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I never thought that going back to Hogwarts would be so horrible. I got the letter from Professor Dumbledore saying that I was Head Girl, but it never mentioned who the Head Boy was. Petunia sniffed disapprovingly and stalked out of the house, probably to meet her loser boyfriend, Vernon Dursley. Mum and Dad were so proud, of course. They threw a party for me, just the three of us (Petunia locked herself in her room) and I sent owls to my four best friends, Mary McDonald, Lisa Chapman, Ella Jones and Courtney Allison. Courtney was the first to reply. Her owl came just the next day, teasing me about who the Head Boy could be. When she suggested it could be James Potter, I nearly vomited.
The day before I was going to Hogwarts, Petunia practically smashed down my bedroom door when she knocked. I opened it and there she was, looking as though she wanted to murder me, but holding a thick wad of parchment.
‘What?’ I snapped.
‘You have mail,’ she replied snidely. She thrust the parchment into my arms and within a second she was gone. I closed the door to my bedroom and sat down at my desk. I opened the envelope to find a long letter written in unfamiliar handwriting. I scanned down the bottom and to my horror, I saw that it was signed off by James Potter. I read it from the beginning:
I know you’ll probably turn me into a beetle for writing to you, but I just wanted to congratulate you for becoming Head Girl. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. (Your friend Ella told me). Padfoot and Moony also say congratulations and Padfoot says thank you. (He’s weird).
I couldn’t be bothered to read the rest of it, so I dropped to the end.
Anyway, see you on the Hogwarts Express!
It infuriated me to see that he had put “Love James” and the end, so I just binned the whole thing.
‘Lily!’ A loud squeal came from the direction of my right. I turned and saw my friends’ heads poking out from a compartment. I hurried towards them. I was about to join them when I remembered something.
‘Oh, damn,’ I growled.
‘What is it?’ Ella asked.
‘I’ve got to go to the Head compartment. I’m meeting the Head Boy there.’ I told them.
‘All right then,’ Lisa said. ‘See you later,’
‘Yeah,’ I said miserably. I made my way towards the Head compartment. I saw someone already in there. I slid the door open. The boy turned. He grinned.
‘Oh, great,’ I said sarcastically. It was Potter.
‘Hel-lo, Lily!’ Potter said enthusiastically. ‘Did you get my letter? Where is it?’
‘The bin,’ I sneered. ‘When’s Professor McGonagall coming?’
‘She should come now,’ Potter said, still grinning insanely. Just then, Professor McGonagall stepped into the compartment.
‘Hello Miss Evans. Hello, Mr Potter,’
‘All right, Minnie?’ Potter said cheekily. Professor McGonagall glared at him.
‘I am here to explain your duties as Head Girl and Head Boy. First, you must arrange a meeting with the Prefects, to tell them what to do. You may do this at your leisure, but it must be done before the end of September. Also, you will be sharing a common room, which is located near the Gryffindor common room. The password is “Crumple-Horned Snorcack”. You will also share a small study and a kitchen, though your bathrooms are separate.’
After Professor McGonagall’s speech, she left and I told Potter to look away while I changed. He did so obediently, but I could tell he peeked. After I changed, he stripped off right there, but I retched a lot and buried my face in my knees. He tried making conversation with me, but I just ignored him, so he gave up.
When the train stopped, I left in an instant. As I left the train to look for Mary, Lisa, Ella and Courtney, I knew I was letting myself in for a year of utter hell.
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I reached a portrait of an old, thin woman with floor-length black hair. Her eyes were shocking blue and her nose was long, thin and pointed. I cleared my throat and she looked round at me.
‘Password?’ she demanded.
‘Crumple-Horned Snorcack,’ I said confidently. She gave an approving nod and swung forwards to admit me. I scrambled through the portrait hole and was instantly awed. The Head Common Room was large, sqaure and spacious. The fire danced merrily in the fireplace and the lights shone bright around the room. There was a large scarlet sofa in front of the fire with two golden armchairs positioned around it. The hearth rug was fluffy and pure white, while the walls were blue decorated with silver swirls. There was a small wooden door leading off to the left, which I guessed was the kitchen, and two more wooden doors that lead to the staircases. There was a piece of parchment pinned to each door. Upon closer inspection, the one on the right said "Lily Evans" and the one on the left said "James Potter". Before I could make my way up the staircase to my dorm, the common room portrait suddenly burst open and the common room was filled with people. Or so I thought. They were making so much noise, I thought a whole crowd of people had forced their way past the thin, wrinkled woman, but it was just the Maurauders. Potter streched himself out onto the sofa. Black lay down on the hearth rug, taking in the fire like a dog and Remus and Peter sat in the two armchairs. I scowled at Potter and Black. Potter turned round.
‘Oh, hel-lo, Lilykins,’ he said teasingly. I drew my wand.
‘Would you like me to hex you? I think you’d look better as a slug. Well, you look like one anyway, so it wouldn’t make much of a difference.’ I snarled at him.
‘Ooooooooh, this one’s feisty!’ Black said, laughing his stupid head off.
‘I,’ I snapped, ‘am going to bed. Goodnight, Remus. Goodnight, Peter.’ And with that, I swept up the stairs.
The next morning, I nervously went down the stairs. Potter was already there. He was still in his pyjamas. Clearly he slept without a top on, because he was wearing a shirt and tie with his pyjama bottoms, which seemed to have been thrown on carelessly.
‘You’re looking a bit odd,’ I said, pausing on my way to the kitchen door.
‘Would you rather see me topless?’ Potter suggested, undoing the first couple of buttons on his shirt.
‘No, I’m fine,’ I said. As I left through the kitchen door, I looked back. Potter looked undoubtedly annoyed.
I came back into the common room with a bowl full of cornflakes. I didn’t need to use the Great Hall for breakfast anymore, but I thought I’d go down to see the girls. I left the common room after my cornflakes without saying a word to Potter, who looked absolutely furious.
Mary, Lisa, Ella and Courtney all looked delighted to see me.
‘Who’s the Head Boy?’ Mary asked eagerly as I squeezed in next to her and Ella.
‘James Potter,’ I sighed.
‘Ooh, lucky you!’ Courtney squealed. We all stared at her. ‘Sarcasm,’ she said quickly, but her cheeks burned red. Somehow, I didn’t think it was sarcasm. After the girls had their breakfast, we headed down to our first lesson: NEWT Potions. Professor Slughorn beamed at me as I sat down next to Lisa and unpacked my things. When the class had settled, he spoke, his large moustache puffing out when he breathed out.
‘Now, I have a surprise for you!’ he said, bouncing on his toes. ‘Today, as seventh-years, we are going to be brewing Amortentia!’ There were loud gasps of delight from the girls, and out the corner of my eye, I saw James Potter looking at me. ‘Now, of course, Amortentia is banned from Hogwarts, so your potions will be destroyed as soon as the lesson is over.’ Everyone groaned. Except me, of course. But I breathed a sigh of relief: James Potter would surely have used it on me. ‘Now, because Amortentia, as well as being dangerous, is also exceptionally tricky to make. So, I will be pairing you up. Now, let’s see here … Miss McDonald, you can pair up with Miss Chapman … Mulciber and Mcnair … err … Miss Allison and Miss Jones … Now, Lily, who shall we pair you up with …?’ I looked at Professor Slughorn pleadingly, trying to send a message to his brain: Not James Potter. Not Potter. Anyone but Potter! Then he said – ‘How about Mr Potter?’ I let out a groan. Potter, however, looked gleeful. He came and dumped his bag in the seat next to mine and looked at me.
‘What are you staring at?’ I snapped. But for some reason I didn’t mind that he was my partner. He helped me quite a lot while making the potion, offering to cut things so I didn’t chop my fingers off by accident.
‘I can manage fine!’ I said testily, but I was quite approving of the fact that he was being much more gentlemanly than I had ever seen him. By the time Professor Slughorn called, ‘That’s it, your time is up! Stop what you’re doing!’ Potter sank onto his stool looking quite relieved. His hair was a lot messier than usual, his glasses pushed up on his nose. I found myself staring at him dreamily. I quickly shook that feeling away. Professor Slughorn approached our cauldron, his massive belly wobbling.
