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Chapter 14: The Unfortunate Swap: Part 2: The Chapter of Stress, Truths, and Hallway Conversations
Disclaimer - Do you seriously think that Remus would be alone, Peter would have betrayed, and Lily, James and Sirius would all be dead if I owned the Harry Potter series? Think about it.
A/N - Remember that this is my story to write however I please just in hope that for some odd reason some people will find it entertaining. Well if you're reading this right now, then you rock. Ok, here it comes. This is my warning to you...be prepared for this chapter. Be very prepared. I hope you thoroughly enjoy it however, and remember - all feedback is welcome. Now grab some ice cream, dim the lights, and read on.
’Oh please, oh please, oh please, be strong enough to repel the Veritaserum,’ Lily found herself desperately thinking as she watched Sirius start to speak anyways, knowing that what she was thinking would do no good to the situation at hand.
As she glanced over to her right she saw James looking over at who he thought was Lily, eagerly awaiting ‘her’ answer along with the rest of the fifth years. Remus she saw had widened his eyes and was trying to discretely mouth to Sirius to keep his mouth shut at the moment. But it was doing no good, as Sirius didn’t seem to understand what he was saying or what he was about to say.
Lily closed her eyes as she heard her own voice start to speak monotonously and smoothly from the other side of the circle.
“I have been acting weird lately because I have been under a lot of stress.”
Lily opened her eyes in pure shock and happiness once she had heard the words that Sirius had said. He hadn’t spilled their secret at all, and what was better, he had even given an answer that Lily herself would have given. She made a mental note to congratulate Sirius later for being able to repel the Veritaserum potion, which she knew only a very powerful wizard could accomplish. Just as she was starting to relax however, she heard Lindsay speak again.
“All right fair enough, Lily. But what are you so stressed about then?” she asked.
Lily held her breath and wanted to kick herself for relaxing. Sirius was supposed to be under the potion for a couple of minutes, and only about thirty seconds had gone by since he had downed his spoonful. Hoping that he really was repelling the potion, she waited along with everyone else for his answer that came almost immediately without any hesitation at all, making Lily somewhat worry.
As soon as he said his first sentence, Lily knew that he was actually under the influence of the Veritaserum and couldn’t lie.
“Well, firstly, my brother won’t believe me when I tell him that everything my parents have ever told him is wrong, and when he finally starts to be seeing reason, some Slytherin comes along and makes him hate me again. Secondly, my best friend feels that I’m not as close to him anymore, and I have no idea why. It’s been really hard to have to lie to the other marauders, especially James, because lying to each other is just something that we never do. I feel that Prongs is going to hate me once he finds out the truth. Third, it’s rather hard to be a convincing girl when I’ve been brought up as a boy for the better part of my life. I want to be switched back into my old self before everything in my life goes more and more downhill, but Lily’s being stubborn and is refusing to switch back any time soon. And fourth to add to my list of stress, I have recently figured out who Lily fancies, and it bothers me because this boy is not the right one who she should be with. Oh, and to top it off, I haven’t had a detention in weeks,” Sirius said very fluently and fast.
About three seconds after he stopped his little speech, Lily watched as the potion seemed to wear off, bringing Sirius back to his senses.
As it turned out, he hadn’t been powerful enough to repel the Veritaserum.
Sirius quickly brought a hand up to his mouth and wore a horrified expression on his face, clearly realizing what had just come out of his mouth. Lily too was wearing a similar expression on her face, except that her eyes were narrowed.
“Damnit, Sirius!” she said, before she even realized what she was saying.
Well, if the secret hadn’t been blown before…
Her hand automatically flew up to her mouth as well so now they looked like two very horrified twins.
The rest of the circle hadn’t made any sound yet, but wore similar expressions of confusion on their faces as they all shifted their gaze to Remus as if expecting answers.
Remus, who had been biting his lip, looked from Lily to Sirius, and noticing that neither of them was in any state to say anything, felt it his turn to say something.
The circle waited as Remus thought of something to say to answer all of their unanswered questions. But no excuses were coming to his mind.
“Well, no one can repel the Veritaserum potion. So we have to agree that what was just said was true,” he said, careful not to say ‘he’ or ‘she’, because he didn’t know which one to use anymore.
Again, no one said anything.
