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Chapter 9: Chapter 9: Arrival
A/N: So I know it seems confusing that Lily and James are not yet a couple. I wanted to show that it is rarely one thing and one moment in which two people get together. Often a first kiss is before you would call someone your girlfriend or boyfriend. I imagine that Lily and James talked about their relationship a few times and Lily was adament that it wasn't safe. I hope the back and forth and dragged out inevitability was fairly clear here.
Chapter 9: Arrival
James changed quickly and Lily joined him in the compartment. When she sat in the chair across the desk from him, he smiled and touched a glowing light on a pedestal that held a non descript statue bust. Slowly the statue morphed into the image of Professor McGonagal.
"Miss Evans, Mr. Potter. Good day," Lily gave a slight start as the Professor's voice came from the talking statue in her image. "Miss Evans, Potter will explain this to you later. Congratulations on becoming Head Boy and Girl, you will perform admirably. Now Lily, you will explain to James about prefect rules and duties. James, you will show Miss Evans your quarters, I will save you the trouble and just tell you the password, it is 'fawn'," Lily's eyebrowsed shot to her hairline and James gave her his cocky marauder smile. Professor McGonagal continued, "then you will have to decide on passwords and patrol scheduled. Any questions?" The students shook their hads. "Good, see you at the feast." Professor McGonagal smiled her tight smile and the statue returned to its original state.
"What is that thing? Do you thing she knows about us? How do you know about the Head quarters? We have separate dorms from everyone else? How are we going to think of passwords?" Lily rounded on James who put his hands up, surprised.
"Uh... what was the first question?" James cocked his head at her. Lily hit him on the shoulder. "This is called a statua dissero. It allows two wizards who each own one to communicate with no fireplace and it cannot be monitered. They're very expensive."
"Does your family own one?" Lily smirked.
"Yes, they do. And Professor McGonagall certainly knows about us." James grinned back. "I know about the Head common room and quarters because I'm a marauder and we've snuck in loads of time. Also, I have some ideas for passwords." James' mouth turned into a mischevious smile with a devilish glint in his eyes.
"No!" Lily said firmly, but his smile didn't fade. Just then a knock at the door startled them and disrupted their train of thought. Remus stepped in once Lily said it was open. He looked slightly embarrased and rubbing the back of his neck he sighed.
"I've been sent because we heard the two of you were snogging," Remus said calmly. To Lily time stood still, she was not ready to be with James and her friends would never let her hear the end of it if they knew she'd kissed him and still wasn't with him. She froze, unsure what to say or do. Luckily James didn't miss a beat.
"No Moony," James shrugged to his friend, running his hand through his hair. "As much as I wish I were snogging Evans here, that's a vicious rumor started by Lara Grembling, remember her?" Remus nodded in reply, James continued, "I turned her down - again and Lily happened to be there." Remus nodded again, accepting the explaination though he had seen Lily's reaction, he turned to leave, but stopped and looked back over his shoulder.
"You two will tell us, won't you?" Remus looked at the two of them intently.
"Of course," Lily smiled, finally recovered. Remus seemed to accept her anwer and left.
"You owe me again, Evans," James teased arrogantly.
"Git." They spent the next few minutes going over prefect rules and duties and talking about their own responsibilities. Soon the prefect meeting started and only had to be stopped once to tell everyone that they had not in fact snogged. The meeting was quick and James and Lily soon found themselves back in the Head's compartment discussing passwords.
"No James, it can't be vulgar," Lily sighed for probably the tenth time. "Oh, I know, let's use a muggle word for Slytherin." James grinned devilishly at her.
"Lily, that is why I fell for you."
"How about... computer?" Lily smiled
"Oh, a machine that does computations and you can write in it."
"Like a book, or a quill?"
"No, you type on a keyboard and words and numbers come up on a screen, called a monitor. It does most of the work for you."
"I have no idea what you are talking about," James really did look utterly confused, then he broke into a wide grin, "it's perfect." In the end they decided on 'computer' for Slytherin, 'Phoenix tears' for Griffindor and 'hippgriff treat' for Hufflepuff. Ravenclaw, of course, needed no password. They quickly worked up a patrol schedule for September and decided to meet the coming Saturday to finish more scheduling such as Hogsmeade dates, prefect meetings and confrences with the Heads of Houses. They were halfway to school by the time they were about to join their friends.