‘Well!’ he boomed. ‘Very well done! Merlin’s beard, this is perfect! I daresay this would earn you “Outstanding” in a test! Thirty points apiece for Gryffindor!’
I beamed at James – I mean, Potter – though I hurriedly looked down at my shoes, blushing furiously, when he grinned back at me.
After dinner, I approached the wrinkly lady, whose name I learned to be Priscilla, and gave her the password. She swung forwards with a croaky ‘Goodnight!’ as I clambered through the portrait hole. I went straight up to my dormitory to change out of my uniform. I pulled on my pink pyjama bottoms and had just buttoned up the first few buttons on my nightshirt when the door opened. I screamed instinctively and threw a jacket across my chest. I looked to see who was at the door. Guess who. Potter.
‘Knock next time!’ I snarled at him. ‘Now turn around while I do up my shirt!’
I knew he was never going to turn without looking, so I turned, too. I did up the buttons, then turned back and let him in. He, too, was wearing his pyjamas, though he had a T-shirt on. ‘What do you want?’
‘I want to ask you a question,’ he said.
‘Look, Potter, for the last time, I’m not going to go out with you!’ I sighed, ignoring the painful wrench in my stomach as I said it.
‘Not that,’ Potter said quickly. ‘I just wanted to ask: why were you staring at me all day?’
‘W-well, I-I – you had something on your face,’ I said, thinking on the spot, ‘and I was staring at you because it was funny and I – I wanted to laugh. But I didn’t.’
‘Why?’ Potter gazed at me suspiciously. I tried hard not to stare into his hazel eyes.
‘Because – because I was trying to be nice.’ I said.
‘Right. Because that’s really true, isn’t it?’ he said, his tone dripping with sarcasm.
‘Yes, it is,’ I said.
‘Of course. Now, are you coming down or what?’ he said.
‘OK, OK, I’ll be down in a second. Now get lost.’ I pointed to the door. He didn’t move for a minute, except that he shuffled a bit closer to me. Instead of moving away, like I normally did when he did stuff like that, his face got even closer. His eyes were locked with mine. His glasses were askew, his hair neatly ruffled. He was even closer … then I snapped out of it and stepped back to find that his arms were round my waist. And – even worse – mine were round his neck. Ew. I nearly puked.
‘What are you doing?’ I demanded, whipping my arms to my sides.
He grinned at me. ‘Come on, Lilykins. You were enjoying that, weren’t you?’
‘No!’ I yelled. ‘Now get out before I hex you!’ I was actually pointing my wand at him. He still didn’t move. So then there was a flash of light and a loud bang and James Potter was sprawled on the floor, his glasses lying a foot away. Also, warts were sprouting forth from his forehead. He scrambled to his feet and ran out of the dorm. I grinned slyly to myself. My owl hooted mournfully in the corner of the room. My smile slid from my face and I felt miserable. I couldn’t possibly fancy James Potter! Could I?
Chapter 3: The Biggest Secret Of Courtney's Life
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I didn’t go downstairs afterwards. Well, would you? I kept hearing someone knocking on my dormitory door and a soft voice whispering to me, but I ignored it, pressing my pillow over my ears and pulling the duvet right over my head. At around one o’ clock in the morning, a violent storm started blowing around Hogwarts. Rain drummed hard on the windows, which woke me up and refused to let me go back to sleep. So I got out of bed and tiptoed down the steps to the common room. The fire had gone out, leaving nothing but a pile of burnt-out logs and ash. A couple of still-glowing embers blew to the front of the pile, waved at me, then winked out. I sat in the dark for a while, shivering a bit in my pyjamas.
I was just thinking about going back to bed when a loud noise, audible over the crashing of the storm outside, came from the kitchen. I grabbed a poker from next to the fireplace and edged towards the kitchen door. Suddenly, it burst open to reveal James Potter with his mouth stuffed with toast.
‘Oh, Merlin’s beard!’ I yelled in frustration, pointing the poker at his face.
‘What?’ Potter said in a muffled voice. With effort, he swallowed his toast and nervously eyed the poker in my hand.
‘Yes, well, I kind of live here, Lilykins. I am allowed in my own kitchen.’ Potter said, raising an eyebrow behind his glasses.
‘What, at one in the morning? Who does that? What are you doing, having an early breakfast?’ I sneered, letting the poker droop.
‘Yes, actually,’ Potter said, still eyeing the poker. ‘And why are you up, may I ask?’
‘I couldn’t sleep,’ I said, jerking my head to the window, which displayed the window-shaking storm perfectly. ‘Which is more sensible than getting up to have a feast!’
‘Aww, poor Lily can’t sleep. Would you like to come to my room?’ he asked teasingly.
‘No! You dirty-minded troll!’ I cried, lifting the poker again and actually jabbing him in the chest with it.
‘Ow.’ Potter said, rubbing his chest. ‘Fine. Go back to sleep, little baby. Don’t grow up.’
‘What in the name of Merlin was that about?’ I snapped. ‘No, wait, don’t tell me. I’m going to bed. Don’t bother me, Potter.’
The week went quickly and very soon it was Saturday. I woke up at ten o’ clock and went down to the Hall for breakfast instead of using the Head’s kitchen. Courtney, Lisa, Mary and Ella were having breakfast when I slid onto the bench to join them.
‘You look awful,’ Lisa commented as she buttered her toast, which I winced at the sight of. ‘What’s up?’
‘Storm. One o’ clock. Toast. Potter.’ I groaned. At the last word, Courtney, whose head was on the table, jerked up and looked at me.
‘What about Potter?’ she asked, looking active and alert.
‘Why do you want to know?’ Ella asked, looking at her suspiciously.
‘I don’t,’ Courtney said quickly, ‘it’s just, those sounded like random words. So, Lily, explain, please.’
So I recounted everything that happened last night, including what Potter had said to me about beds.
‘Did I hear my name?’ an annoying voice approached us. Courtney looked round instantly.
‘Oh, hey, James,’ she said, looking at him with dreamy eyes.
‘Um. Hi.’ Potter said uncertainly. Sirius Black snorted. Courtney glared at him.
‘So, Lily, what’s gone down with you and Prongs?’ Black asked me, sitting opposite me.
‘Nothing. What’s it to you?’ I growled.
Black laughed like the dog he was. ‘Well, I deserve to know what’s happened with my best friend and the girl of my – I mean, his – dreams.’
‘Your dreams?’ Mary said.
‘His dreams,’ Black said, glaring at Mary with hard, cold eyes. ‘Didn’t you hear me correct myself, dimwit?’
‘Hey, lay off her,’ I spat. ‘What’s she done to you?’
‘Nothing … nothing …’ Black said, going red in the face.
‘Lily,’ Courtney whispered in my ear, ‘will you come with me for a second, please?’
‘OK,’ I said. I gazed longingly at the choices for breakfast, now wishing I had had some in the kitchen, but followed Courtney out of the Great Hall.
‘Right, well, I’ve got to –’ She broke off when a gaggle of nosy fourth year Hufflepuffs wandered past. ‘Can we go to your dorm?’ she asked.
‘If you like,’ I said, starting to lead her up the stairs.
‘So, what have you got to tell me?’ I asked. Courtney looked at her feet. ‘Is it a secret?’ I said. She nodded. ‘You can’t tell anyone, Lily. I mean it.’
‘OK, but what is it?’
Brushing her golden hair out of her face, she looked me in the eyes and said,
‘I like someone.’
And guess who it was?
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Courtney left the dorm quickly before I could reply. I hurried after her, but she was nowhere to be found. She wasn’t in my NEWT Transfiguration class, so I wouldn’t be able to talk to her. Luckily, she was in my Herbology class, which was straight after lunch.
While we were queuing up outside Professor McGonagall’s classroom, I quietly told Lisa what had happened. She seemed quite shocked at first, but then she rolled her eyes at Potter, who was trying to listen in, and whispered,
‘It’s been coming on for ages. Didn’t you see, it’s been happening since the end of fifth year. She’s been talking to him as much as possible.’
‘Who’s been doing what now?’ Black asked, sticking his nose between Lisa and I.
‘Padfoot, I don’t think it’s any of our business,’ Remus Lupin said.
‘See, the only sane person in your group,’ I snapped.