Lily and Sirius both turned their gaze to James to see if they could read the expression on his face because he had reason to be the most confused out of all of them.
He seemed to be in his own little world and it looked to them as if he was trying desperately to place together a puzzle in his head with the information he had just been given. All of a sudden, he turned to Remus and spoke.
“There’s no way that was the truth, Remus, I mean it makes no sense at all. She must have been speaking on her own free will,” he said as he raised his eyebrows expecting to be told by Remus that Lily had just been joking around or something.
“She was under the potion, James. You saw her go into a kind of trance, and then snap back into reality after a couple of minutes,” Remus said reasonably, “those are the telltale signs of Veritaserum.”
“But,” James said, not knowing at all how to finish that sentence, “she sounded exactly like…”
But Lily found her voice at last, and with one meaningful look over at Sirius, stood up and stopped James in midsentence.
“James, can we see you in the corridor for a second?” she asked as she watched Sirius stand up to on the other side of the circle.
“But…” James started again before Lily and Sirius walked over to him and picked him up by his arms so that he was now standing with them.
“Remus,” Sirius said, “us three are taking ourselves out of the game, but feel free to continue.”
There was no need for him to point when he said ‘us three’ for it was painfully obvious to everyone in their circle who the ‘three’ were that he was referring to.
Lily and Sirius linked arms with James and walked him to the portrait hole, leaving behind the dreadful silence by the fire.
They all stepped out into the hallway before Lily and Sirius let go of the grasp on James’ arms. They knew that they were going to have to explain something to him, because he looked about as confused as ever.
Sirius also knew that James was about to get extremely mad when he heard what they were about to say, and was not looking forward to being cursed by his best friend.
Lily on the other hand, had just been getting used to the un-arrogant, friendly side of James, and was not looking forward herself to having to go back to fighting with him and his temper.
“Look, Lily, we have to go tell Dumbledore that our cover has been blown so that he can switch us back,” Sirius was saying, ignoring the unreadable looks that James was giving him.
“Sirius, what’s going on?” James asked Lily who was tucking Sirius’ black hair behind her ears at the moment.
Apparently James trusted that Sirius, at least, would tell him exactly what was happening.
But Lily ignored him and looked over at Sirius.
“But I don’t want to switch…” she started before she noticed Sirius giving her a death glare.
“Don’t finish that sentence, Evans. It’s time,” he said as he started walking down the hallway, leaving Lily and James standing still in front of the portrait hole.
“Where are you going, Lily?” James asked as he brought his hand up to his forehead, clearly confused as he watched the redhead walk away.
Sirius stopped in his tracks, turned around, and addressed James’ question.
If James was going to be mad at him later on anyways…
“Look Prongs, it’s me! Can’t you tell? I know you’ve noticed that something has been wrong lately. Well, you were right. I’m Padfoot, not Lily Evans. And I’m going to Dumbledore to get my body back,” he said before he turned around and started walking again.
Lily grabbed James’ hand and ran after Sirius with him, not caring if it looked weird to everyone else that James Potter and Sirius Black were running down the hallway together holding hands.
After keeping a safe distance behind Sirius who seemed to take every shortcut that he knew to get to the headmaster’s office, they watched him stop in front of the stone gargoyle.
Lily walked up to where Sirius was standing, dragging James along with her who looked upset at being the only one still confused, and stood right beside him. It seemed odd to Lily that just moments before, they had all been here watching her sing Christmas carols to the headmaster. Any embarrassment she had felt then had now completely disappeared and had been replaced with worry.
James hadn’t said anything since Sirius had told him who he really was outside of the portrait hole, and Lily was starting to seriously wonder how he could stay so calm.
Sirius seemed to be thinking along the same lines.
“Look James, I know this won’t mean a thing to you right now because you probably still don’t have any idea what I’m talking about, but I’m sorry. We’re sorry. Come with us, Dumbledore will make everything right again, and then you can yell at me,” Sirius said before he turned to the stone gargoyle, “Lemonade Lollipops.”
As soon as the staircase was revealed, Sirius jumped onto it, motioning the other two to follow. Lily immediately ran onto it and was standing next to Sirius before she realized that James was not behind her.
“James,” Sirius said as he looked at his friend.
