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Chapter 17: The Aftermath
“Eva!” James called my name, and I turned around to see him hobbling towards me.
Do not cry. I had been prone to massive crying bouts recently and times when I just wanted to curl into a ball. I hate hormones. “James, where’s your crutch?”
“I’m fine, I don’t need a walking stick,” he scorned. “We’re having a delayed victory party now I’m out of the hospital wing.”
He walked off. Was that all he wanted to say? But frankly, the less time I spent with James the better.
“EVA! Kitchens with me, NOW!”
I said goodbye to Alice and followed James as he struggled through the corridors.
What a brilliant idea, Eva. Follow James. “Need a hand?” I asked.
I itched to help him. It was a week since the match, five days since he regained consciousness and one since he was let out. He wasn’t even allowed visitors, so we all –the whole team, the Marauders, and Alice and Lily- had camped outside until Madam Pomfrey had acquiesced, and gave us hourly reports, although she moaned it was time she could spend treating James.
Sirius was beating himself up about it, and it wasn’t until James threw his aforementioned crutch at Sirius’s head and announced they were even, that Sirius finally stopped offering James ‘pity piggybacks’. Did I ever mention that lads were weird?
James seemed okay now though. He’s banned from Quidditch until he’s completely better by Frank (as his captain) and by all of us- although this wasn’t very official and it took McGonagall and Madam Pomfrey to properly ban him. And yesterday we caught him trying to go practice under the invisibility cloak with his broom. We’ve hidden his broom in our dorm now, and he’s very frustrated. Lily is filling in his place, but she isn’t half as good- and I never thought I’d see the day that Lily Evans wasn’t good at something. She is getting a lot better though.
James was also really pissed off that nearly dying didn’t cut him any slack with teachers for homework.
Because it had been that bad. He had very nearly died.
We walked through the mostly quiet corridors, James finally agreeing to lean on my shoulder as we went. I tickled the pear, and as it wriggled into a doorknob, James said:
“If there is no-one here, I’ve got something to tell you.”
The kitchen was empty apart from the house-elves, so I waited until he’d hoisted himself onto a stool, my eyebrows raised in expectation. “Well?”
“Evans kissed me.”
I waited for him to tell me he was joking.
“I’m serious, Eva! She kissed me! I kissed her! We kissed! I am finally going out with Lily Evans!”
I let out a huge breath I didn’t realize I was holding. “Great. Congratulations.” My voice sounded flat even to me. Then again, James clearly had the observational ability of a dead mole, and the emotional range of an eggcup.
“I told her you’d broken up with me before the match because you knew I loved Evans.”
“Lily,” I corrected automatically.
“Lily,” he said, testing the word on his tongue. “Eva, thank you so much. I mean, really thank you.”
He hopped off his stool, wincing. “I’m going to go see Sirius and tell him now; you’ll be alright with the party stuff right? Thanks!”
I watched him hobble away, and then collapsed in his vacated seat. Tears streamed down my face, I covered my head with my arms and cried some more. My life was royally screwed up. Why did I even stay at Hogwarts? Every Slytherin bar Regulus wanted me dead, preferably painfully. And I didn’t know why Regulus was helping me, or what he’d want in return. James was oblivious he’d just re-broken- no, shattered- my heart into a million tiny pieces. He was going out with one of my best friends, who was clueless to the fact that I actually... I daren’t even think it. Merlin. And then there was Remus- what was going on there?
I’m so confused. And tired of drama, and pretending, and excuses, and friends-
I felt a tap on my shoulder, and saw a house-elf with a sympathetic expression and a squashed nose at my elbow.
“Would Miss like Binky to get you anything?” he asked.
“Firewhisky,” I told him through my tears.
As he tottered off, I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the gleaming steel pans hooked onto the wall, and did a double take. Hunched over the counter, head in hands, my brown hair messy and my eye make-up smudged- I looked like my mother. Haggard and worn-down- coming to Hogwarts really had been the pick-me-up I needed. Please note the excessive sarcasm. I had had enough. Alcohol was always her way of escape after my dad died, and I felt entitled to my heritage from her for once.
Binky came back with a bottle, and placed it next to me. I murmured a thank you, but I didn’t drink it. I was still watching my mother in my reflection. I hated her for turning to drink. Despised her for her weakness, but I was holding the cause of it in my hand.
“Fuck right off,” I told the firewhisky, and tipped it down the sink, feeling satisfied with the steady glug-glug as it emptied. Binky reappeared at my side, and I swear he looked pleased.
