some of her artwork. She's very talented."

Iris gave him a warm smile. "Yes she is, isn't she?" She moved over and laid her hands on her daughter's shoulders. "It's nice to see that she's showing someone her work. Usually, even we don't get to see it." Petunia squirmed a bit, and looked even more closely at her papers. At this point, her nose was almost touching the page.

"Well, I should go and get settled in." Harry said amicably. "It really is lovely work." he said to Petunia, giving her arm a reassuring squeeze. He nodded at Iris and went to his room.

There was no point in settling in, he didn't have anything to settle. He didn't have any clothing or possessions, just what he had transfigured when he had left the hospital. He could wear that forever, cleaning it with magic and transfiguring it into a new style when he needed to. Still, it would be nice to have some real clothes, if only so he didn't have to make any awkward explanations. He made a plan to do some shopping tomorrow.

But in the meantime, he laid down on the bed and tried to sort through the swirling mess in his brain.

Staring at the ceiling for ten hours hadn't made things any clearer.

The events of the day had brought a number of long-suppressed emotions crashing back down on Harry. When Petunia had kissed him, he remembered how he used to cry himself to sleep as a small child because she didn't love him. He would lay there in his cupboard, and it was like there was a ragged hole in his heart, an empty vacuum that constantly ached to be filled. He used to think that, if only Aunt Petunia would love him the way she loved Dudley, then that empty place would fill up, and he would be like all the other boys.

She never did, and he never was.

But the feel of Petunia's body against his, and the smoldering look in her eyes that told him that she wanted him as a lover had, for the barest of moments, filled that place back up. In that fraction of a second, in the oddest of circumstances, Harry had felt loved in a way he never had before. It was an intoxicating feeling, and one that a part of him was eager to experience again.

But there were so many obstacles in the way, the fact that they were related being the biggest and most obvious.

Harry rose and walked over to the window. He leaned against the frame and looked out over the small sliver of London visible to him. The street was impossibly normal, the picture of an average, if slightly affluent, English neighborhood. It was an unlikely setting for such a strange and sordid problem.

Just how far was he willing to go to realize a childhood dream? He could never have Petunia's love the way he wanted it before, but he could have it in a different way now. Was that what he wanted? And what about Petunia... what was best for her? Harry knew what the future had in store for her: a life of unhappiness in a dead-end marriage. If he could spare her that fate, wouldn't he be doing her a favor?

Just then, he heard a soft footstep on the attic stairs. A few seconds later, someone was scratching on the door, trying to get his attention without waking the rest of the house.

Harry felt a thrill of excitement when he realized that it must be Petunia coming to see him. He was surprised that she would take such a chance, given her shyness, but she had shown that she could be aggressive before.

He walked over to open the door, then stopped. What could he say to her, when he didn't even know his own mind? Harry growled irritably. Emotions were too complicated at the best of times, but right now they made Hermione's Advanced Arithmancy seem simple. He sighed and opened the door.

Harry blinked. It wasn't Petunia... it was Lily.

His mother stood there, a little wide-eyed in her nightgown, her red hair loose around her shoulders. She seemed a little surprised that he opened the door, and maybe she was. She really hadn't made much noise at all in trying to get his attention, if he hadn't been wide awake he might have missed it.

"I just came to see how you were doing." she said almost defensively, the obvious lie falling out of her mouth like a piece of rancid meat.

Harry took in her appearance, and came to an altogether different, and very surprising, conclusion.

She was wearing a rather snug and sheer gown, parted enough to show a generous amount of cleavage. Her hair was loose, like she was getting ready for bed, but it had an arranged air to it. Harry remembered the way she kept casting glances at him at lunch, and the way she had laid her hand on his arm. Was it possible that Petunia wasn't the only Evans girl that had fallen for him at first sight? Could Lily have come up here to seduce him? Or was he just imagining things?

"Can... uh, can I come in?" Lily asked nervously. Apparently, she had spent so much time building up her courage to come and see him, that she hadn't given much thought to what she would do once they were in the same room.

Harry moved aside and she entered. She looked around the room, trying to make it seem that she was really interested in how he was settling in, but Harry just looked at her. Emotionally, it only hit him just now that this was really his mother. Until that point, he had known it, but he hadn't really felt it. This was really the woman that had given her life, so that he could continue living, who's love for him had been so powerful that it had even stopped the unblockable Killing Curse.

Lily turned and caught him staring at her. A soft smile played across her lips, and she took advantage of his undivided attention by preening herself for him. She shook her hair away from her face and clasped her hands in front of her while turning in profile. Harry quickly found himself distracted by the alluring vision of the young redhead bathed in moonlight.