“You’re kidding, right Lily? Or Padfoot, if that’s what you’re calling yourself now? I’m not going up there with you two,” he said as he gave them a look that told them that he thought they were being crazy.
Sirius rolled his eyes, hopped off of the staircase and walked over to where James was standing. He grabbed his arm and dragged him onto the staircase.
“We’re telling the truth, but you have to find out for yourself,” he said as they got carried by the stairs up to the headmasters office.
Sirius, who had let go of James already, stepped up to the big brown door, and pushed it open, not caring at all if he was interrupting anything.
He was the first to walk into the room, and noticed right away where Professor Dumbledore was. He was sitting at his desk going over what looked like some old piece of parchment. His eyes had quickly darted up when Sirius had forcefully entered his office, and he was now smiling at someone who looked like Lily Evans but was in fact Sirius Black.
Dumbledore was about to speak when Lily came bursting into the room just as Sirius had done except that she, unlike him, had a confused James Potter walking slowly behind her.
“Sirius! Lily! And…ah,” Dumbledore said as he watched James walk slowly into his office, clearly lost in thought.
Sirius flopped down in one of the chairs behind Dumbledore’s desk, leaned his head back and put his hands on his face.
“Well, the secret is out,” he said to the headmaster who was watching him intently.
Lily was reminded briefly of a therapist. It looked like Sirius was laying on his chair, about to tell all of his problems to ‘Therapist Dumbledore’. But before she could laugh, or even smile, Dumbledore started talking and she was brought back to the current situation at hand.
“Well that’s not good,” Dumbledore said playfully as he cast a twinkling eye over to James who was listening extremely carefully to every word that was being said, trying to understand the meaning of what he thought to be a practical joke.
“We’re ready to be turned back now,” Sirius said as he lifted his head to look Dumbledore in the eyes.
“Are you now?” Dumbledore said as he smiled at Sirius and invited Lily and James to sit down as well, “what happened, miss Evans?” he asked Lily once she had sat down next to Sirius.
Lily told Dumbledore the whole story about the Truth or Dare game, including what Sirius had said while under the Veritaserum, not leaving out the fact that every fifth year in Gryffindor now knew about the switch. She had conveniently forgot to mention that Sirius had said that one of the reasons he was stressed was because he had figured out who she fancied.
James still sat as quiet as ever, as if he wanted to get all of the information before he said something stupid.
“You may or may not recall Sirius that you two were supposed to learn lessons by being in each other’s bodies. If you have learned them, then you may of course switch back,” Dumbledore said as he looked over at Sirius who was not at all pleased with Dumbledore’s answer.
“Look, it doesn’t matter if we learned any lessons or not yet. I need to sort out some things in my life as soon as possible and I can’t do that in Lily’s body. I messed up with some things, and some people,” Sirius started and he looked over at James when he said that, “and being in Lily’s body made me realize that I need to finally start fixing and facing what I’ve been putting off for so long.”
Dumbledore raised his eyebrows at Sirius once he had finished talking.
“That was my lesson, wasn’t it?” he said as he looked guiltily into the headmaster’s eyes one more.
Dumbledore nodded which caused Sirius to smile in spite of him. Dumbledore never ceased to amaze him.
“What are your thoughts, Lily?” Dumbledore asked Lily who had been kind of surprised that Sirius had learnt his lesson after all.
“Well, I don’t really want to switch back yet,” she said quietly which caused James to look over at her and Sirius to roll his eyes.
“Oh?” Dumbledore said, urging her to continue speaking.
“Yes. Look, here’s the thing,” she started, not caring if what she was about to say sounded stupid to any of them, “I got to spend so much time with the other…erm…marauders these past couple of days, and I’ve learned so much about them that I’ve never known before. I guess it’s just been fun to be a marauder that’s all; they’re such good friends to each other, Professor! I’ve never had a relationship like that with my friends before, and I’m not ready to go back to ignoring the lot of them again,” she finished and then looked sheepishly down at the ground.
These words seemed to be the first convincing ones that James had heard so far, for his eyes were now widened as far as they could go. It seemed as though he was finally starting to piece together the puzzle.
“Wait a minute, it was you…I was telling you…that’s not…” James stuttered before he stopped talking and his face turned a brilliant shade of red.
“Yes, James, it has been Lily who you have been spending your time with lately,” Dumbledore said with a happy voice.