"Angela, GET OFF!" Peter was screaming as Sirius and Remus roared with laughter. Angela was smiling, full of self satisfaction. Aria and Ella were trying very hard not to laugh, they were not succeeding. "I am very uncomfortable!" Peter whipmered.
"Peter, you need to get used to more forward women," Angela lectured. Remus and Sirius could barely stay in their seats. James only breifly wondered what led to this unique situation before shrugging and sitting down. Lily looked very confused.
"Angela? What is going on?" Lily had to ask.
"Wormtail here admitted that he gets so nervous when women touch him, he sometimes farts. I'm simply trying to help him over come his anxiety." James was laughing now, even Lily had to bite her cheeks to keep from laughing out lout. "Meet the problem head on - Right Peter?" Angela smiled and swatted his hip below her.
"AHHH! Get off! I'm gonna fart again!" No one could contain themselves, they all roared with laughter, falling to the floor. Angela worked hard to help Peter with his little problem, though everyone else thought she just succeeded in making the compartment smell. After a while she gave up on Peter and turned to the others in attempts to help them. She tried to get Ella to say something really mean to someone, not just smart but something really mean. All they were able to accomplish was her telling Angela that she was 'too pushy'. Giving up on Ella as well, Angela did manage to get Aria to admit she was 'fairly attractive', which is a big step for the overly modest beauty. She worked hard on getting Lily and James to admit deeper feelings to each other, or at least give each other a peck but that attempt was fairly futile. She promised Sirius and Remus that their turns were coming, but as they arrived at the Hogsmeade station, they didn't have time on the train.
They all piled into one horseless carriage for their last ride up to the castle. Still giggling and extremely excited for their school year they enjoyed the carriage ride in relative peace, though with the marauders relative peace was what any other person may consider chaos. They laughed and joked and Sirius kept pulling snacks out of his robes. Lily had been sitting quietly for a minute or two, James was watching her, knowing a fairly random but probably poignent comment was about to be made. Sure enough a few seconds later Lily cocked her head and refocused on the group.
"Have you ever wondered how these carriages are pulled?" Lily asked out of the blue. James smiled to himself, she always did that.
"My dad says they're pulled by magical creatures called threstals," Ella commented calmly.
"They are," Angela said, unusually quiet. "They can fly, they have wings. They kind of look like horses, but not. They are very sweet and gentle." Angela leaned out and looked to the front of the carriage. The friends looked at her curiously.
"You can see them, Angela?" Peter finally asked cautiously.
"Yes, I've always been able to," Angela shrugged, looking calmly back at her friends, "we had them at my school in the states as well."
"A person who has seen death can see them," James said calmly and quietly to her.
"Oh," was all Angela could say, looking back at the creature pulling the carriage.
"Ang..." Remus put his hand on her leg. She turned to him, tears welling in her eyes. She smiled and wiped her eyes. "You've helped all of us, plus we're at school now. We are as safe as we could ever be."
"Do you know why you don't meet many witches or wizards from the US?" Angela spoke quietly after a minute. The others shook their heads. "We have a history of unacceptance of anything different. It isn't as easy as just keeping a secret there. The Salem Witch Trials really happened, and they really did kill many witches and wizards. The history that muggles in America are taught is that it was a religious fanatic movement and most of the 'witches' were innocent girls.
"That isn't the truth. Muggles have a secret organization called Fairstream or Section 13. They believe that witches and wizards are trying to take over the world and rule everyone. They fear us. They have found ways to counter our spells and hexes, wards and curses. We can't confound them and we can't use muggle repelent charms. They are always hunting us. Luckily they haven't been able to figure out tracing.
"Before we came here, we were doing alright. We had a coven of 2 families, it usually worked better to stay in small groups. It was me, my mom and dad and my brother. My dad's sister and her husband and son were all that was left of our family. My mom's best friend from school was the other family in our coven. She was married with twins, a boy and girl. Her brother, who was single also lived with us. All told, there were 12 of us. We followed all the rules, in school we learned the rules, never travel with more than 20 in a coven, never live in the same place for more that six months and always live as much like muggles as you can. It was summer break and we were living in Texas at the time. We were discovered." Angela's voice broke as the tears became uncontrolable. Remus put his arm around her. She took a deep breath and continued. "I saw them all die from the closet my aunt had shoved me and my brother in. My parents were at work. They killed them all before my parents could get back. Our parents found us and took us away, we moved here as refugees two days later." Angela swallowed and continued, "though that wasn't the first time I saw death, I was 7 when they killed my mom's brother, he had taken me to the park-" she broke off, unable to continue. Remus pulled her into a tight hug as she calmed her crying.