“Is there anything else Miss requires?” he said, with a little bow this time.
I hesitated. I knew exactly what I required, but it wasn’t something Binky could get.
I wanted home- or the next best thing.
The tiny elf bobbed again, and I left the kitchens, drying my eyes with the corner of my sleeve. I skirted a group of giggly Hufflepuffs and made my way to the seventh floor corridor. Outside the Room of Requirement, I saw that the door was already there, and ajar.
I paused outside it, listening, but heard nothing. I pushed the door open.
Inside was my room. It was different: perhaps only noticeable to me. The Gryffindor banner was the one that Remus had waved at the match; it was dirty around the edges and creased. I wondered when he’d put it back. The fire was nearly burnt down, and one of my favourite cinnamon candles was lit, the flickering flame trailing scented smoke. A book was slumped open on the coffee table in front of the fire- To Kill A Mockingbird, and there was a half-empty cup of tea next to it. I picked it up, feeling its warmth. It smelled funny.
Well, not funny- it actually smelt great, like hot buttered toast and all earthy, and at the same time a salty sea wind. I put the cup down. There was definitely some funky stuff in there.
The wind chimes started to ring softly.
And then I heard a high-pitched giggle.
I’m not entirely sure who I expected to be in my room, but Remus and Libby making out wasn’t on the list.
I had a variety of emotions. I was still pissed/sad/angry at James. I was now also pissed/sad/angry at Remus- I’ll get back to you on that when I work it out myself-, I was disgusted that my room was being violated by this obscene scene. I was amazed that Remus had degraded himself by playing tonsil hockey with half a demon and I was also completely astonished they hadn’t a) noticed the very awkward atmosphere, or b) noticed me coughing. Loudly. In order to get their attention.
Finally, Libby unattached herself from Remus’ mouth –the sound resembled a plunger. She gave a nervous little giggle. “Hello!”
I ignored her. “Remus, what the hell are you doing?”
He rolled his eyes at me. “What does it look like? Shut the door on your way out, Eva,” he said, and pulled Libby back in.
What the actual fuck?
“Umm- I’ll- I’ll just leave then...”
Remus must be on something. The only explanation.
You could hear the rusty cogs clunking in my brain. Finally, with an imagined puff of noxious smoke as the metaphorical lightbulb switched on.
The twin’s love potion had gone AWOL. Remus was acting possessed. Oh dear.
Okay. Eva, you need to take control, be a strong, independent woman and save Remus before he does something he will regret.
I picked up the tea, and gave it a cautious sniff. It has to be in here- those smells were plain weird. And if I sniffed harder, I could smell cinnamon, and new paint too. Unless I’m being dense and tea actually smells like all of that.
Somehow, I doubt it.
Okay. Strong, independent woman Eva needs help from other strong independent women.
An hour later, I found Lily and Alice in the library with Frank and James. I didn’t even want to think about what Remus and Libby would be doing now.
I collapsed into a seat, panting.
“Why are you panting?” Frank asked.
I shook my head, and pointed at him, James and the door. “Scat,” I said breathlessly.
They didn’t need to be told twice.
“Remus, Libby, Room of Requirement,” I gasped. I’m not the most fit of people, I’ll admit it.
Alice’s reaction was surprising.
“FUCKING NORA! I spend all this time, all this effort, and it’s bloody ruined by those brainless twerps! ARGHHH. IT’S NOT FAIR. WHY? I bet Einstein didn’t have obstacles like I do! This is as stupid as the Crusades! Darwin’s theory of evolution? Pah! Nothing as hard as my frigging job! Eleven uses of dragon’s blood? Easy!”
“There’s actually twelve-” Lily tried to say, but Alice cut her off.
“Breaking out of Azkaban would be easier that this!” Madam Pince appeared from behind a bookshelf, looking outraged, but Alice chipped in first. “Shush yourself, you old bat! My plan is ruined! RUINED, I TELL YOU!”
I grabbed one elbow, Lily another, and together we quickly steered her outside the library before she kicked off at any more teachers. Once we had found a bathroom and cleared it of second years- what is it with twelve year olds and hanging out in bathrooms? You can’t pee in peace without them giggling away -we splashed water in Alice’s face until she calmed down.
Finally, she took a deep breath, and stopped ranting.
“Are you okay?” I asked.
She grabbed my shoulders, and looked into my eyes. “Are you okay?” she asked me.
“Fine. What? Why?”
“Because you fancy Remus!”
“What?” Lily and I spoke at the same time. I raised my eyebrows at Lily in a ‘Hey, it’s news to me’ way.