Clearly he was at least pleased with how the situation was turning out.
Sirius had turned to Lily however with narrowed eyebrows, ignoring James and his embarrassment.
“Lily, what makes you think that you have to stop being friends with us after we switch back?” Sirius asked quietly.
“Well don’t you think it will be weird, Sirius? It’s probably just easier if, when we switch back, we all just go back to the way things were before,” Lily answered reasonably.
“You know we can’t do that, Evans. You know too many marauder secrets!” Sirius said in his joking way before letting a smirk place itself on his face.
James’ face went an even deeper shade of red, while Dumbledore merely smiled.
“So Lily, am I right in concluding that once you spent a little time with James here and his friends, you learned that they are a little different then you previously thought?” Dumbledore said thoughtfully yet a little eagerly.
“Well…yes, that’s right. I guess that I realized, with a little help from Sirius that is, that I’m not any better then them after all,” Lily said as realization dawned on her just at it had dawned on Sirius earlier, “that was my lesson, wasn’t it?”
Dumbledore smiled, and Sirius was one again impressed at the brilliant mind of his headmaster. Only Dumbledore could get Lily Evans to admit that maybe she had been wrong about James Potter.
“Now if you two would kindly stand on opposite sides of the room,” Dumbledore said as he stood up and took his wand out.
Lily and Sirius both stood up and walked to opposite corners before they turned around and faced each other.
“Just out of curiosity sir,” Sirius began as he watched Dumbledore walk around his desk, “when me and Remus told you about the Truth or Dare game that we were planning, did you know that this was going to happen?”
Dumbledore’s blue eyes twinkled and a thin, mischievous smile played on his lips.
Sirius smiled at the silent answer he had been given. He noticed James staring at Dumbledore, clearly in awe of him as well.
‘I guess you were right, James’ Lily thought to herself as she saw Dumbledore stop in-between her and Sirius, ‘Dumbledore must have been a past marauder’.
“All right, ready?” Dumbledore asked them as he raised his want in preparation.
James was now sitting on the edge of his seat, eagerly awaiting the advanced magic that was about to be performed.
Lily merely nodded.
“Wait, Professor!” Sirius exclaimed as he shoved his hand into Lily’s robes that he was wearing. Within seconds he had found what he had been looking for.
Lily couldn’t hold back laughter at this point, and watched with raised eyebrows as Sirius coated ‘his’ lips with her faithful vanilla lipgloss one last time.
“Only you, Sirius,” Lily said once he had put the gloss back into his robes.
Dumbledore looked mildly amused as he waited for Sirius to finish the task. James, on the other hand, had what looked to be a disgusted look on his face.
“Ready,” Sirius chimed in, causing Lily to stop laughing and James to lose his disappointed look that he had been giving his friend.
“Well you know the drill then. On the count of three, I think,” Dumbledore said as he pointed his wand in the middle of the room in the center of where they were standing, “One…two,” Lily and Sirius once more felt the familiar sensation of themselves leaving the body that they were in until, “three.”
Lily blinked and smelled the scent of Vanilla very clearly now. She looked carefully at the person standing across from her. It wasn’t her own body anymore, it was Sirius’.
“Wait, what just happened?” James asked, obviously wondering what had just happened since he hadn’t felt the experience of leaving his body like Lily and Sirius had.
“I believe that the rightful owners have returned to their bodies,” Dumbledore said as he walked back behind his desk, wand in his hand, and sat down once more.
Lily!” Sirius exclaimed as he ran across the room and engulfed Lily in a huge hug, “we’re normal again!”
Lily laughed, which was kind of hard to do since Sirius had been squeezing her so hard that it was difficult to breath, let alone laugh.
James brought a hand up to his hair as he watched along with Dumbledore, the happy looks on the faces of Lily and Sirius.
“Well, I won’t keep you from enjoying the evening,” Dumbledore began, “you are all free to go. Lily, Sirius, I’ll give you the option of telling the Gryffindors whatever you like. Thank you for participating in my little experiment,” he said and then offered them, with an outstretched hand, a bowl of candies that had not been on his desk previously.
“Thank you, thank you, Professor!” Sirius said, clearly very happy to be back in his body.