"Angela... I'm so sorry," Ella leaned across and rubbed her back. None of them had ever thought to ask about her youth. Angela was always so upbeat and fun. It seemed that sorrow never touched her. They arrived at the castle and stepped out of the carriage, Remus with his arm still around Angela. She smiled at him.
"I'm fine, you guys. It's sad and it isn't right, but we've learned how to deal with it. There was nothing I could have done, I was either to young or when I was old enough I chose to save my brother. I miss them and I do miss the states but I have you all now and I really am okay. My brother, my parents they understand and that is one of the biggest things to have when life is hard, someone who understands. I don't feel alone, it's the people who have to go through things with no one to understand them that I feel really bad for."
"Angela, you must be one of the strongest people I know," Aria smiled at her.
"No, really I'm just like all of you. Sirius, you grew up in an environment that was not understanding, but you found James and Remus and Peter that you can depend on and that understand you. Remus, you should be angry and distrustful of people for shunning you but the marauders again showed you devotion and understanding. Those are just the two most obvious exaples, Lily your sister and Ella your childhood friend. We all have things in our life that could turn us depressed or angry or vengfull, but we have people who love... yes love, and care about us so we can be strong." Angela had stopped halfway through the entrance hall and looked at her friends.
"Aww, Angie that's so sappy," Sirius cooed, she hit him as they all laughed and headed into the great hall for the welcome feast. As they sat at the Griffindor table, they looked at one another and the thoughts and feelings from the summer flitted in their minds and they realized the truth of Angela's words. They also realized the safety and security the castle offered, the reassurance of Dumbledore's presence and the weight that seemed to be lifted from them as the comfort of their surroundings eased their war trodden and troubled young minds.
The sorting ceremony started with the hat's song. They listened in rapt attention.
Four founders this school did have
With different values each
A love of learning bound them all
Young wizards they aimed to teach.
Bold Griffindor, kind yet strong
He was as feirce as fire
He battled hard for friend and love
These traits he did desire
Sweet Hufflepuff with arms wide open
Had knowledge and love abound
Though her only hope and dream was
To share these gifts around.
Fair Ravenclaw, wise and sharp
Thought knowledge should be shared
With those whose wit could match her own
For another blessing she never cared.
Shrewd Slytherin, determined and amitious
The purest blood of ancient line
He thought had claim to knowledge,
True wizards and witches live with the serpent's sign.
But now the founders four ar gone,
Though they left behind this tale
That we have taken upon ourselves
Whose fight may defeat us all, it may be that none prevail.
Pure and dirty, right or wrong
A storm is surely brewing
This war will last for years to come
It may be our undoing
So choose you friends with greatest care
Regardless of their race or house
Your lives are in their hands
The smallest act may tip the scale and be our saving grace.
While love is true
Hope always remains,
Though we don't see it's end,
In the blood within his veins.
Alone he stands to others tall
A golden trio to light our way,
Will he win or will he fall,
Very few of us will see that day.
Oh Salazar and Godric
Once you were great friends,
Rowena and dear Helga,
One day your fight we'll end.
The entire hall sat in silence. The hat always had a new song, but this one was so dark and mysterious. No one was sure what it meant. What did someone's blood and love and war have to do with sorting? And who was this 'him' the hat referred to? Finally as the silence stretched on Albus Dumbledore stood.
"Professor, please commence with the sorting," his words seemed to jolt Professor McGonagal out of a trance. She nodded and called the first name. The sorting went quickly amidst cheers and calls for the first years joining their new houses. Soon the Headmaster was on his feet again for the start of term speech.
"I am glad to see you all back. Though war ensues and grows outside these walls, in here let love and learning fill your hearts and minds. We've lost it's true, though more can be gained in the end. Do not dispair, do not weep for here amazement lives. Oh, and nunquam challenge a giant per a calx."
Everyone laughed and clapped and food appeared in great quanities on the four long tables. They ate heartily. Lily and James handed out passwords to prefects. The Slytherin prefect nearly steamed out of his ears when Lily gave him their password.
"That isn't even a real word!" he was furrious.
