Joined: 28 November 2006
Joined: 20 August 2008
Joined: 20 August 2008
Joined: 27 January 2006
Joined: 20 August 2008
Joined: 20 August 2008
Chapter Six: Hurt and Comfort (Part Two)
Lily looked warmly at Dudley and Diana. "Hi," she said with a soft smile, "I'm your aunt, Lily Potter, and this here is your Uncle James."
"We know," said Dudley abruptly, "We're not stupid."
Lily was stunned by his words but then shook them off. Of course he would be cold with her. After all, she and James were taking them away from their home.
"Where is their stuff?" Lily asked Petunia.
"They're holding them," said Petunia with a turn of her nose.
"That's…all they have?" questioned Lily with a frown after glancing at their duffel bags, "Aren't they bringing everything?"
"I don't know," said Petunia uncaringly, "I told them they were allowed to pack one bag with anything they wanted, and they did. End of story."
Lily's eyes blazed with anger. "Petunia! How could you? You're already kicking them out. Isn't that enough for you? Now you're even putting a limit to what they can take? What kind of mother are you?" she exclaimed with irritation.
"It's none of your business!" Petunia shrieked, losing her "uncaring" calm demeanor. "For freaks like them, I shouldn't have let them pack anything, but because of the kindness of my heart, I did!"
Lily laughed scornfully. "The kindness of your heart? Are you seriously stupid? No mother who is "kind" would give up her children like this, and you know it, Petunia Dursley!"
"How dare you!" came a voice from the doorway. A very overweight person was walking into the living room, shaking the place a little with every thundering step (ignore my dramatic adjectives). "It's not poor Petunia's fault our first two offspring were worthless freaks!" exclaimed Vernon Dursley, his face turning red and spit flying everywhere with each word.
Diana, after hearing her father's words, burst into tears. Lily ran over to her and slowly gave her a hug, hoping she wouldn't be pushed away. But Diana let Lily hug her, and after while dried her tears. Lily looked sadly at her and then turned to Vernon, her eyes blazing, but he continued.
"Your kind are taking this country to the dogs! Because of you, hard-working people like us are losing jobs, money, and are unable to feed our families! Because of you, our lives are being altered everyday as you spread your dirty blood to our children, making them freaks! Soon, Dudley and Diana will become like you: stupid, worthless, rubbish…" but Vernon didn't get to finish his words, because before Lily had pulled out her wand, James had his in front of Vernon's face before you could say the word magic. His eyes were blazing fire and right then, he looked even more dangerous than even a death eater.
With a flick of his wand, James sent Vernon flying into the air and hit the wall (not too softly), but because of his body size, Vernon wasn't injured much and got up with fury written all over his face. However, he didn't dare say nor do anything, as James's wand was still pointed at him.
"How dare you, you big, fat, ugly…giant of a man!" said James, as calmly as he could, his eyes still dangerously blazing. "Don't you ever say anything about Lily again! Worthless? Lily is worth extremely more than you, your wife, your house, your job, and your money put together! If anything, you are the one worthless, disowning your children and making excuses for it! You disgust me!"
"James, calm down, please!" Lily pleaded, glancing at Diana who was trembling from the fight between her father and uncle.
"Sorry Lils, but this fat oaf deserved everything I did or said!" said James, calmer now but still glaring at Vernon. Vernon on the other hand, bravely got up and shrieked at the top of his lungs with spit and bits of his mustache falling everywhere, "OUT! Get Out of my respectable house, and never come back!"
By now, Duncan and Delilah, who had been playing in the basement, came out to see what was going on. Their eyes widened when they saw their father so angry.
"Gladly!" said Lily, staring with utter dislike at her sister and brother-in-law. She then softened her expression to one of congeniality and looked back at the two children still sitting on the sofa. "Come on them, sweethearts, let's leave this place."
Diana reluctantly got up from the sofa and reached for Lily's offered hand hesitantly, but Dudley just held his duffel bag more tightly and walked past Lily to the door. Lily sighed. 'I'll just need to work harder with Dudley,' she thought. She liked a challenge once in awhile and was sure she could win Dudley's affection eventually. Little would she know that it would be harder than she thought.
After the four of them got in the car, Petunia couldn't help but yell out from the doorway, "Good riddance!"