He was currently running his fingers through the facial hair that Lily had forgotten to shave, while grinning like a maniac.
“Yes thank you, Sir,” Lily added as she saw Sirius start to walk to the door.
Lily started walking to the door too after she had waited for James to stand up from his chair as well. For the second or third time that evening, she couldn’t keep track at the moment; she couldn’t read James’ face. Letting him go in front of her, they walked onto the staircase, and let it carry them down to the hallway again. Sirius was standing there waiting for them, smile sill intact.
“James, I’m back! And I’ve got a great idea for our next prank! But before we do that we need to work on your flirting skills. Quite frankly I was a little scared of you the past couple of days,” Sirius said as he walked over to James and hugged him as well.
He had definately missed being a marauder and now wanted to start spending as much time with James as he possibly could.
James didn’t return the hug, but instead looked at his friend in a way that Lily had never seen before.
It almost looked like disappointment to her, but she couldn’t be sure. She walked off to the side, letting them have their ‘moment’.
“How could you not have told me something this important, Sirius?” James asked staring directly into Sirius’ eyes.
Lily watched the smile fade quickly from Sirius’ face.
“Look mate, Dumbledore made us swear not to tell anyone…” he began.
“Well, Remus obviously knew,” James cut him off.
Sirius found himself a little speechless.
“I…well…it’s not like that, James. I would have told you if I could have,” Sirius said knowing that James wasn’t going to believe him.
James looked for a moment like he was going to accept Sirius’ word, but then he narrowed his eyes and sighed.
“It’s not like I would have told anyone, God, Sirius you made me an idiot out of me! Is that what friends do? I thought you trusted me more then this, that’s all,” he said coldly before adding, “and if you are under so much stress, then why did you keep it to yourself? I’m glad you were under truth potion tonight, Padfoot, because at least I got to find out what’s been going on in my friend’s life lately,” James finished before he walked in the other direction, leaving Sirius and Lily alone in front of the Dumbledore’s staircase.
Their happy feelings suddenly lost.
Once James was around the corner and out of sight, Sirius turned to Lily.
“I told you he’d hate me,” Sirius said softly.
“I never said he wouldn’t. At least he’s not embarrassed about unknowingly spending so much time with me anymore,” Lily added trying to conceal a smile.
Sirius just sighed.
Lily, knowing that he was about to go after James and try to restore their friendship at any moment, decided to ask the question that had first came to her mind when she had heard him speak back in the common room.
“Sirius,” she began slowly.
“Ya?” He asked and looked at her, clearly interested.
“Before, when you were under the potion…well, you said that you recently found out who I fancied,” she said, not feeling as embarrassed as she knew she should be at the moment.
“Right,” he said, not saying anything else.
“Well, who do you think I fancy, then?” She asked, getting a little annoyed at his shortness with her.
“Look, Remus told me,” he said before he stopped at the look on Lily’s face, “News travels fast with the marauders.”
“But…wow, you seem to know everything lately, Sirius,” she said.
“And you forget that I stumbled across your diary. But don’t change the subject, Lily,” he said tilting his head as he did so, letting his black hair fall in front of his eyes, “what did you really want to talk about?”
Lily shuffled her feet before she answered.
“Well, I don’t think that he really likes me back. I mean he said that he did and everything...” she stared but stopped as Sirius had started talking.
“He did?” Sirius said surprised.
“Erm…yes. But do you think that he was just being nice or something, Sirius?” she asked wanting Sirius’ advice more then ever.
“Actually Lily, I’ve been thinking that Remus has had feelings for you for a while now,” Sirius said quietly, a little distracted from the words James had said that were currently going through his mind.
That was not what Lily thought was coming.
“You did? But how come I never noticed before then?” she asked a little skeptically.
“Because James has been after you as well. Who can compete with James Potter, right? But seriously Lily, if you know Remus at all, then you'll know that he’s not going to act on his ‘feelings’ any further,” Sirius started, bringing his fingers up to show pretend quotation marks as he had said feelings, “he knows how much James likes you.”
Lily smiled in spite of everything, every conversation she had with a marauder seemed to always come back to James. And although this fact used to annoy her like nothing else could, she now found it oddly amusing.
“But what if I like Remus more then I like James?” she asked, “don’t I get a say in this?”
Sirius simply smiled.