‘All right, fine.’ Black scowled at Remus and me, but slunk backwards and knocked into Gina McDowell, one of the Ravenclaws queuing up behind him.
I was distracted all through Transfiguration. I didn’t even flinch when Professor McGonagall yelled at me and took fifteen points off Gryffindor because I wasn’t concentrating.
‘Wow,’ Lisa said after class, ‘isn’t that the first time Lily Evans has lost points for Gryffindor?’
‘Shut your mouth,’ I growled, ‘before I shut it for you.’
Lisa looked at me suspiciously and so, I noticed, was Sirius Black. When I looked over at him, he bypassed red and went maroon. Lisa was eyeing us up with a knowing look in her eye.
In Care of Magical Creatures after break, I was paired up with Black to try and find as many Bowtruckles hidden among the trees as we could in an hour. Potter was paired up with Courtney, and she looked delighted. He, however, looked as though all the Christmases in the history of the world had been cancelled and someone had just died. Boy, he really didn’t like her.
I was patting a tree to see if there were any Bowtruckles hiding with the bark when Black jumped up behind me, clutching a bundle of twigs. Until they moved.
‘Yipe!’ I squeaked as one tried jumping at my face. ‘Oh, right, so you found a bunch of them?’
‘Yes, I did, my little muffin,’ Black said loudly. Potter, who was kneeling on the ground nearby, scowled at his best friend. ‘Where’s our bag?’ I handed him the fabric bag and he dropped the Bowtruckles in, one by one. After that, he put the bag on the floor by the tree and started patting the tree with me. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Courtney approach Potter, holding a couple of Bowtruckles and try to talk to him, but he looked over at me and moved away. She looked like she was going to cry.
I was so distracted with that, I didn’t notice Black edging up to me, his dark eyes glinting. He put his hand on mine, but I quickly jumped away.
‘Get lost, you dirty troll,’ I snapped. I patted the tree too hard and felt a sharp nip in my index finger. It really hurt. I drew my hand away and saw several pairs of black eyes glowering up at me. Ignoring my bleeding finger, I swiped up the Bowtruckles and put them in the bag. I took out my wand and healed my finger with a wave, then put it away and tried not to look at Courtney, who was sitting next to a tree, crying silently.
I had no chance to talk to Courtney during Herbology as we had so much to do. There was much swearing in Greenhouse Three because we had to handle the Venomous Tentacula, but apart from that, no one really said much.
After dinner, I hurried back up to the Head’s common room. Potter was there, sitting at a desk, his head bent over some parchment.
‘What’s that?’ I asked.
‘Oh, nothing. I’m just trying to work out when we should have the first Hogsmeade visit.’ Potter replied, looking up at once. He sighed, then stood up. I eyed him nervously.
‘Potter. I need to talk to you,’ I said hurriedly, beating myself up inside for what I was about to say.
‘Yes, my dear?’ he said, coming close. Too close, for my liking, so I stepped back several paces.
‘It’s about Courtney,’ I said, looking him straight in the eyes. ‘She really likes you, you know, and she was really upset when you refused to talk to her during Care of Magical Creatures.’
‘And?’ Potter said, looking annoyed.
‘I want you to take her to Hogsmeade on our first visit. OK? She’ll be really pleased.’ I said, shuffling my feet about.
‘What if I don’t want to?’ Potter said testily, raising an eyebrow. He ruffled his hair and wriggled his nose in an extremely cute way. No … I wouldn’t think about that. Right now, it was Courtney that mattered. I think.
‘For me? Please?’ I said, batting my eyelashes at him. He sighed.
‘All right. Because it’s you. But you must give me something in return.’ He had a rather knowing look in his hazel eyes. My stomach lurched.
‘Like what?’ I said, but I knew exactly what was coming.
‘A kiss. Right here, right now.’ Potter grinned at me.
‘OK then. A kiss. That’s probably the least worst thing you could have said.’ I breathed a sigh of relief. Then. I leaned forward. So did he, puckering his lips. But then I pecked his cheek and swept up the stairs to my dorm.
‘Eeeek! I’m so excited!’ Courtney squealed. She bounced down the stairs to meet Potter, who was scowling at her. He scowled at me, but I frowned at him and he smiled.
‘Shall we go then?’ I said to Lisa, Mary and Ella.
‘Oh, I can’t,’ Mary said, chewing her nails. ‘I said I’d go with Remus,’
‘Good job,’ Ella said, grinning. Mary gave a weak smile and hurried down the stairs. Remus kissed her forehead and they glided out the Entrance Hall looking like a pair of loved-up doves.
‘Just us then?’ Lisa said. ‘Great.’
‘Lily, here’s your Butterbeer,’ Ella said, passing me the bottle.
‘Ooh, thanks,’ I said. My hands warmed up from the cold outside as I cupped them around the bottle. We moved off from Madam Rosmerta to sit at a table near where Potter and Courtney were sitting. He looked like he was enjoying himself. A bit, mind you. I was sat there, sipping my Butterbeer and watching them, when someone tapped my shoulder and whispered my name into my ear. I turned. To my surprise, it was Black.
‘Can I talk to you for a second?’ he asked.
‘Sure,’ I said. I got up and followed him. For some reason, he edged closer to Courtney’s table.
When he spoke, it was in a loud, clear voice.
‘Lily, I really, really like you, so I’m going to ask you something. You’ll probably say no, but if you do, that’s OK, because I know you can’t have everything in life. So here I go: Lily Evans, will you be my girlfriend?’
It was really well spoken, and it was obvious he’d been rehearsing it, but it was really sweet, so I gave him the biggest smile I’d given anyone in my life, and practically shouted,
‘Yes, I will!’
He scooped me up and kissed me right on the lips. Potter looked furious. He got up and stormed out of the Three Broomsticks. But I didn’t really care.
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Of course, I’d only said yes to Sirius Black because I wanted Potter to stop asking me out. Really, it was getting on my nerves. But neither of them had to know that.
Potter and Courtney were now ‘official’, but whenever I saw them together, Potter always looked sour. It was obvious he was doing it to get back at me. I couldn’t care less, as I didn’t really like him. Or Sirius for that matter.
Potter must have really liked me because when I came out of NEWT Arithmancy, Sirius was waiting for me as he had a free period. He caught me by the waist and kissed me, first on my forehead, then my cheek, then my lips. We were still kissing when Sirius collapsed and fell on the floor. While I was struggling to hold him up, I saw a certain James Potter stuffing his wand into his robes.
I pulled out my own wand and pointed it at Sirius, who had fallen unconscious.
‘Rennervate,’ I hissed, but not before shooting a hex at Potter, who was now basically running away. He tripped over his own boat-like feet and fell flat on his face. Sirius woke up. He looked in confusion at me, then at his best friend lying on the floor.
‘Who did that?’ he asked.
‘Me,’ I said, shrugging as I tucked away my wand.
‘Because he hexed you.’
‘Because you kissed me.’
‘How should I know?’
‘Right,’ Sirius replied. He turned to Potter’s unconscious form and prodded him in the side. Then, crouching down beside him, he whispered
Potter woke up and looked terrified. Sirius stood and helped Potter to his feet, which is nice, considering Potter just hexed him. I smirked at Potter and put my head on Sirius’s shoulder, while sliding my hand in his.
‘Are you all right, Sirius?’ I asked him.
‘I think so. You made me all better,’ Sirius replied, grinning at me. He shook back his hair and pressed his lips to mine again. I put my arms around his neck and pulled him close. Opening my eyes a fraction, I saw Potter grab Courtney’s arm and snog the life out of her. Sirius and I pulled apart and looked at them, bemused. Potter looked up at me, then pulled away. Courtney looked slightly dazed, but elated.
After asking permission from Professor McGonagall, the rest of the Marauders and my own friends came to stay in the Head Tower with Potter and I.
At around nine, Potter suggested we play truth or dare. We sat in a circle on the hearth rug in the order of boy girl. There were some outrageous dares, such as take off your pants and stick it out of the window (from Ella), take off your top and wiggle it in front of Priscilla (from Sirius) and some very personal truths, which I will not mention!
Unfortunately, it happened that Potter had to ask the dreaded question to me. I picked truth for the first three times, then decided to be brave and chose dare. Potter looked gleeful.
