TWENTYFIVE

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I N T O X I C A T E D
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A hued and verdant vase of blossoming flowers — that had not begun to wilt despite being there for many days, no doubt do to a spell cast by Mrs. Potter — sat amidst the unorganized assembly of pots and pans that spread across the laced tablecloth.

Sirius Black and James Potter stood behind the end of the table that sat in front of Mr. Potter's usual seat with drenched sponges and soap suds up to their elbows. Freya cast a teasing look over her shoulder every once in awhile from where she sat cross-legged beside Peter on the cold, tiled floor with a boxful of records that the two had offered to organize.

"I don't see why we can't use magic!" James finally blurted as he used a soapy rag to swat away Sirius's finger from where it had attempted to wipe a bubble from the tip of his nose. Water from the cloth slung through the air and drenched the material that had elegantly draped across the tabletop.

Mrs. Potter dropped the onion she had begun chopping and let it roll of the cutting board and into the empty sink without a second glass. Her arms firmly crossed, small tears still drenched her dull eyes from the harshness of the food. "Well magic won't fix my rose bushes will it?"

As the woman turned back around with relaxed shoulders, Lily clicked her tongue thrice as she walked into the room with Remus behind her. The boy stood with a smile and crossed arms as he watched Freya, who grinned and tucked a stray hair behind her ear. Lily, on the other hand, walked over to the mess of pots and pans, pushed aside a few, and sat in the midst of the chaos.

James began to protest with some excuse of how it had not been his intention to destroy the woman's bushes during a heated game of Quidditch, but his mother cut him off yet again.

"Didn't you say that you lot wished to go to Diagon Alley this afternoon? Because if so, I think you'd better get scrubbing."

Not another word was said, and in almost twenty minutes, the metal dishes practically radiated from their cupboards. Mr. Potter had come home and given his wife a prolonged kiss on the cheek before announcing to the group that he was taking the woman on a date to a new restaurant that was recommended by a close friend at the Ministry. Mrs. Potter looked absolutely delighted.

Upon their departure, the man turned to the friends with a grave expression, "I should not have to warn you all how dangerous it is becoming out there. Even in Diagon Alley. It seems as if Hogwarts is the safest place these days . . ."

He shook his head upon realizing his sidetracking, "Anyway, have fun, but be careful."

They bid their goodbyes, and with a slight decline in the mood, the room turned silent yet again as they contemplated mutely on when to leave and if they still wanted to go.

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"And you're sure neither of you want to go with us?" Sirius's large smirk seemed to have no purpose other than taunting Freya as she returned the look with what she hoped was a glare. Although she was certain not much could cover the red tint on her cheeks that had appeared after her friends' embarrassing insinuation of what would ensue during their absence.

The true reason Freya had chosen to remain behind from Diagon Alley was simply because she had no money to pay for supplies until she could make amends with her parents. Remus, who had insisted he could pay but was shot down numerous times by Freya's independent attitude, chose to accompany her.

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