Diana started crying again so Lily, with a flick of her wand, sent a tickling hex at Petunia, who started laughing crazily and jumped all around the porch like a hyena. The neighbors turned to see what the noise was and were shocked at "petite" Petunias crazy behavior. With a satisfied smile, Lily put her wand back in her sleeve and said gently, "James dear, let's go home."
Promptly at 11:30, James drove the Mercedes Benz into the Potters' large garage and parked. "I really don't know how muggles transport with these crazy things," he muttered exhaustedly, "Doesn't it take forever?"
Lily laughed and said nothing. Turning to the kids, she said kindly, "Come on, let's go in."
Diana and Dudley slowly followed their aunt and uncle up the long winding path to the front door, their eyes curious despite their apprehension. Lily took out the key from her purse and unlocked the door, walking in and shouting up the stairs, "We're home!"
Not even a minute later, lots of feet were thundering down the stairs and voices were heard saying things at the same time.
"Mummy! Will broke my unicorn's head!"
"No I didn't! I was just looking at it and it broke!"
"Mum! I lost The Lion, the witch, and the wardrobe!"
"Mum, Will tied up Uncle Sirius and left him in the second floor guest room!"
"Mummy, could I please please please have some cookies, with pumpkin juice!"
"Mum, can we please send Will to live with Uncle Remus? He's driving me crazy!"
"Mum, who are they?"
This last came from Anne, finally noticing the two new people standing quietly in behind her parents.
Lily rolled her eyes at her kids' behavior and said laughingly, "Thank you Anne, for finally noticing your cousins!"
"Oh, hello!" greeted Anne nicely, "I'm Annabelle Lily Potter, but everyone calls me Anne. Nice to meet you!"
Diana shyly murmured a same to you, but Dudley didn't say anything. Lily noticed this, but ignored it for the moment as she said, "Harry, Will, Emma? Don't you want to introduce yourselves?"
"Harry James Potter," said Harry, holding his hand out to Dudley, who looked at it for a full minute before abruptly shaking it for a half second and then bringing it back to his duffel bag.
"William Henry Potter at your service!" exclaimed Will cutely, his mischievous face breaking into a friendly grin.
"I'm Emma, Emmeline Audrey Potter!" Emma cried cheerfully, throwing herself at Diana with a big bear hug, "and I'm very very happy you're here!"
Diana's mouth quirked into a very small smile, so small that only Lily noticed. Heaving a sigh of relief, Lily gently said, "Come on, Dudley and Diana, I'll show you to your rooms so that you can settle in before lunch, alright?"
Dudley and Diana followed Lily up the stairs to the third floor, and stopped in front of the second bedroom when she did. Opening the door slowly, Lily said, "Dudley darling, this is your room. I hope you like blue, because if you don't, I can always change it."
Although Dudley was still angry with life in general, he had to gape at the room before him. It was four times the size of his room in Privet Drive, and was so…luxurious. And it even had a bathroom inside of it. The Dursley weren't at all poor, quite the contrary, but Dudley now realized the Potters were rich, dead rich. This house itself seemed like a palace! The room didn't make Dudley feel at home yet, but he walked in and set his duffel bag on the floor.
"I like blue," he said simply, and left it at that. Deciding that talking as less as possible was the best course of action, Dudley walked into the bathroom and shut the door. Lily smiled a little. At least Dudley had talked.
"Come Diana, let's take you to your room," remarked Lily, walking a few more steps and stopping in front of the fourth bedroom. Opening the door, she said, "I hope you like it!"
Diana gasped at the pretty but cute girlish room that surrounded her. It was hers. "It's very beautiful," she said politely. Then, turning to Lily, she said, "Thank you, Aunt Lily…for everything."
Lily gave Diana a big hug and whispered, "You're very welcome, Diana. Just remember, I know I probably will never be able to replace the love your parents once had for you, but I promise with all my heart that I love you just as much as I love my own children. Actually, you are one of us now, a Dursley in name, but a Potter at heart."
"A Dursley in name, a Potter at heart," Diana whispered as she too walked slowly into the bathroom. Five minutes later, as she walked down to the dining room, she pondered on that statement, and found to her astonishment that it didn't sound as bad as she thought. "A Dursley in name, a Potter at heart."
