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Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future
And time future contained in time past.

-- 'Burnt Norton', T S Eliot


Did you hear something, Lily-my-love?

Stop calling me that, it's silly.

Lily-my-luscious, then.

Alice!

Lily-my-lovely. Lily-my-lustworthy.

You're silly.

Lily-my-light-of-my-life.

Alice-my- it doesn't work with your name. Alice-my-apple.

Now who's silly?

Alice-my-adorable.

You're adorable, my dear. Wait. Did you hear that? There's definitely something . . .

It's probably just the boys wandering around late at night, doing whatever it is they do

Aren't they too busy wanking?

Alice!

Well, it's true. They're teenage boys, Lily, I don't know what you expect, and it's not like you never –

Alice!

You're blushing. That is adorable. And I still hear them.

Them?

Whoever it is. I feel something . . .

That's my hand, Al.

And you pretend to be so innocent, Miss Lily! No, it's not like that – I didn't mean for you to stop, silly – I mean I feel a presence, or something.

Stop it, Alice, you know I don't like when you get like this. I hope it's not a Boggart.

Shhh. Can't you feel it? Listen.

It's probably just the girls upstairs talking or something.

No . . . it doesn't sound like it's coming from there, it sounds like they're here, with us.

There's no one here but us.

Shhh. You know what I hear?

You must have better hearing than I do if you can make out what they're saying.

It's you, my lovely Lily, the first time we met here.

Me?

Helga and Rowena met here too.

Helga Hufflepuff?

Narcissa and Sybill, too.

Who's Narcissa? You don't mean that stuck-up one who left last year, do you?

Luna and Ginny.

Who are these people, Alice? If you're making this up, it's not funny.

Natalie and Megan. Christina and Eleanor. I think she looks like you, Lily, Christina does. I can't see her but she feels like she might be related to you.

Stop it, Al, you're scaring me.

You're shaking . . . come here, Lily-my-love, it's all right. Just listen carefully and maybe you'll hear them.

I can't. I don't think I want to.

It's not scary. They're us, Lily, they're girls just like us, sneaking away here at night so that they can finally be alone. Nothing else matters, only that they're here and that they love each other, I can feel it.

Can you still hear them? I can't hear anything, not even muffled whispers.

I think it's fading.

It's just gone three. Isn't midnight supposed to be the witching hour?

That's just a Muggle superstition. All the hours are witching hours if you're a witch, silly.

I wish I'd heard them, now. I wish I'd felt it. Do you promise you weren't making it up?

I promise.

Were they happy?

They were happy here.

Are you happy?

Of course.

Me too.

Do you think they can hear us?

Who?

The girls. The voices.

Maybe they did. Or they will.

Or they do.