*Do you smell that? It’s a potion of some sort, I know it is. Slughorn always started off with it in Advanced Potions. Draught of death or something…*
“Draught of Living Death.” Remus breathed, finally recognizing the repugnant smell of the dangerous potion from their days at Hogwarts. “The Sleeping Beauty potion. Suspends everything – heart rate, breathing, vitals – slows them all down so that people believe you’re dead. Lily told me that they use it for extreme cases in the hospital, like for dragon pox patients. Diseases can’t spread if the body isn’t functioning and doing the work. Gives the healers time to create an antidote to at least slow it down, enough to give families a chance to say goodbye.” he rattled off absently, lost in thought.
*But why would James have taken it in his duel against Voldemort?*
Remus frowned down at his friend, thinking. “The Killing Curse does the opposite of what the Draught does; speeds everything up, so essentially you die of an aneurysm. Blood vessels bursting in your brain.” He mused. “James, you crazy bastard…What if he took the Draught to counteract the effects of the curse?”
*That’s…absolutely mental.* Moony breathed.
“Desperation. A wild card play. Something no one knew about, not even Sirius–but maybe…Lily?”
*We’ll check in a minute.* Moony ordered. *Let’s lean down close, check for his heartbeat. A normal witch or wizard wouldn’t be able to hear, would assume he was dead, but we can hear it…*
Remus lightly rested his head on his friend’s chest, holding his breath. Seconds ticked by, infinitely slow. But then…
“He’s still alive!” Remus breathed.
*Go check Lily!*
They raced upstairs, frantically scanning underneath and around her body for another vial…to no avail.
“Dammit!” Remus slumped against the wall, closing his eyes in renewed grief.
Moony was quiet, letting him grieve for the bright, vibrant, kind young witch who had been his first friend, even before James and Sirius.
*Dumbledore said something about her sacrifice, and Petunia’s blood protecting Harry.* The wolf said quietly after a few moments. *You don’t think he meant a blood ward, do you?*
“It’s possible.” Remus responded tiredly. “Knowing Lily, she sacrificed herself to save Harry’s life, which means any protections activated would be through her blood.” He cursed vividly. “It wouldn’t have worked if Harry had stayed with Petunia, though. She and Lily are sisters by marriage, not by blood. Lily’s mother remarried when Lily was young, and her blood sister Marigold was out of the house; their father was a Muggle politician; he died of cancer, I believe. Mari was also a witch, but she was ten years older than us, so she was gone before we started Hogwarts. She moved, to France I think, with her mother after their parents divorced. And she stayed with her mother’s maiden name after their father married Petunia’s mother, so no one made the connection to Lily Evans. Only a couple of people knew anyway…I don’t think even James was one of them, actually.” He stood up, wincing at the stiffness. “We should probably tell Dumbledore…”
Startled, the wizard frowned. “Why not?” he demanded. “We may not trust him as much, but he’s still a great wizard–”
*–Who is playing a much bigger game in which we are all pawns.* Moony finished flatly. *We trusted Sirius, and he betrayed us–*
“Sirius!” Remus growled, instantly distracted. “I still don’t believe it, but then I never thought that he would accuse me of the same things, either.”