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Chapter Seven: Tough Exterior
That evening, Lily made a feast for dinner, literally. Good naturedly shooing the house elves out of the kitchen and telling them to have a break from work, she took over the kitchen and started chopping, mixing, grinding, and frying. Lily didn't let anyone come into the kitchen, not even Harry or James. Putting on an apron that said Mother Cook, a birthday present from Harry and Anne she had gotten three years ago, Lily went to work.
Meanwhile, Dudley and Diana, who had nothing else to do ever since after lunch, decided to explore 'the castle', a name which they had come up with for the Potter Manor, which was also called Potter's Place by those close to the Potters. They kids walked up the stairs to the fourth floor and entered the library. It was magnificent, with shining mahogany shelves lining the walls and floor to ceiling cherry wood bookshelves in the middle. There had to be at least 500,000 books in there, if not more! Off to the corner, there was a circular alcove with fluffy couches, soft armchairs, and one window seat underneath the tiny cozy window which looked out at the Quidditch field. It was the perfect spot to cuddle up and read forever and ever. Dudley, who had never had any interest in books before and certainly didn't now, got bored after being in the library for five minutes and left to explore the fifth floor.
Although Diana had never been an avid reader, the shiny copies of the thousands of books beckoned to her, so she allowed her feet to carry her over to the family genre section. Riffling through the books, she read title after title. Finally, one particular book caught her attention: Elizabeth of Glenwood Farm.
"Hmm," she thought to herself, "I heard this was a good book." Taking it out of the shelf, she proceeded to the little alcove and cuddled up on the window seat, which also had five very fluffy pillows to cuddle up on. Turning to page one, Diana read, "The little yellow house in Glenwood Farm had not been occupied for 10 years, but when a horse carriage passed along…" Soon, she was immersed in the book and after chapter one, read chapter two, then three, then four. An hour passed, and before long, it was 6:00.
Meanwhile, Dudley Dursley, still very peeved with the changes in his life, employed himself with criticizing any aspect of the Potter Manor he could find. "The fifth floor carpet is too worn out," he thought scornfully, stomping on the aforesaid floor covering which was in fact very elegant and lush.
"The wallpaper is too gaudy, and the chandeliers are in addition exaggerated."
Dudley opened the last door down the hall and discovered a magical in door swimming pool. Only one word could describe it: impressive! Although, Dudley wouldn't admit it to save his life, the swimming pool did indeed look awesome. It was very lengthy on all four sides and even held two long slippery slides opposite each other. However, the part that made it impressive was not the slippery slides, but the four taps stuck to each end of the pool. When turned, each different tap squirted scented and colored bubbles that lingered for one hour. Also, there was a gold button next to each set of four taps that if pressed, adjusted the temperature of the pool, making it hotter or colder for the swimmer's comfort.
Dudley would have loved to jump into the pool and relieve his unhappiness, but there was already someone in it, and he didn't feel like talking to that person just yet.
"Hey!" greeted Harry, swimming over to the edge where Dudley was standing, "Want to join us?"
"Us?" asked Dudley, confused. Wasn't Harry the only one in the pool?
"Oh, Emma's with me too," said Harry, "She's in the bathroom, putting her swimming suit on. Mum doesn't want her to swim by herself, since she's only six, so I have to stay with her whenever she wants to swim."
"I'm going to be seven in two more months, Harry!" Emma exclaimed offended, just coming out of the bathroom and jumping into the three ft. part of the pool with her ruffled pink and green swim suit. "Then, I'll be big enough to swim all by myself!"
Harry laughed. "I doubt it, Ems, you know how very protective mum is."
"I'll convince mummy," said Emma with confidence, "Dudley, join us! There's tons of space!"
Dudley wasn't in the mood for Emmeline Potter's sugary cheerfulness, so he said very abruptly, "No, I don't want to."
"Oh well, maybe next time then!" Emma exclaimed again, splashing water all over the place with her childlike happy-go-lucky manner. Dudley, feeling his evening was more spoiled than before, stomped out of the pool room and slammed the door shut, leaving behind him a shocked Harry and Emma.
"Not a happy person, huh?" Harry mused, "Poor guy, I would be like that too if I went through what he did."
"Diana sweetheart, dinner's ready," Lily said softly, poking her head through the library doorway. Diana jumped, and dropped Elizabeth of Glenwood Farm on the floor.
"I'm sorry," she said quickly, retrieving the book from the floor.