Okay, I lie.
Alice continued. “And Remus fancies you! But both of you don’t know that the other fancies you! Merlin, this is like pulling teeth!”
“So, explain the tonsil hockey?” asked Lily.
I’m loving the continuing mouth imagery.
Alice pulled a ‘duh’ face. “Obviously it’s a love potion.” She took the tea I was still holding, and smelt it. “It smells of Frank, and bananas, and wood polish.”
I was half-expecting her to say ‘and weed’, because to be perfectly honest, I was scared. This wasn’t the Alice I knew and loved. This was a terrifying creature who knew things.
Lily took the mug. “It’s hard to tell, because it’s in tea- which is a very effective disguise- but I think it’s Amortentia,” Lily said, giving it a sniff. “Look, it’s kinda pearly.”
She conjured up a fire, the blue flames flickering under the mug as she boiled it. Alice and I got bored waiting and started to play noughts and crosses with her eyeliner pencil on the tiled floor. we were distracted by Lily doing a little jig of joy around the bathroom.
“Look,” she said excitedly, “the steam is perfect ringlets. It is Amortentia!”
“Is this good or bad?” I asked tentatively.
“Amortentia is the most powerful love potion in the world.”
We’re screwed. It’s sad, but it’s official.
“I don’t understand how the twins could have made this though. It’s really hard- they do not have the ability. I mean, they put eel eyes in the one in our bathroom!” Lily sounded anguished- like the addition of the eel eyes had physically hurt her.
“Maybe that was a decoy, and they actually brewed a proper one somewhere safe?” Alice suggested.
Lily shook her head. “They’re not clever enough to make a decoy intentionally.”
“Well, they’re definitely not clever enough to brew this dementia-thing then. Maybe they realised they screwed that up, and got someone else to make it for them?” I wondered.
Lily’s face hardened. “I’m gonna kill him,” she snarled, and rushed out the room.
I looked quizzically at Alice. She raised her eyebrows. “In my experience,” she said wisely, “The pronoun ‘him’ is usually only used with that much venom when she’s talking about James, or Severus.”
Alice and I chased Lily down, and managed to stop her.
I was doing no more running today. For the rest of the week. At all. Enough is enough.
“We can’t kill Severus,” Alice gasped.
“Because then the twins will know we’re onto them.”
“And we are strong, independent women,” I added, in between heaving breaths. “We can take them down on our own.”
Alice collapsed onto the floor. “This is personal now.”
“Why?” I asked.
Alice has flawless logic.
“Strong, independent women,” Lily mused, sitting down next to us. “We should start a group.”
Lily smiled, a mischievous, wicked smile. “The Marauders should watch out. SIW is in business.”
“No. Just no, Lily.”
“Any other nickname apart from SIW,” Alice begged.
“I’ll work on it. But first order of business is Remus, Libby and Amortentia.”
“Code word: Killer Tomatoes,” I said.
“It’s a film. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes? It’s great. Tomatoes revolt and kill people.”
Lily patted me on the head. “Okay; Mission Killer Tomatoes-”
“No! You have to say it to-may-toes, not tom-art-toes. It’s American.”
“Of course it is,” Lily said with an eye-roll. “Mission Killer To-may-toes is a-go. The Plan: find out how Libby-”
“To-may-toe A,” I chipped in.
“How To-may-toe A is giving Remus the potion, and stop her.” Lily paused. “You’re not giving Remus a codename?”
“Sure, he’s a HUG. Helpless Useless Girl. The trailer is fantastic. Loads of screaming hugs.”
“Alice, what did you mean before about Eva and Remus?” Lily asked.
“She didn’t mean anything- did you?” I said forcefully, kicking her.
“Oh please. It’s obvious, and I’ve been trying to help. But it’s not easy with so many outside influences.”
“We are not an experiment, Alice. Screw Darwin.”
“Ooh, I would," Alice said, licking her lips.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed! Sorry for the long wait for an update :(
And 'Honour Among Thieves', (my next gen fic that I posted the teaser of) is now up! Please go check it out?
Erm, I totally rewrote my last chapter, so please take a gander at that...
...and obviously I do not own the film 'Attack of the Killer Tomatoes', all credit goes to Four Square Productions. :D
Also, I've got my MTA up if you want to ask anything, and please, please review.
-not just my stories, anyones you read! It helps us poor, deprived authors. Thank you!
Over and out. :)
PS: And thanks to inkbutterfly for pointing out that Screaming does not, in fact, start with a U. :)