He grinned evilly, then said,
‘All right, Miss Red, I dare you to kiss … me! And not like last time, when you cheated me out of a kiss. For a minute.’
‘What last time?’ Sirius asked me.
‘I’ll tell you later,’ I said, winking at him. But he and Courtney looked furious.
I held tight onto the bottle of Butterbeer Potter had stolen from the kitchens and leaned forward. Before I knew it, he had crushed his mouth onto mine and gripped my waist painfully. I knotted my fingers in his hair and warmed into it. I was just starting to enjoy it when Peter cleared his throat and we broke apart, red in the face. Potter looked happier than ever, but Sirius looked as though he would breathe fire. I sighed quietly and sat closer to him, kissing his lips to show that I liked him. But did I, really?
After that, Sirius kept his arm around me, much to Potter’s annoyance.
When it came round to my go, I picked dare again. Sirius’s eyes flashed dangerously, but I patted his arm comfortingly.
‘I dare you,’ Potter began. ‘No – I dare you and your beautiful boyfriend to sneak out into the Forbidden Forest. And stay there for at least an hour. You can take my Invisibility Cloak.’
‘How do you know we’ll actually go there?’ Sirius demanded.
‘Because we can see the outskirts of the Forest nicely from here. We’ll see your footsteps,’ Courtney said, a smug expression appearing on her face.
‘OK then.’ I said. I nudged Sirius. ‘It’ll give us time to catch up.’ Sirius grinned, but Potter looked angrier than ever.
He Summoned his Cloak and Mary threw it over us. We crept through the portrait hole and down to the Entrance Hall. Keeping close together, we eased open the doors and stole out into the cold night.
‘It sure is nice out here,’ I said. We were sat on the outskirts of the Forbidden Forest, gazing up at the sky. We had seen the other’s faces, peering out of the window, so they knew we were there. But now we still had an hour to go until we could go back inside. It was getting really cold, and Sirius gave me his jumper. He looked freezing, so I pressed against him, hoping we could both keep warm. Even though I’d only agreed to go out with him to get back at Potter, I did seem to have started to like him. He was quite nice, really, once you got to know him.
We huddled together against a tree, my head resting on his shoulder. He snuffled into my hair and kissed it, more softly and gently than he had ever done. I looked at him in surprise. He slid and arm around my waist, and I kissed him gently. He kissed me back, letting me push him against the tree. He stretched his legs and I clambered onto him, still not breaking the kiss. The Invisibility Cloak fell off us, and I heard a loud, mournful cry from up in the Head Dorm. I broke off the kiss and looked round. There was the face of James Potter turning away from the window.
‘Lily,’ said a quiet voice, disturbing my thoughts. It was half twelve, and we had only just gone to bed. The others were in sleeping bags in the common room, and Potter and I had our rooms. I stood up from my bed and looked round. Potter was cautiously edging into the room. I sighed and sat back down.
Sirius and I had returned from the Forest, and Potter had looked so upset that I hadn’t said a word. Sirius and I had kissed goodnight, and Potter had stormed upstairs, but not before kissing Courtney so passionately that they fell over. I had felt terrible.
‘What is it?’ I asked.
‘You really like him, don’t you?’
‘Yes, of course,’ I said, too quickly. Potter tilted his head to one side.
‘And you really want to be with him?’
‘Aha! You hesitated!’ Potter said, bouncing on his feet.
‘I did not.’ I snapped. ‘You don’t really like Courtney, do you?’
‘No,’ he confessed, ‘I’m doing it for you. But now you fancy my best friend. I was trying to make you jealous. Is it working?’
I looked up at him, all innocent and truthful. I looked down at my feet, shuffling them around. I felt the bed heave as he sat down next to me. I didn’t yell or shoot away, or even shoot a hex at him.
‘No,’ I said firmly. Then I sagged. ‘Maybe. OK, yes.’
‘So … you don’t like him?’ Potter asked, furrowing his brow.
‘Potter … James … Do you want to know the truth?’ I asked, deciding it would be better to be honest about it all.
‘Yes. Yes, I want the truth, Miss Evans.’
‘Then,’ I said, looking at him and staring straight into his eyes, ‘then I will give it to you.’
Eeek!! I hope you all like it, because I'm really excited about what will happen next!! Keep Guessing!!
Guysguysguys guess what? Apocalypse @tda did another supermegafoxyawesomehot CI :D
‘I’ve always liked you, Lily,’ Potter said to me, twisting his hands in his lap. ‘Since the day we met on the train.’
I laughed. ‘I remember, my first thought was that you were someone to avoid.’
‘And so you have managed to, these past few years. But – at the beginning of this year – when I heard you were Head Girl – I kind of hoped you wouldn’t avoid me any more,’ Potter said, sighing. ‘I guess it was just some stupid hope.’
‘No,’ I said, reaching out and placing one of my hands on his. ‘No, I’m going to give you the truth, and maybe you’ll change your mind.’
Potter moved his hands so he was holding mine. With the other hand, he brushed away some strands of red hair that had fallen onto my face. ‘Then tell me.’
‘I told you that my first thought was to avoid you. That – that wasn’t really true. When I first came into the compartment, you were nice to me. Said hello, and you were friendlier than you’ve ever been. At first, I thought we could be friends. I thought, maybe, if we were in the same house, we could be nice to each other. See, the only boy I’d ever been friends with before Hogwarts was Severus. He was my best friend – but somehow he seemed different. So different, he always had these sick dreams of world annihilation and the Dark Side taking over. I never said anything, though.’
‘I’m surprised,’ Potter said, ‘I’d have told him to stop creeping me out and start being normal.’
‘I bet you would’ve. But – when I came into that compartment, I felt a little bit of hope. Just – just a tiny bit, because I was upset, because of my sister, you know. I did think you were kind of cute, too,’ I admitted.
‘Well, it has been said,’ Potter smirked, striking a noble pose. Impulsively, when he let go of my hand, I jerked and grabbed them again. He looked at me in surprise. ‘What –?’
‘I need you to listen to me,’ I said. ‘After that, when Severus came rushing in, that little bubble of happiness inside me when I saw you – it just popped when he came in. That’s when I knew I couldn’t be friends with him anymore. But I still didn’t say anything.’
‘Why not?’ Potter asked.
‘I don’t know, I just – couldn’t. In our second year, I felt like I was drifting from Severus. Just a smidge, but we were still really close. I knew you fancied me; I kept seeing you staring at me. You made it as obvious as you could, didn’t you?’
Potter smiled shyly. ‘I just wanted you to notice me.’
‘How couldn’t I, you were always in the middle of everything, the centre of attention.’
‘Well, did wonder how a beautiful girl like you would ever see me when there’s all your friends and handsome, dashing Sirius Black.’ Potter said, biting his lip.
‘No one’s as handsome and dashing as you, Potter,’ I said reassuringly, patting his hand. ‘Anyway, I never really bothered with you, I just thought you were some annoying, pompous idiot who thought the world of himself.’
‘I didn’t think the world of myself!’ Potter said indignantly. I raised an eyebrow. ‘All right, maybe just a little bit. Anyway, more of my world revolved around you more than me.’
‘It’s very sweet, but I still think of you like that. Just a little less than I did before. Third year ...' I laughed. 'Do you remember in third year you asked me out for the first time? Just before the first Hogsmeade trip. You came storming up to me and said "Evans, go out with me right now!" or something like that.'
'Well, maybe I wasn't as ... refined as I am now. I guess that was a bit stupid,' Potter admitted. He was grinning.
'Yeah. That just confirmed my thoughts: "This guy is a weirdo. And I hate him." Asking me out just pushed me further away,' I said. 'So anyway, when we were in fourth year and you put your name in for the Triwizard Tournament, and you became a champion ... as much as I hated you, I was terrified for you. People have died in the Tournament. And ... I didn't want you dead. You won the Triwizard Tournament. I remember seeing Severus in the crowd, glaring at me as I cheered when you came out of the maze. I know I said I hated you, but seeing you suffer like that, getting hurt by the dragon, almost drowning under the lake – I realised, for about the tenth time – you might not be so bad after all.