"Don't worry about it," said Lily, coming in. Glancing at the book, she said, "That's a good one. It was one of my favorites when I was a child."
"Yes," said Diana shyly, "I only finished with the sixth chapter, but…I like it."
"Do you read a lot?" asked Lily, walking out of the room with Diana beside her.
"Not very much," said Diana still quietly, "But I do have some favorites, like The Secret Garden and Black Beauty. Mother said reading is a complete waste of time, but…I always sneaked some books from the library into my room and read them late into the night."
At the thought of her mother, Diana looked as if she was going to cry again, so Lily quickly said, "Well, read as much as you want here. I myself am partial to reading and anyone in this house would tell you that most the day, I'll be found in the library pouring over books. And, if you want, you can take that book you were reading to your room and finish it."
"Thank you," Diana sniffled, wiping at her eyes
Just as everyone sat down at the food laden table in the dining room, the doorbell rang.
"I'll get it!" Anne volunteered, getting up and hurrying to the door. A few seconds later, they heard, "Uncle Sirius!"
Both Sirius and Anne entered the room, and James said, "How're you doing, Padfoot?"
"I'll be doing just fine after I have some of Silly Lily's wonderful food!" he said with a bark like laugh. Lily smacked him on the head and he omitted an, "Ow!"
Silly Lily had been one the many stupid nicknames Sirius had bestowed on Lily back in the old Hogwarts days and it had been Lily's least favorite, so Sirius had stuck to it.
"You will have nothing if you call me that again, Sirius Black!" she said, her eyes flaring but having a secret twinkle behind them.
"Women," muttered Sirius, taking a seat next to Harry. "So who're they?" he asked, jabbing a finger towards the Dursley children's direction. James gave him a fleeting look that said, "I'll tell you later."
"This is Sirius Black, our very close family friend," explained James to Dudley and Diana, who nodded mutely.
"Nice…nice to…to meet you," stammered Diana, who was very shy of strangers. Sirius gave the two children strange looks but started eating nonetheless.
"This is great Lils!" he commented, "But you cooked enough to feed an army!"
Lily blushed, "It was nothing," she said, "After all, it is Dudley and Diana's first evening here." Diana gave her aunt a small smile as thanks, but Dudley didn't say anything nor even looked at her. Lily inwardly sighed again. Yup, it would definitely take a long time breaking Dudley's tough guy exterior, a very long time.
"Did you hear from Remus lately?" James asked Sirius an hour later, after the kids had gone to various places around the house before their bedtime.
"Nope," replied Sirius, licking the remains of his chocolate fudge sundae of the bowl. "But we probably will soon. It's only been a week since his last letter."
Remus, who owned a small bookstore in Hogsmeade called Lupin Exports, didn't make much money from his business, except enough to live off of comfortably. He lived in a small one bedroom flat on top of his store and it was very rare for him to have a vacation. Two weeks ago though, his name had been drawn in a Daily Prophet lottery for 1,000 galleons. Remus, who had been entering for five years, had been so ecstatic that there wasn't much convincing done on the part of his friends before he had bought a ticket to travel Europe. Remus was now due back in another two weeks.
That night at 9:30, after Lily made sure all her children were asleep, she tiptoed to Dudley's room and knocked on the door. No sound came. She knocked again before opening the door slowly.
"Dudley?" she called out, "I know you're awake darling, I heard you moving around just seconds ago."
Dudley didn't make a noise and continued pretending to sleep. Lily sighed before continuing. "Dudley, I know it's hard on you. The lifestyle you were so used to is being abruptly changed, and you can't control anything. I…I know how it feels, as I had a similar but very different experience when I was younger. And I know I can never replace the love your parents once bestowed on you; no one can, but can't you accept that I love you and Diana just as much as I love Harry, Anne, Will, and Emma?"
Dudley still didn't make a noise, and it was a discouraged Lily that closed the door and walked down to Diana's room. Diana was still up, staring at the ceiling in the dark, her eyes holding the traces of sorrow only a young child of eight who already experienced unhappiness could.
"Diana sweetheart, you're still awake," Lily commented, walking into the room and sitting down on the bed next to the young love starved child.
"Aunt Lily," Diana began, reaching her hand out to Lily's and grasping it for comfort, "Can you…can you tell me a bedtime story, please?"