“Remus won’t ask you to be his girlfriend as long as he is friends with James. And, quite frankly, I wouldn’t let you go out with him even if he did feel like betraying one of his best friends one day,” Sirius said, still smiling.
“Oh really?” Lily said in a mock angry voice.
“How about this, Lily. Now that you’ve told Remus that you ‘think’ you like him, and he told you the same, you can both move on, all right? I want you to suck in your pride and give James a chance,” he said, knowing that he was possibly being more hopeful then he could afford.
Lily waited half a second before she gave her well rehearsed answer.
“Sirius! It’s not that easy, I’ve been fighting with James for like five years, I can’t just change my impression of him that quickly. Why don't you go and tell him to change his arrogant ways before you come here and tell me to give him a chance that he doesn't yet deserve,” she said.
“I know you’ve seen a new side of him, how could you not? He doesn’t act like an idiot when he thinks that he’s just talking to me. He just tries to impress you, you know that. Come on, Lily,” he urged.
Lily closed her eyes and tried to picture herself being nice to James. It was different now that she was in her own body. And besides, she had fun when she fought with him and teased him. But until James stopped being...well James, Lily found it extremely hard to even imagine giving him a chance. The stupid smirk and ruffled hair kept coming to her mind.
“Sirius, I can’t,” she said forcefully.
“Give it a try. Humor me,” Sirius answered.
Lily rolled her eyes but did not say anything. James and her were total opposites, a friendship between them would never work.
Sirius, taking the break in their conversation to remember that he was still standing in the hallway in front of Dumbledore’s office, widened his eyes and turned to Lily again.
“Oh my God, I have to go find James. See if we can still be friends…I mean, he's right, I did kind of make an idiot out of him,” he said quietly.
“You’re the infamous Sirius and James. The brothers. Never seen without the other. If you can’t work this out, then there’s little hope for the rest of us,” Lily said kindly in a humorous voice.
Sirius thought about her words for a second before he smiled again.
“You’re right. I can fix this,” he said as he reached his arms up to give her a hug.
Lily hugged him back.
“By the way, I’m glad it was you who I got to switch with, Lily,” Sirius said, still hugging her.
“Same here, Padfoot,” Lily said as she let go of him.
As Sirius was bringing his arms back down from around her neck, his shirt rode up a little and they both noticed at the same time the top of the red silk boxers that were showing just above the waistline on his jeans, through his open cloak.
Sirius looked down at the boxers he knew did not belong to him, and smirked as he met Lily’s gaze.
“All I said was for you to humor me. I just wanted you to start being nicer to James, Lily. You didn’t have to go wearing his boxers.”
And with that, he ran down the hallway to start his search of James. He hoped that James had had a little time to cool off since the last time they had talked.
Lily stood alone in the empty hallway and smiled as she ran her fingers through her hair. She had noticed in all her time in Sirius’ body that he had not ever straightened the red hair he had had, and she wondered the reason. She also noted the painted nails that she now had, each one a different color. Lily laughed to herself.
She then started to think about what Sirius had just said to her about Remus and James. She stopped her laughter and sighed in frustration instead, not knowing what to do with either of them at the moment.
Reaching her hand into her robes just as Sirius had done, she pulled out her tube of lipgloss and unscrewed the lid. Suddenly, as if the smell of vanilla had triggered it, she had a flashback from a time not too long ago when she had been in Sirius’ body.
“But I don’t understand. How does her smell have anything to do with you thinking that she’s starting to like you?” Lily asked, causing James to stop smelling the air and put on his trademark smirk.
“Well my friend, it’s simple. You may not have noticed, though how can someone not, but lately Lily has been smelling strongly of vanilla. Ah, sweet vanilla,” he finished as to remember the smell before he continued, “Well pretty much everyone in Gryffindor has known for a long time that my most favorite smell in the whole world is vanilla.”
The flashback ended. Lily shook her head before applying a rather thick layer of lipgloss onto her already glossed lips. Smiling, she started the walk back to the Gryffindor common room.
A/N - So whoever guessed that this was coming in this chapter...well you are very gifted. This story 'aint over, don't worry. Humor is still the 'name of the game', lol, and this is a L/J fic after all. *rubs hands together*...I look forward to your comments.
(by the way...you can un-dim the lights now)