‘In fifth year, after our Charms OWL, when you started duelling Severus like that, I changed my mind about you completely. When I was walking towards you, to save him, I thought “I hate him”. Just like that. But when Severus called me a Mudblood, I knew I’d lost him. He tried apologising, but if it slipped out like that, who knew when it would turn into a habit? Anyway, I told him to live his own life and stop worrying about me. So he did. And I’d lost one of my best friends.’
‘Very touching, Little Red, but what does this have to do with anything?’
‘Just listen. Please. Last year, when I found out about Remus and his ... problem. I was really scared. He just doesn't look the same anymore. But then, when you, Sirius and Peter managed to become Animagus, I realised, you're a lot cleverer than you looked. Maybe, if you managed to do that, you might be worth going out with after all.
‘You see, I never really liked Sirius. I only said yes so you’d stop asking, and also, I wanted to make you jealous. I like you, James Potter. I really do.’
‘So …’ he said quietly. ‘Do I get a kiss now?’
'Let me break up with Sirius … if you don’t mind me breaking your best friend’s heart?’ I said, tucking my hair behind my ear.
‘Not when I have you,’ James said.
Not being able to have a kiss, he just had to settle for a hug.
And that’s when my boyfriend burst through the door.
A/N I'm sorry, I know this is a bit of a weird chapter. It took me so long to write, but I hope you all like it! P.S. Sorry about the massive gaps between paragraphs, it does that automatically :P xx
Chapter 7: Death Stares and Deserted Snogging
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*squees at skfdnhff chapter image made by easterlies @tda*
‘Lily!’ he screamed. ‘What are you doing?’
I quickly stood up. ‘Sirius. I have to tell you something.’
‘What? You’re cheating on me? With my best friend?’
‘No!’ I said hastily. ‘Never! But I –’
‘You’re breaking up with me?’ Sirius demanded, like he read my mind.
‘Yes,’ I sighed heavily. ‘I’m really sorry, but –’
‘ARGH!’ Sirius yelled, and he raised his hand and brought it down on my face.
I fell to the floor and felt my stinging cheek.
‘SIRIUS!’ someone shouted. ‘SIRIUS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?’ I looked up. It was Remus. Peter was there too. He grabbed Sirius’s arm.
‘Did you do this?’ he snarled.
Sirius glared at me. And nodded. James growled at him. He and Remus helped me up.
‘Thanks,’ I said, my fingers still lingering on my cheek. I took a step towards my ex. ‘Sirius. You know I only dated you to make James jealous, but then I realised that I did like you.’
‘I don’t anymore. So, I’m sorry, but I’m breaking up with you to be with James.’
‘But James is with Courtney.’
‘No, I’m not,’ James said. ‘I ended it before we went to bed.’
‘Won’t she be upset?’ I asked, gazing towards him. He just shrugged.
‘Fine,’ Sirius snapped, spit flying everywhere. ‘Fine. Be with him. I don’t care. I hope you two are very happy together.’
‘Really?’ Peter asked.
‘No.’ Sirius spat, and flounced out of my dormitory.
The next morning, I noticed that Courtney had very red eyes.
‘Lisa, will you ask the traitor to pass the butter, please?’ she said.
‘James, pass the butter, please.’
‘Lisa, will you ask the prat to pass the jam, please?’
‘Lily, pass the jam, please.’
‘Lisa, will you –’
‘Oh, just ask them yourself, Courtney! I’m not an owl!’ Lisa snapped, snatching up her bag and storming away from the table, leaving a gap between me and Courtney and a very awkward silence. Courtney took a huge bite of toast, drank the rest of her orange juice and left.
‘Well,’ I said, ‘that went well.’
‘Could have gone worse,’ James pointed out. ‘She could have turned you into a slug.’
‘I suppose so,’ I said, chewing my bottom lip having not been reassured at all. ‘Come on, lazy, we have to get to Potions.’
I practically had to drag him out of the Hall. ‘Merlin, you’re heavy!’ I panted as he stood up. ‘Never do that again!’
‘I can’t make any promises!’ James snorted.
‘Ha ha,’ I said sarcastically, prodding his back. ‘Go on, or we’ll be late.’
‘Aw, but I want you to myself,’ he whined. I ran in front of him and kissed his lips. His thumb brushed my cheek and I was like jelly. He pressed me against him and I wrapped my arms around his neck. My first kiss with Potter as my boyfriend, and I loved it.
‘Ahem!’ said an angry voice behind us.
We broke apart and turned to see Professor McGonagall standing behind us.
‘What do you think you’re doing?’ she demanded.
‘Kissing. Duh.’ James said, rolling his eyes.
Professor McGonagall’s nostril’s flared: she was really angry. ‘I can see that! Thirty points from Gryffindor each! And a detention! I can’t believe the Head Boy and Girl would do this! Now get to your class and don’t let me catch you doing it again!’ She marched off towards the Grand Staircase, her pointed hat askew and her arms swinging at her sides like she didn’t know what to do with them.
‘Sorry!’ I called. She turned to me for a second, her face completely red, then stomped upstairs. ‘I guess we made her angry,’ I said, genuinely ashamed. ‘Come on, we’d better get going.’
When we got into Potions, everyone was grouped around Slughorn’s desk. He looked up when I pushed the door open.
‘Ah, Miss Evans. Mr Potter. Why are you late, may I ask?’
‘Uh…’ James said. ‘We were talking to Professor McGonagall. About – um – Head Boy and Girl … duties.’
I tried hard not to laugh as we made our way towards the desk. I saw there was a little cauldron propped on it with golden liquid inside.
‘As I was saying,’ Professor Slughorn said, ‘over the next six months, we will be brewing Felix Felicis. When we complete it, if your potion is correct, you are allowed to take a small flask of it, but it must only be used on a normal day. Now, Felix is very hard to make so you must follow instructions very carefully, or it could go disastrously wrong!’ the Professor said dramatically. He closed his eyes as if remembering some horrible incident, and we all allowed him to return to his memories for a minute before Mary cleared her throat.
‘Sir, will we start making it today?’
Professor Slughorn opened his eyes and looked at her. ‘The very first steps, yes. Off you go, back to your desks.’
As Sirius Black wasn’t in our Potions class, James went to sit with Remus Lupin, Liam Ford and Gerry Fowey from Hufflepuff. Unfortunately for me, Courtney was, and there was a very awkward silence as I sat at the same table as her. Luckily, Mary and Ella sat between us, and I did my best to ignore the dirty glares she was giving me.
‘Everyone, turn to page thirty-six of Advanced Potion Making and you will see the ingredients for the first steps of Felix Felicis.’ Professor Slughorn commanded. I took out my book and flipped the page to thirty-six. The potion method went over the next page, and the next, and the next, until it took up seven whole pages of the book.
‘Bloody hell, this is complicated!’ Ella swore loudly.
‘Quite, Miss Jones,’ Professor Slughorn said amusedly, smiling at her. ‘Which is why you have to pay attention, Mr Potter!’ he said sharply, looking over at James’s table. He appeared to have been in deep conversation with Remus, and hadn’t even opened his book yet. James shot Professor Slughorn a scathing look and slammed his book open.
‘Now,’ Professor Slughorn continued. ‘I have the ingredients up here, as they were not on your list at the beginning of term. Only take the amount instructed, please! Professor Sprout will be most displeased if I ask her for more leaves from her new Venomous Tentacula! Off you go!’
The fact that there were Venomous Tentacula leaves in Felix Felicis didn’t seem to put anyone off as they all ran up to get their ingredients. I pulled four leaves from the pot, snatched up half a dozen Billywigs and all the other things before anyone else could and dashed back to my desk.
‘Professor,’ Gerry Fowey called. ‘Won’t we die if we drink it, because it has Venomous Tentacula leaves in it?’
‘Good question, Mr Fowey. No, you won’t. All the leaves have been thoroughly strained of their venom and washed. If, when you are older, you want to make it, make sure you do that or you probably will die.’ Professor Slughorn said, leaning over Gerry’s cauldron. ‘Yes, now put in the Flobberworms, before the leaves shrivel up too much.’
‘I can think of someone whose drink I’d give Felix to without straining the leaves.’ I heard Courtney mutter to Mary as she mutilated her spring onions. I tried to ignore her as I bent down to adjust the heat on my cauldron, but her voice rose.