Lily was surprised, but replied, "Of course, what about?"
"Could you tell me a story…about my mother, when she was young, please?" pleaded Diana, her tearless eyes on Lily's. Lily stared at Diana for awhile, but finally began, "I was five, and Petunia was eight. One day, our parents, Will and Audrey Evans, took us to the beach…"
Lily told four stories about Petunia and herself, back in her happy childhood when Petunia had been a good kind older sister, who protected and loved Lily without the traces of dislike which had overtaken her later on. When she finished, Diana was silent. Finally, she asked, "Do you…do you regret getting your Hogwarts letter…Aunt Lily?"
"No," said Lily without hesitation.
"But…but you lost your sister's love, didn't you?" questioned Diana, quite confused.
"Yes, but sweetheart, you have to understand that in every person's life, there comes a time when you are tested, tested on your love, courage, and ability to live up to your beliefs. Petunia's time of test came when I got my letter. And, I'm sorry to say that she failed. Can you tell me why?"
Diana thought for a long time before answering, "She…she should have still loved you, no matter what, right? She should have stuck by you and gave you her support no matter what kind of person you were."
"Correct," said Lily, with a wistful smile. "Petunia failed as a sister, because it is a sibling's duty to stand up for their sibling(s) and love them for eternity. As the years passed, I got used to Petunia's treatment, but I still can't believe she treated you and your brother like that. A sister is one thing, but one's own child? I…just can't comprehend it. If any of my children had been squibs, my love for them would never have grown one ounce less, so how could Petunia…"
"Anyway, I don't think I'll ever understand, so it's better for you to go to sleep before dawn breaks out…why, Diana! You didn't change! Where are your pajamas?" asked Lily with surprise, staring at Diana's yellow dress, which she had worn since morning.
Diana looked down in shame and said quietly, "Mother told us to pack everything we wanted in one duffel bag…and I had ever so many things I wanted to bring with me, things that were special, so I…didn't…"
"You poor dear! You didn't bring any clothes?" Lily asked sadly, her anger at Petunia rising every moment, "Not to worry, you just wait here."
Lily quickly walked out of the room and into Anne's, where she quietly riffled through her drawers and picked out one of Anne's cotton pajamas. Hurrying back into Diana's, Lily handed the blue pajamas to her and said, "We're going shopping tomorrow. Until then, wear these, alright? Good night, and sweet dreams!"
"Thank you…so much, Aunt Lily," Diana told her with tears in her eyes, "Especially for taking us in. Thank you so much…"
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Chapter eight: A good day gone bad
After a breakfast of bacon and pancakes the next morning, Lily pulled James aside and asked, "James dear, could you take Dudley shopping for clothes today? I'm taking Diana, and…I don't think Dudley would want to tag along with us girls."
"Me? You want me to go shopping?" James asked Lily incredulously, "Oh come on, Lily, you know I can't shop to save my life."
"I know," sighed Lily, "But, I feel as if Dudley will open up more to you than me. I have an idea! Why don't you take Harry and Will along with you and I'll take Anne and Emma along with me? Then it will be like a fun day of shopping for both groups!"
"Hmm…I don't know," said James reluctantly, "Dudley doesn't seem very…sociable."
"Of course not!" said Lily exasperatedly, "Would you be if your parents disowned you? Diana's the kind of girl who wants to feel loved again, which is probably why she's so easy to get along with, but Dudley…being the first child, I have a feeling he was very spoiled by Petunia and Vernon, and the sudden change in atmosphere probably shook him up more than he bargained for. James, we have to break Dudley's tough exterior, because I know that inside, he's just as love starved as Diana is!"
"Oh, fine Lily," James finally conceded, "But I'm only doing it for you."
"Good to know!" Lily laughed, before making her way up to the third floor to talk to Diana.
Diana Dursley was currently employed with making her bed, a skill she had learned by herself at age five. That morning, after she had taken a shower, she had put on the same yellow dress she had worn the day before, and threw the worn pajamas into the laundry basket in her bathroom. Just as she was worrying about what she would wear the next day, her aunt appeared in the doorway and said cheerfully, "Come on, Diana!"
"Where?" asked Diana, looking up with surprise.
"Shopping!" exclaimed Lily, with as much enthusiasm as a young girl.
"Shopping?" asked Diana confused.