"What was that?" he asked. She had said something he hadn't caught.

She laughed, a slightly musical sound. "I said that you should take a picture, it'll last longer." Harry actually blushed a little, something he hadn't done in a long time. Lily was definitely coming on to him, and despite him knowing better, it was working.

Seeming more confident now, she walked over to him and took both of his hands, pulling him over to the sofa near the window. Harry was struck by how much shorter she was than her sister. With Petunia, he had to look up to see her face, but Lily only came up to his chin. She indicated that he should sit down, and she sat sideways on the sofa next to him, folding her legs in a way that left her shapely calves exposed.

"So, do you like it here so far?" she asked, still holding on to one of his hands.

"Yeah, I do." he said honestly, "Things have been a little... odd, but I think I'm starting to adjust." Harry stopped and thought for a moment. "To be honest, I wish I had grown up in a house like this." he said, a little wistfully.

Lily looked at him disbelievingly. "This place?" she asked, "Trust me, it's deadly dull here."

"I like dull." Harry told her, "Exciting isn't as much fun as people make it out to be."

She leaned her head against the sofa and looked at him through strands of red hair that had fallen into her eyes. "I could do with a little excitement now and then." she murmured.

Harry wasn't quite ready to go down that road, so he tried to change the subject. He also hoped to get an answer to something that had been bugging him all day.

"Can I ask you a question?" he asked.

Lily smiled and nodded.

Harry paused for a moment, trying to decide exactly how he wanted to ask the question. He gave a mental shrug and decided to just say it flat out, then deal with the consequences later.

"Do you know a boy named James Potter?"

He wasn't sure what to expect from Lily at the mention of his father's name, but the one thing he didn't expect was for her to blink in confusion, and politely shake her head. There wasn't even the slightest flicker of recognition on her face.

"Never heard of him." she said, "Is he a relative of yours?"

"Yea... uh, yeah... but I haven't seen him since I was little." Harry managed to stutter out. He was flabbergasted, but was trying desperately not to show it. His mind reeled at the implications of what Lily had so innocently revealed. If she didn't even know who James Potter was, then things were quite a bit more complicated than he thought they were... and that was saying something.

She tilted her head, and regarded him with those pretty green eyes. "Then why did you ask me if I knew him?" she asked.

Harry forcibly pushed the thought of his father out of his mind. He would have to worry on that later, right now he needed all his wits to ensure he didn't reveal too much to Lily.

"I saw a picture of him with his girlfriend a while back, and you look a lot like her. For a second, I thought you might know him." he said, smoothing his face so he didn't look so much like a fish on a hook.

She accepted that and they exchanged some more small talk. She told him about her school, leaving out any mention of magic, and he related a few equally-edited tidbits about his own life. It was an odd conversation, but one that Harry was enjoying immensely. From what Lily was telling him, she was more of a trouble-maker than he had ever imagined. Right now, she was telling him about a prank she had pulled on a classmate.

"You died his hair pink?!" he laughed.

"Well, he shouldn't have fallen asleep in the common room!" she answered, "And he really shouldn't have pinched my bum." she muttered afterwards.

Harry snickered at that, and Lily tried to change the subject. Looking down, she noticed that she was still holding onto his hand. She ran her thumb slowly across the back of it, making goosebumps rise on Harry's arm.

"Can I read your palm?" she asked suddenly.

"What for?"

Lily gave him a playful look. "Because it'll be fun. Besides, it's part of my homework for the summer." she said, a coy smile tugging at the edge of her lips.

Harry played along. "What kind of school teaches palm-reading?" he asked, pretending he didn't know the answer.

Lily's smile grew a little wider. "It's a progressive school." she explained, sure that he had no idea what she was talking about. She gave his hand a squeeze. "Pleeeese?" she asked, giving him a heart-melting, green-eyed puppy-dog look.

He smiled at her, and nodded. She gave a little squeal and motioned for him to face her on the couch. She shifted so that she was sitting cross-legged in front of him. Harry couldn't help but notice that she had moved even closer to him, and that, from the position she was in, he had an absolutely glorious view of the rounded inner slopes of her breasts. He was pretty sure that it wasn't an accident.

Lily held his hand between them, her tiny, soft fingers rubbing his palm in circles. She had her eyes on his face, searching for a reaction to her overt flirting.

Harry wasn't sure how he should be reacting. Lily was definitely turning him on, but it was happening way too fast. An hour ago, he had been wondering if he should enter into a romantic relationship with his aunt, now his mother was putting the moves on him. It was the kind of thing that put sane people in therapy. Then again, Harry wasn't really all that sane.

Lily glanced down at his palm, and her brow immediately knitted in confusion. She made a strange noise in her throat, and tilted his hand so that the moonlight illuminated it better.