‘She’s such a liar, she told me she didn’t like him, and now she’s going everywhere with him and snogging his face off whenever there are people around.’ With my face as red as my hair, I stood up.
‘For your information, Courtney,’ I said, leaning across the table. ‘I never told you I didn’t, and I don’t snog his face off in public! That’s what you did!’
Courtney sniffed and scraped her spring onions into her cauldron. She waved her wand in a clockwise direction and pretended to ignore me.
‘Don’t ignore me,’ I continued, as loudly as I could, ‘I know you can hear me.’ I tore the petals off the blue rose and began to rip them into fine strips. I dropped them into my cauldron, one at a time with a ten second gap between each, as instructed by Libatius Borage.
‘You know I don’t like you, Evans,’ Courtney said snidely as she continued to sir the potion with her wand. ‘You stole my boyfriend.’
I snorted. ‘You really think he went out with you because he wanted to?’ Courtney looked up, her wand hovering by her side.
‘What’s that supposed to mean?’
‘It means: I told him to go out with you. I knew you liked him.’ I said, beginning to raise the temperature under my cauldron as the rose petals needed to melt.
‘Why would you do that?’
‘Because you’re one of my best friends,’ I said solemnly, looking her right in the eye.
‘I was. Past tense, darling,’ Courtney snapped, returning to her potion.
‘You still are.’ I said stubbornly. ‘This is just an argument. It’ll blow over.’
‘It won’t. You and me are finished.’ Courtney said, and she turned her back on me.
‘At least you tried,’ James said reasonably.
‘Meh,’ I said, shrugging and prodding at my spaghetti. It was dinnertime, and I had just filled James in of my conversation with Courtney, having not been able to talk to him during lessons or lunch. ‘Gina McDowell told me she’s going out with Sirius now.’
‘Yeah,’ James said. ‘Man, that boy will do anything for revenge.’
I giggled and felt a tiny bit better. Courtney had refused to be in a ten mile radius of me and sat on the other side of the class, or otherwise asked if she could be taught elsewhere. I tried to pretend that I didn’t care, but there was always this painful gnawing in my stomach. Maybe if I hadn’t asked James to go out with her, this wouldn’t have happened. But maybe it would have done anyway.
That night, I decided to visit the Gryffindor common room. Professor McGonagall had told me the password at the beginning of the year, so I stepped up to the Fat Lady and confidently said,
‘Very good,’ she said approvingly, and swung forwards to admit me. I climbed through the portrait hole and walked into the common room. I missed it. Everyone looked up and I saw surprise in their faces.
‘Lily!’ Ella screamed, running towards me. ‘What’re you doing here?’
‘I’m looking for Courtney. D’you know where she is?’ I asked.
‘Umm … yeah I think she said she was going to the library or something.’ Ella told me, frowning. ‘Why?’
‘I need to talk to her,’ I replied simply. ‘See you tomorrow,’
‘Yeah … bye,’ Ella said as I climbed back out. I took a shortcut through an old tapestry and found myself in a round room. There was another tapestry at the other end, but there were already two people in there. One was Courtney. The other was Sirius. And they were snogging.
It took all of my willpower not to puke right there. But I made a loud gagging sound and they both looked round.
‘Right,’ Courtney said, ‘so first you set me up, then you STEAL my boyfriend, now you try to keep me from my new one!’
‘I’m not trying to keep you from Sirius, Courtney! I just innocently walk in and you’re right in my face!’ I retorted.
‘And why were you here, may I ask?’ Sirius demanded.
‘I’m going to the library, for your information. It’s not a crime, is it?’ I snapped.
‘Yes,’ Courtney snarled. ‘Go back to your stupid boyfriend. I hate you! If you do anything to me again … I’ll kill you!’ she yelled, and ran out. Sirius threw me a glare that clearly said, ‘Get lost before she comes back and kills you’, so I ran back the way I came. I screamed the password at Priscilla, who looked quite shocked and upset and barged my way into the Head’s common room. James was sat there at the table, writing on a piece of parchment.
‘Lily? What’s wrong?’ he asked as I collapsed into a chair next to him.
Suddenly, I burst into tears. ‘I – I saw Courtney and – ’
‘Sirius?’ he suggested. I nodded.
‘And she said she wanted to kill me,’ I wailed.
‘I’m sure she didn’t mean it,’ James said reassuringly, scooting his chair over and wrapping an arm around me. ‘She was probably just mad, or shocked.’
I nodded, burying my face into his shoulder. I wiped my eyes on his sleeve and looked up.
‘McGonagall said there’s going to be a Halloween Ball this year, so we’ve got to organise it,’ James told me.
‘Halloween Ball?’ I asked. ‘We don’t normally have those.’
‘When I asked, she said Professor Dumbledore wanted to “mix this year up a bit”.’ James said. ‘Whatever that means.’
‘Oh, Merlin,’ I groaned, because I knew exactly what it meant. He had somehow found out about the whole ‘Lily–James–Sirius–Courtney’ love square. Man, that guy is smart. Too smart.
‘You can deal with the décor and stuff, because guys cannot do that kind of stuff.’ James said. When I didn’t reply, he looked down at me and kissed me on the top of my head. ‘Ah, don’t worry, Lily. I know what you’re thinking, but how can Dumbledore know about his whole business? He doesn’t have, like, spies or anything.’
‘I suppose,’ I sighed miserably. ‘Right. Décor. Spooky stuff, I’m guessing?’
‘Yes. I’ll do the date, which will obviously be October 31st –’
‘You get all the easy stuff, am I right?’ I said, laughing as I reached across the table for a roll of parchment.
‘Oh, yeah,’ James replied, grinning. I dug into my bag to take out my quill. Dipping it into James’s ink pot, I thought about the décor. Black glitter. Yes. That was one. I wrote it on the parchment. The list got longer and longer as I added everything I’d ever wanted in a Halloween Ball. Live bats enchanted to fly around on the ceiling. Big, dead trees in the corners of the Hall with orange ribbons draped on the branches. Glowing pumpkins lining the walls instead of flaming torches.
James peered over. ‘That looks like a good list. Now, in terms of music, I’ve already put down the Weird Sisters, but who else?’
I thought about it. ‘Not Celestina Warbeck.’ I shuddered. ‘Um … how about that new band called The Hairy Elf? I heard them on the WWN, and they sound good.’
‘Alright. The … Hairy … Elf. That it?’
‘I think so. They’ve got a good range of songs that should last the night. Right, so we should have one dance, then dinner at about half past six.’ I said.
‘Let’s tell everyone to be there by six, so they can like meet their friends and stuff, and the dances start at twenty-five past. Yes?’
‘Correct,’ I said, watching as he wrote it down. A sudden thought occurred to me. ‘James. Everyone needs partners for the dance, right?’
‘Yeah. I was thinking about that.’ James replied. ‘Lily, will you go to the ball with me?’
‘Of course I will, dumbass,’ I said, but I gave him a kiss anyway.
Two days later, we finished all the planning and notified Professor McGonagall. She scanned our lists and said,
‘Very good. I will tell the Headmaster about this and he will announce it at dinnertime.’ She gave us a haughty look, as if saying ‘Make sure you don’t start snogging in front of everyone or so help me I swear I will do something to you’, and swept off.
Dinnertime couldn’t come soon enough. I sat with James on one side and Lisa on the other.
‘What are you two looking so smug about?’ she asked.
‘You’ll see,’ James said as Dumbledore stood up.
‘Ahem,’ he said quietly, but everyone fell silent at once. Damn, I wish I could do that. ‘I have an announcement to say to everyone. This year, to, let’s say, spice things up, the Head Boy and Girl have arranged a Halloween Ball, which will take place on the thirty-first of October. You will be expected to arrive at the Great Hall by six o’clock. Dinner will be served at half-past. Oh, and, like the Yule Ball last year, you will all be expected to bring a partner. Off to bed now! Toodle-pip!’
As soon as I was in the Entrance Hall, Lisa, Ella and Mary practically jumped on me and knocked me to the floor.
‘Thankyouthankyouthankyou!’ Mary screamed at me.
‘Uh. You’re welcome?’ I said.
‘This will finally be my chance to start things with Remus!’ she sighed dreamily as we made our way up the Grand Staircase.
‘Aren’t you together already?’ Ella said.