"Yup," Lily continued, "We're going to buy a whole new wardrobe for you!"
"Me? But…but I don't have any money, except for my 25 pounds allowance," said Diana, very flustered.
Lily laughed. "Who ever said you're paying for yourself, silly! Naturally, now that you're in our care, your Uncle James and I are going to pay for all your necessities."
"Oh, I couldn't...make you pay for everything," whispered Diana, blushing.
"In that case, what are you going to do?" Lily questioned with amusement, "Wear that yellow dress forever?"
"No…" said Diana uncertainly.
"Well, come on then!" Lily exclaimed, taking Diana by the hand and leading her downstairs. "Anne and Emma are coming with us too, so it will be a girls' day out! First, we'll all shop for clothes since the new school year is going to start in a few weeks, then take a lunch break somewhere, and then…we'll shop for school supplies before having ice cream and coming back home!"
Diana smiled slightly. The excursion did sound fun, and after the past four days, she needed something to take her mind off her parents and her old life.
"Okay," she said with a little smile on her face. Lily looked warmly at her and Diana smiled back.
"Hey Dudley," greeted James, leaning on Dudley's doorway. Dudley was lying in bed with a comic book (which had been one of the things he had brought with him), and didn't bother looking up.
"Hey," he mumbled, his eyes not leaving the book for one moment. James walked in. "Harry, Will, and I are going shopping for clothes, and I want you to come along."
"I don't want to come," said Dudley.
"I want you to," replied James, stressing I to imply that this was an end to the argument.
"I already have clothes," said Dudley, angry with his uncle for making him talk in sentences instead of words like he had been doing.
James glanced at the two pairs of outfits that were thrown on the floor. "Yes, I see, and I bet those will last you a whole year, huh?"
Dudley glared at his uncle. "I don't need you to spend anything on me. I have my own money."
"Okay," shrugged James, who knew from Lily that Dudley only had five pounds in allowance (he didn't save money like Diana), "I'm sure five pounds will be enough to buy a whole wardrobe and school supplies, so let's go!"
"I'm not going to school," said Dudley, still not getting up from the bed.
"Yes you are," said James, walking out of the room, "And you're also coming with us, so…I'll see you downstairs in five minutes!" With that, he disappeared around the corner, leaving an infuriated Dudley behind.
For Dudley, it was easy to be defiant with Aunt Lily, because she was annoyingly sweet all the time and her pleading tone, which got on his nerves, was easy to ignore. But Uncle James on the other hand, Dudley couldn't say no to him, because that would be arguing, which in turn would be talking more than necessary. Grumbling, he got out of bed, jabbed the five pound note into his pocket, and strode downstairs with his head held high. At least he would go in dignity.
When he reached the front hall, Will exclaimed, "Yay! You're coming with us!" and James, who had a satisfied smile on his face, said, "Would you like to travel by floo powder or use the car?"
"I would like to travel the normal way," stressed Dudley. Will looked confused.
"The normal way? Then you mean, floo powder!" he exclaimed.
"No Will, he means the car," corrected Harry, "For muggles, the normal way to travel is by car, but as Dudley isn't a muggle anymore…"
Before Dudley changed his mind about going, James quickly said, "We'll use the car. Come on, guys!"
"But daddy, the car is so slow!" whined Will before James quieted him with a look.
"Mummy, where are we going?" asked Emma, holing tightly onto Lily's hand as they crossed the streets of London.
"We're going to this muggle clothing shop called Leanne's Designs," replied Lily, looked up and down the traffic filled road as she held Emma's hand with one hand, and Diana's with another, while Anne clasped Diana's hand.
"Why are we shopping for muggle clothes?" asked Emma.
"Well, Diana needs some, and so do we. It's never wrong to have a few handy," answered Lily.
"Is Diana going to get robes after that?" asked Anne.
"Of course!" said Lily, "And I know just the place for those too."
The four of them had side-long apparated to London with Lily, and for Diana, it was a totally new experience which she secretly liked, although Anne and Emma seemed to hate it. "Apparition is so much easier than going by car," Diana thought to herself, "although it does feel weird."
Two minutes later, the small group found Leanne's Designs and entered the air-conditioned spacious designer store. Leanne Greenwood, the owner, came up to them and asked kindly, "How may I help you?"