"It is and it's probably the most secure password. We want you well protected after all," Lily cooed sweetly, turning on her heel, eying a laughing James across the room. Remus escorted the Gryffindors up to the common room as James took Lily to their new dorm.
"The actual entrance is in the corridor near Dumbledore's office. There are five other doors leading out of our common room, one to each of the house common rooms and one to the prefect meeting room. We use those doors with the passwords for each house." James explained on the way.
"Can we get back into our common room from the house common rooms?"
"Sure," James nodded.
"Where is the door to the head common room from the Gryffindor common room?" Lily cocked her head, clearly trying to remember a door in the Gryffindor common room.
"In the back, around the fireplace." James smiled at her as they approached a tapestry in the corridor just down from the stone gargoyle they knew lead to the Headmaster's office. The tapestry had a small village depicted on it and two red and gold vases stood on either side of it. "Fawn," James said. The tapestry split in the middle and revealed an archway that led to a heavy wooden door which swung open as they approached. They walked in. There was a large cheerful fire going with a couch and loveseat in a rich chocolate brown with red and gold pillows, throws and rugs. Two overstuffed chairs sat in a corner and a library desk with a chair on each side was set under one of the large windows. There were shelves of books. The curtains were red and gold and rich wood gleamed everywhere. On either side of the main door were 2 doors each adorned with the different house colors. There were doors on each of the walls next to that which lead to their sleeping quarters. Each dorm had a large 4-post bed with heavy curtains, a wardrobe and a desk. They each had a nice bathroom off their rooms. There were 2 more doors leading from the common room, one that James knew led to the prefect's lounge and the other he was surprised to find led to the library.
"Welcome and cheers!" a voice from the far wall called, causing the pair to start, raising their wands quickly. "Oh ho, relax. I mean no offense," a plesantly round, slightly flushed man in purple robes in a portrait frame smiled widely at them. He raised his glass full of a smokey colored liquid to them and then took a sip.
"Oh, hi... uh who are you?" Lily asked cautiously.
"Sir Mulligan at your service, though you may call me Evan if you wish. I am the Head's advisor."
"Well, a pleasure, Evan," James nodded.
"Ah! Yes I remember you. Though I never expected to see you in here legitimatly," the man's eyes gleamed to James. "Oh, I can tell you my secret now, if you can answer my riddle correctly I will grant you access to a special door."
"Alright," James smiled as Lily nodded eagerly.
"I'll go easy seeing as it's your first one."
"You mean you have a new one every time we want to go through the door?" James questioned.
"Oh yes, what else is there for me to do than come up with riddles? Okay, here it is: What word can be written forward, backward or upside down and still be read from left to right?" Lily and James looked at each other and thought for a minute. Lily sat at the dest and pulled some parchment, a quill, and ink to her. She started scratching on the parchment, James looked over her shoulder. She had written the entire alphabet in upper and lower case letters. She then started crossing of letters until she was left with; H, I, N, O, l, and o.
"You are so methodical," James grinned.
"So-" Lily flushed.
"Don't get mad, I like that about you." Lily blushed and James grinned, still looking over her shoulder. "I got it, NOON!"
"Ooo, I would have gotten it."
"I know, the only reason I could get it is because of your methodical thinking."
"Correct," Evan Mulligan swung open to reveal a simple wooden door. James opened it with Lily on his heels.
"THE KITCHEN!" James was as giddy as a five year old. "We can get to the kitchen whenever we want." He started dancing around with Lily.
"With your demanding schedules, you may need it," Sir Mulligan chortled.
They went back to the common room, thanking the portrait who also informed them that he could see any of the other common rooms and communicate with the Heads of Houses and the Headmaster. They had settled onto the couch to chat for a minute or two when the fire burst green and Albus Dumbledore stepped out.
"Good, you're here. I have to speak breifly with you. I must start by apologizing, I have burdened you greatly this year but it is because I trust you very highly indeed. You have a number of responsibilities; Head duties, NEWTs, Quiddich captain, Order work, the protection of the entire student body and shouldering the emotional strain this year is bound to bring. I must impress upon you however, the importance of happiness. You must find happiness somewhere." Lily and James looked meaningfully at one another, Dumbledore only smiled.
"I have my happiness Professor," James said very plainly. Lily just blushed.