‘No, silly,’ Mary said, looking as though she thought Ella was stupid.
‘But … you went to Hogsmeade together. Alone. And he kissed you.’ I pointed out.
‘On the forehead, but that doesn’t mean anything,’ Mary said as she floated up in front of the Fat Lady.
‘Venomous Tentacula,’ she whispered, and she climbed through.
‘See you tomorrow, Lily,’ the others said as they climbed after her. I was about to turn to go up to the Head’s Common Room when I felt someone’s eyes on the back of my neck. I looked round to see Courtney and Sirius. They were holding hands but they were both giving me a look I knew very well.
The Death Stare.
Hey you guys :) I'm sooo sorry for the wait, but I have several excuses for this: a) I've just gone back to school -scream!-
b) my teachers are EVIL and I have sooo much homework
c) I'm currently working on another story (it's called Peanut Butter Geli Time if anyone wants to check it out *hint hint*)
and finally d) I have had writer's block for the past few weeks, so my story flow stopped for a while.
Pweeeease forgive me!! As always, that little grey box is down there waiting for you to start typing away (*HINT HINT*) and hopefully Chapter 8 will be up soon!
Chapter 8: Evans and Potter on their First Date
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*fangirls over another squee-worthy chapter image by easterlies @tda*
‘Get up!’ someone shrieked in my ear.
‘Back off!’ I cried, waving my arms around until they connected with something solid. ‘Oops. Sorry. Whoever you are.’
‘Open your eyes.’
‘But I’m tired, Mummy,’
‘Open your eyes.’
‘Open them now.’
‘Mum! BACK OFF BEFORE I PUNCH YOU AGAIN!’
‘Tell me, Lily. How aware are you of the whole male/female thing?’
‘Quite aware, I’m sure.’
‘I’m not so sure. Open your eyes.’
I obeyed. ‘Oh. You’re not my mummy?’
‘Get up, lazy.’
‘Wow, I never thought I’d hear James Potter saying that to me.’
‘Ha ha. Breakfast finishes soon and then the carriages leave in an hour.’
‘Yeah, yeah, I’m getting up. Leave me now, Mummy.’
‘What have we discussed?’ James said.
‘Get out of bed before I get in.’
‘Ew, no. We’ve only been going out for a week.’
‘Yes. Now get out.’
‘Whatever.’ I pushed the duvet off and crawled out of bed. ‘Get out of my room now, please.’ I grabbed my toothbrush off my bedside table and staggered into the bathroom as James left.
I brushed my teeth and took off my clothes. Quickly, I looked around.
Phew. No James.
I hurried into the shower and switched on the hot water.
‘OOWWWIIEEE!’ I screamed.
‘Lily? Are you alright?’ said James, hurrying into the bathroom. Thankfully, the shower cubicle had a door, so I slammed it shut and locked it.
‘Hot. Water. Burns.’ I gasped. ‘Get out of the bathroom, you perv.’
I was so tired that I hardly noticed what I was doing as I lathered orange and lavender body wash on my hair. I rubbed my shampoo and conditioner over my body.
I got out of the shower and wrapped a towel around myself. I picked up my pyjamas and my toothbrush and bustled back into my room.
I put on my underwear and pulled on a pair of jeans. I rummaged around for a T-shirt and found a purple one with the Hairy Elf on it. Quickly, I applied a hasty layer of mascara, a little bit of lipgloss and a bit of eye shadow. I zipped up my jacket, put on my sneakers and went down to the Common Room where James was waiting. He’d put a piece of toast and a cup of coffee on the table, which I ate as he ran his wand down my hair, drying it.
We walked down the Entrance Hall where I met Lisa and Ella. I looked over and saw Mary drifting out of the front doors hand-in-hand with Remus.
‘Shall we?’ Lisa said. We pushed our way through the crowd and climbed into one of the empty carriages. I tied up my hair as the carriages trundled out of the school.
‘I need to go to Zonko’s,’ Ella said when we arrived in Hogsmede. ‘Come on, Lisa,’
‘But I don’t –’
‘Shut up,’ Ella hissed as she dragged Lisa away.
‘Don’t look now,’ I muttered to James. As I expected, he looked over to our left. Courtney and Sirius were walking together. They were holding each others’ hands so tight I was worried they’d fall off. No, of course I didn’t care.
‘They’re going into Madam Puddifoot’s,’ I remarked. ‘That place makes me sick, especially on Valentine’s day.’
‘You’ve been in there?’
‘No, but Lisa has. She said she’d never go there again. So let’s not go there.’
‘What part of “let’s not go there” do you not understand?!’ I cried as James dragged me towards the coffee shop. We sat down at a table near Courtney and Sirius.
‘What can I get you, dearies?’ asked Madam Puddifoot.
‘Two coffees, please,’ James said.
Sirius and Courtney were too busy snogging over their table to notice us. In fact, most of the couples in the shop seemed to be doing just that.
‘Hey look, it’s Mary and Remus. Aw, don’t they look sweet together,’ I mused.
‘Shall we?’ I said. ‘Just so we don’t raise suspicion,’ I added, leaning in close as our lips met. It was a bit awkward kissing over a table. The edge dug into my stomach as I leant towards him. It wasn’t nearly as romantic as it looked. He stroked my face and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear.
‘Ahem,’ Madam Puddifoot cleared her throat. We broke apart. She was holding two pink cups of coffee on little fuchsia saucers. She set them down on the table and I noticed there was a swirly heart in the coffee.
‘Beware,’ I muttered, ‘it is rumoured that the coffee here is laced with Love Potion.’
‘So people fall in love with Madam Puddifoot? That’s sick, what kind of woman is she?’ James demanded, looking warily at his coffee.
‘No, silly. Apparently it’s so you fall in love with the first person you look at after you swallow it.’ I said, rolling my eyes.
‘That’s stupid,’ James said. ‘As if the couples here aren’t in love already. And what if you’re not looking at whoever you’re with? Eew.’ James shuddered. ‘What if I look at Courtney?’
‘So don’t,’ I said. ‘Why would you look at her anyway?’
‘Because she’s fit, duh!’
‘Joking!’ James said.
‘Remind me again why we’re spying on them in the first place?’
‘Because it’s fun. Gee, Lily, don’t you ever have fun?’ James said, smiling.
‘Hmm, maybe once every few years.’ I joked. ‘Now drink. They might leave soon.’
James and I gulped down our coffee, being careful to look at nothing but each other, in case the Love Potion rumours were true. I didn’t feel a single difference – I didn’t know if it was because I already loved James or because there was no Love Potion in it. Either of those seemed reasonable. Sirius and Courtney sat there for a while, kissing and staring at each other lovingly. They didn’t see us.
Deciding to do the same so we didn’t look weird, James and I kept one eye on Courtney and Sirius. After about ten minutes, they got up. So did we. James threw a couple of Galleons on the table as we shuffled through the cramped shop towards the door.
The fresh air smelt lovely after the stifling, heavily-perfumed shop. Courtney and Sirius made their way into Honeydukes next.
‘Now this is a place I can relate to.’ James grinned as we stepped into the shop. It was even more crowded than Madam Puddifoot’s, but the air smelt sweet and sugary and the whole place had a happy feeling about it.
I picked up a pot of blood lollipops.
‘Vampires, I’m guessing?’
‘Yeah, I came in here last year and there was a whole group of them. Everyone was terrified, but they bought the whole stand of blood lollipops, so the owners were pretty happy.’ James told me, examining a deluxe-sized box of Chocolate Frogs.
‘Have you ever tried Cockroach Clusters?’ I asked, my eyes straying to the pot.
‘Nah. I always stayed clear of there. Have you?’
I grinned. ‘Once, in fifth year. I came in here with Ella and she dared me to buy it. We had a sort of competition before bed – who could eat the most Clusters without throwing up.’
‘I did,’ I said. ‘Ugh, I was ill for a week.’
‘I remember that. Miss Evans didn’t turn up to classes. The professors were most displeased.’
I shuddered. ‘Worst week of my life. I bet I missed out on loads, and it was just before the OWLs as well.’
‘I bet you still got eleven “Outstandings”.’ James remarked, picking up a box of Levitating Gumballs. ‘I think I’ll buy this.’