"That's not right." she muttered worriedly.

Harry chuckled. Divination, except for very rare cases, was a crock of shit. But if Lily wanted to play it up, he would let her.

"Bad news?" he asked.

She glanced back up at him, a bewildered look on her face.

"Kind of." she replied, seeming utterly serious. "You don't have a Life-Line."

Harry opened his mouth, then blinked and closed it again. "Huh?" he said, now as confused as she was.

Lily held up his hand and pointed. "See? It should be right here, but it's not."

He looked, and sure enough, she was right. In the place where his Life-Line had always been, there was now only normal skin. If Lily was confused, then Harry was absolutely mystified. He was sure that he'd had one before, but where had it gone? He leaned in and peered at his palm, but still couldn't discern anything where his Life-Line should be.

"That's just odd." Lily whispered softly.

Harry glanced up at her, and found her face bare inches away from his. Her hair had fallen into her face again, and the moonlight gave it the look of embers in a fire. Lily's face was in a shadow, but her eyes seemed to catch what little light there was, and reflect it back out. Harry didn't think he had ever seen anything so heartbreakingly beautiful in his entire life.

He didn't even realize that he was moving forward until his lips brushed against hers. Lily's mouth was incredibly soft and pliant, and his tongue snaked out for a taste, skimming across her top lip before coming back and allowing him to nibble along the bottom one. Lily let out a soft whine, and opened her mouth wider for him as he pressed even harder against it. She was an inexperienced kisser, but less so than her older sister, which Harry found a little strange.

Lily's hands found their way to his head, her fingers running through his long, black hair as she rose to her knees to get a better angle. Her tongue ventured out and tentatively touched his, and he greeted it with a soft brush of his own, before allowing her to take control of the kiss. She gently pushed him back so that he was leaning against the arm of the sofa, and straddled his waist, never once breaking contact with his lips.

She pushed her body against his, and Harry placed his hands on her tiny waist. Lily was a small girl, but Harry was no giant himself, and she felt just right in his arms. Her tongue made one last pass across his lips before she came up for air.

"You have no idea how much I've been wanting to do that." she gulped out between heavy breaths, leaning her forehead against his, her hair falling to either side of his face like a scarlet curtain. Those expressive green eyes had a contented, loving gleam to them. Lily brought her lips to his again, just a soft peck, almost as if she were confirming that he was really there.

'Well, boy, you've really stuck your foot in it now.' Harry thought to himself. Oddly, his internal voice sounded a lot like Uncle Vernon. Vernon's favorite thing in the world was to tell Harry what he had done wrong, but Harry was pretty sure that even he would be at a loss for words right now. Objectively, he knew that what he was doing was wrong, but something just kept pushing him forward. Whether it was whatever unseen force that had brought him here, or just his own unresolved issues concerning his mother and aunt was irrelevant at this point.

Harry placed his hands on either side of Lily's face, stroking her smooth cheeks with his thumbs. She closed her eyes and sighed at the contact. He kissed her again, while mentally making a checklist of all the reasons why he shouldn't.

He let his hands slowly slide down her face, his fingertips brushing her soft neck, on their way to the laces of her gown. His stomach was tight and his shoulders tense, but it seemed so natural to take the next step.

Lily's hands gently caught his wrists on their way down. She brought his hands to her lips and kissed them, but looked at him apologetically.

"I'm sorry, Harry." she whispered, "But I'm not ready to go any further." She leaned down and kissed him again. "Please understand... it's not that I don't like you, because I really do. It's just that I'm not ready." She looked a little afraid that he would reject her for stopping his advances.

Harry felt like someone had just dumped a bucket of ice water on him. Had he really only been moments away from making love to his own mother? His mind was going in fifty different directions at the same time.

When he didn't say anything, Lily seemed to grow uncomfortable. She got off of him and stood next to the sofa for a moment, looking at him with sad eyes.

"I'll just go back to my room." she whispered, before moving towards the door. She opened it and stopped, looking back at Harry and seeming to have a disagreement with herself. She finally shook her head and went downstairs, closing the door quietly behind her.

Harry dropped his head back against the armrest. The discordant emotions surging through him had left him as exhausted as any battle he'd ever fought.

What was he supposed to do now? He had thought his life was complicated when all he had to worry about was saving the world, but right now the war between good and evil seemed pretty simple. He got up and staggered over to the bed, flopping down face first.

He wanted to worry about the problem some more, but his mind wouldn't focus on one thought long enough to think it out. Sleep quickly rushed at him, but before he dropped off, one coherent thought did flash through his head.

"Petunia and Lily are going to kill each other when they find out."
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