"Good, now I have connected you fireplace to the floo network, which I do not usually do, but it will be necessary. You also have a statua Dissero over there, you can call myself, Alastor Moody, Professor McGonagal or the Potters. We may be using this room as a meeting place for Order business from time to time."
Just then a small knock came from the Ravenclaw door and James and Lily's wands vibrated and glowed blue.
"Oh, that is how you will always know if you are needed. Any knock on the door will trigger it," with that the Headmaster nodded to the pair, then to Evan Mulligan and turned to the fire, grabbing some floo powder from a har on the mantle, "Good evening," and he left. Lily rose and answered the door.
"Can a wizard choose which animal they will transfigure to when they become an animagus?" Lily looked to James, who had stayed on the couch.
"Every wizard or witch has a choice of a number of animals they can initially choose from, but it is limited to a handful and once they choose, you cannot change it," he quoted mechanically.
"Correct," the door swung open and a mousy looking prefect named Jillian Brewer stood looking apprehensive.
"Um, Lily, James I know the you developed a way for any Gryffindor who is being attached to call for help. We want in." James had stood and was now right behind Lily, he nodded.
"Tomorrow after dinner, bring the Ravenclaws to the transfiguration classroom," James said.
"Okay" she squeaked, turning away,
"Let's go to Gryffindor," Lily sighed. Returning to the castle had felt like an escape. The summer had been so fraught with danger and the war was all they could think about it felt as though they could actually enjoy being 17 once they were back at Hogwarts. The Ravenclaw prefect had brought it all rushing back to them. All they wanted was the security of the friends they could count on.
They walked into the Gryffindor common room. James lounged on the sofa and Lily sat on the floor. They talked and laughed quietly with their friends. As the evening wore on no one seemed to be heading to bed, the room was still crowded and the low din had not lessened. Lily had been silent for some time when out of the blue she jumped on the couch and leaned against James. He lazily draped his arm around her and kept up his debate with Sirius as to the best first prank of the year.
James could feel the heat of her body pressed against him. He soon realized she was looking at him, then he felt her breath on his neck. His heart started to race. He turned from Sirius midsentance and looked at her emerald eyes. He saw a lot of things in those eyes, they spoke to him, they always had. Right now they screamed with desire, passion, caring and a resolve that he had never seen before. Suddenly no one else was there but her and him. He turned to really face her, his heart felt like it might burst out of his chest it was pounding so hard.
Lily was sure, finally she had realized with a sudden clarity that if everything fell around her she would be alright as long as she had him, James bloody Potter. She leaned toward him and he lowered his head. They were less than and inch apart. He whispered.
"You remember what I said on the train, right?" She remembered, in fact that was the point. One more kiss and it was a sealed deal. For an answer she pressed her lips against his. He deepened the kiss immediatly, wrapping his arms around her waist. She snaked her hands around his neck, and into his wonderfully messy hair. He leaned to her, laying her back into the empty couch. She allowed him to lay over her, kissing him urgently, even desperately.
Eventually he lifted his lips from her and smiled in that charming, arrogant way and breathed in whisper, "you make me extraordinarily happy." Then the silence that had fallen over the room was suddenly painfully obvious to the couple. All movement and noise had ceased immediately when she kissed him. Just then a cheer went up and wolf-whistles and whoops followed accompanied shortly by their devoted friends suddenly around them and even on top of them yelling about how it was about bloody time.
They didn't care, they were together and the two of them was all that mattered in the world. They laughed and looked into each others eyes. Finally James had to holler, "Sirius, Angela, Peter - GET OFF! I can't hold all of your damn weight up!" James was indeed holding the three friends up with his arms so Lily wouldn't be squashed beneath them. They just laughed and started bouncing. So with a heave and strenuous effort he pushed himself up causing the urchin friends to tumble to the floor.
James grabbed Lily's hand and pulled the laughing girl to her feet. He wrapped his arms around her again and pulled her close leaning down, kissing her with the passion, desire and love he had been holding inside for six years. The funny thing was that passion did not leave with the kiss, it wasn't like all those emotions were emptied into the kiss, it wasn't like that was the final goal. The feelings intensified. When they separated he picked her up, spinning her around. For those moments everyone in the room forgot; they forgot the war, the pain, the fear that had presided over their lives so wholly. In those moments the love and dedication to someone and something good was so apparent they were all able to loose themselves in it, even if for just that moment.
A/N: Okay so now they really are together, YAY!