Lily gently pushed Diana to the front and said, "She needs a whole new wardrobe, starting from undergarments."
"Of course!" Leanne happily exclaimed, taking the group over to one of the corners filled with racks of clothes, "Here, we have all the latest garments that just came out in the market. Feel free to try them on in the dressing room right over there!"
"Thank you," Lily replied, while flipping through various shirts, pants, and skirts. For an hour, Diana shyly tried on all the cute outfits Lily chose for her, and when she admitted she liked them, Lily put them in the ever growing cart. Finally, after she was satisfied with Diana's new wardrobe, Lily bought five pairs each for Anne and Emma.
The total price, 3,683.24 (7,000), made Diana's eyes go round with wonder and embarrassment. "You spent, so…so much on me," she said regretfully.
Lily gave her a hug. "It's not a big deal, sweetheart. You're one of my daughters now, aren't you?"
Before apparating, Lily took them to an abandoned alley and summoned Ruby, one of the Potters' house elves. Giving her the 15 shopping bags, she said, "Please leave these in the living room, Ruby." Ruby disappeared with a pop, and after grabbing hold of the three children, Lily apparated to Hogsmeade.
"This is a 100 magical village, just outside of Hogwarts, the magical school you'll be going to in 3 years," Lily explained to Diana. Diana stared around at her surroundings with wonder. "Magic sure is fascinating", she thought as she glanced at the shops they were passing. Lily took the kids to Serena's robes for all occasions. Inside the shop, a 28 year old Japanese woman turned around and exclaimed, "Lily! Finally, you came to see me after what…five months?"
"Sorry, Serena," apologized Lily, "I was…"
"Don't you dare say busy!" said Serena with a shake of her finger. Serena, or better known to outsiders as Mrs. Serenity Selene Masami (nee Takahashi), was one of Lily's four best friends at Hogwarts, and had gone on a big seven month trip to Japan last year. She had come back five months ago and Lily hadn't found time to see her at all.
"Sorry," repeated Lily meekly, but Serena just laughed.
"I'll forgive you," she said, "If you splurge in my shop."
"I was going to," laughed Lily. Quickly, she explained about Diana and Dudley, and then finished, "I need you to find her some robes, and then some for Anne and Ems too."
"Sure thing!" Serena said with a smile, measuring Diana. While she worked, Lily and she talked animatedly about their home lives. Serena's two daughters, seven year old Hikari and three year old Akiko, were as mischievous as ever, and had loved Japan, although they were now ready for school.
Soon, Diana had five brand new robes of different colors: pink, blue, green, purple, and yellow. Anne and Emma each got two new ones: cream colored and sky blue for Anne and orange and magenta for Emma. Lily bought one royal blue robe for herself. After paying for their purchases (25 galleons), Lily took the girls to McDonalds, which was back in London again.
James sighed with frustration. The day had so far not gone well, what with Dudley's moody behavior, Will's constant talkativeness, and Harry…who had done nothing really except stop for long moments to stare at something that looked cool and then got lost. Thankfully, the clothes shopping was done, and was surprisingly not that difficult, because Dudley, who was intent on talking as little as possible, agreed with all of James's choices with a plain, "Yes," or "Sure".
The robes shopping on the other hand had been very difficult. Dudley had made sneering comments about the weird freak clothing he had to wear, and it took a lot of self-control on the part of James not to remark that, no offense, but Dudley was now a "freak" too.
The group stopped for lunch at the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley and even Dudley had to admit that the food was good. Before going to London to shop for school supplies though, Harry insisted they stop at Quality Quidditch Supplies for just a teensy weensy moment, which turned out to become an hour. In the store, while Harry and Will started arguing over the best broom, and Dudley stood awkwardly in the background, James picked up a copy of the Daily Prophet which was lying nearby and swore loudly, causing lots of people to look at him.
"Sorry," he muttered, looking back down at the paper which sent splurges of anger through his veins. Plastered over the top of the paper in big black letters was: First Breakout in Azkaban! Death Eater Peter Pettigrew, notorious for his betrayal of the Potters to the Dark Lord, escaped out of his cell last night! A 500,000 galleon prize is awarded to anyone who can supply important information about him!
"Damn rat," James muttered, throwing the paper back on the counter and calling out to the kids, "We have to go home, now!"
"I said now!"
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