‘I didn’t get eleven “Outstandings”. I only got eight, for your information.’
‘I only got that many OWLs. Well … I bet you passed everything.’
I blushed. I did pass everything, but I wasn’t going to tell him that. He’d only tease me.
‘Look, there they are,’ I said, pointing. They were among the heart-and-love-themed sweets with a few other couples. Sirius had bought pink candyfloss on a stick in the shape of a heart and they were both eating it. As I passed them, I loudly said,
‘You know, if you want to try that, spaghetti works better.’
Courtney whipped round, but I had my back to her. I could feel her steely glare on the back of my neck, but I didn’t say anything.
‘Yuck, something smells,’ she announced to the shop, looking pointedly at me. ‘Come on, Sirius, let’s go.’ Together, they stalked out of Honeydukes.
Kelly Howards, a Hufflepuff I was good friends with, sidled up to us and said,
‘Lily doesn’t smell. What the hell was the talking about?’
‘Ah, don’t worry, Kelly, Courtney’s just being a prat. She’ll get over it.’
I found out a shocking discovery the next day. I was by myself, on my way back to the Head’s Common Room from the library when I passed a classroom with the door ajar. I peeked inside. Courtney was in there having a make-out session with Sirius.
When they came up for air, she took a compact mirror out of her shirt pocket (most likely she’d hidden it in her bra) and checked her reflection. She ran her fingers through her hair, picked a tiny clump of mascara off her eyelashes and put the mirror away.
‘You know what,’ she said as she wrapped her arms around Sirius’s neck, ‘you’re a much better kisser than James.’
I don’t know if it’s just me being biased, but I did not agree.
‘Thanks,’ Sirius grinned, leaning in again.
‘But,’ Courtney continued, ‘I think, and I know you agree, that you still fancy Lily and I still fancy James.’
‘What are you going to do about it?’ Sirius asked. ‘They’re together and they love each other and all that crap.’
‘I don’t know just yet …’
‘You could charm them? Or make a Love Potion. They’re really easy to brew.’
‘Yeah … we made them … I wonder if Slughorn’s destroyed it all yet?’ Courtney mused.
‘He hasn’t,’ Sirius said. ‘I went down to his office to ask him something, and I heard him saying something about Amortentia. But you couldn’t use that – he’s probably locked it away somewhere.’
‘Then we’ll have to steal it.’
‘Oh, OK. We’ll use Amortentia as a last resort. I have an idea first.’
‘Tell me. Then I could get Lily back.’
‘Kill two Bowtruckles with one shot. That sounds good.’ Courtney leaned down to kiss him, then whispered her plan in his ear.
Judging from the expression on Sirius’s face, it must have been a really good plan. ‘That’s a really good plan, Court!’
What did I tell you?
Courtney smiled seductively. ‘Oh, I know it is. By Merlin, if it’s the last thing I do, I will have you back, James Potter!’
A/N Hey guys *sexy wave* Sorry for the wait, school has been HECTIC and, man, those art teachers are brutal (Shh, don't tell Miss Heritage or she might throw her fake nails at you!!) I hope you like the chapter and, as always, reviews are welcome. Any critisizm you might have, please feel free to add because I want to improve my writing and you know I only aim to please you guys (by the way, I like compliments too ;])xx
Lots of love,
ZOMG LOOK AT THE PEEERRRFECT CHAPTER IMAGE EASTERLIES @TDA DID!!
Confession time: I kind of forgot to tell James about Courtney’s plan. I raced back to the Head’s Common Room, but he wasn’t there. He wasn’t in his bedroom, his bathroom, my bedroom, my bathroom or the kitchen. He most definitely wasn’t in the library – he said the place brought him out in hives. I thought about using his magical map, but I remembered him telling me in passing that Remus had it. Since I had no idea where Remus was, I had no hope of finding him. Then I decided to finish off my Care of Magical Creatures essay on the correct handling of a wild Manticore. Wild ones and tame ones didn’t seem to have any difference to me.
After I completed the essay, it was almost midnight and James still wasn’t back, so I decided to go to sleep. I tossed and turned all night, my dreams full of Courtney and James and their map and Manticores.
The next morning, James was sitting at the table, chatting with Remus and Peter and Benny Joshua, the fifth boy in their dorm.
‘Where were you last night?’ I demanded as I sat down next to James. ‘I was worried!’
James leaned closer and whispered, ‘Full moon last night. Me and Peter went walkabout with Moony. Sorry, I forgot to tell you.’
I relaxed. ‘That’s alright then.’ I turned to Remus, who was opposite me. ‘Are you feeling OK?’
Remus smiled at me. ‘I’ve been better.’
‘I thought maybe you were –’ I said uncomfortably to James.
‘What? With another girl?’ James suggested, laughing as I nodded shyly. ‘Come on, Lils, you know I’d never do that.’
‘You have in the past. When you went out with Gina McDowell in fifth year and she caught you in the broom cupboard with her best friend.’
‘That was a mistake. I mean, Gina? Seriously, what was I thinking? Lucy Madelyn was much prettier than her.’ James said, finishing off his orange juice. I raised my eyebrows. ‘Not as pretty as you. Obviously.’
I laughed. I swivelled around to face Lisa, whose face was buried in The Daily Prophet. ‘Any news worth sharing with us?’
‘Not particularly,’ Lisa said. ‘England’s playing Brazil in the Quidditch World Cup next summer, apparently.’
‘Really,’ I said. ‘Anything else?’
‘Not really.’ Lisa said, her face still in the pages of the paper. ‘There’s a new member of the Hairy Elf. Some guy called Thompson Hairywold.’
‘He sounds cool.’
‘He can’t sing.’
‘He’s perfect for the band then. They’re coming to the Halloween Ball to perform for us.’ I said casually.
‘Which just happens to be in two weeks and we still don’t have our dresses yet!’ squealed Mary, who was sat opposite Lisa. ‘We have to go this Saturday, or my perfect night will be ruined.’
‘Aw, don’t worry, Mary. We’ll go to Madam Visage’s and you can get that strapless azure blue one with the ruffles, and the matching shoes that you’ve wanted since we first went in third year.’ I assured her.
‘And you can –’
‘Ah!’ I said, reaching across the table and planting a finger on her lips. ‘We don’t want James to find out, do we now?’
Mary smiled. ‘Of course not. Not that James would be listening, anyway.’
‘You’re right,’ I said. I turned to James. ‘What were we talking about?’
James shrugged as he put ketchup over his bacon. ‘Dunno.’
Ella snorted. ‘Wow, trust Lily to get a boyfriend that does nothing but snog her.’
‘Hey, that’s not true! Me and James do loads more than that!’ I said indignantly.
‘Uh. Well, that was the time where … oh, no that was Jake … Ooh, we went … oh, that was Kevin. Oooh! I got one! We went to feed the ducks once. Oh, no, that was Robin. Or was it Luke? Or maybe Adam?’
‘Gee, Lily, I thought I was only the second one?’ James said.
I shook my head. ‘James, James, James. If you look like I do, there’s no way you could have only had two boyfriends by the time you were sixteen.’
‘I’m guessing that wasn’t your first kiss either then?’ James said, raising an eyebrow.
‘I had my first kiss when I was seven.’ I said. ‘By the lake, under the willow tree with –’
‘No, stupid, with Peter.’
‘Peter Pettigrew?’ James said incredulously.
‘No, Peter Kolker. He was a Muggle, you wouldn’t know him.’ I said matter-of-factly. ‘When was your first kiss?’
‘When I –’ James gestured towards Ella. They’d gone out for a bit in third year, but it quickly dissolved. Ella hated him anyway, and still said she had no idea why she said yes when he asked her out.
‘Yeah, but that wasn’t Ella’s.’ Lisa said.
‘Shut up!’ Ella said, red in the face.
‘Who was then?’ James demanded.
‘Why do you want to know? Soon you’ll be asking who our first times were with.’ Ella snapped.
James stared. ‘What?’
She laughed. ‘I’m just joking. This is such a weird conversation anyway. I’m off. See you in Herbology!’
Before James and I went to Care of Magical Creatures, I told him I had to take a quick trip to the toilets, and for him to go ahead. He obliged, and I hurried up to check my hair and makeup (it’s what any self-conscious girl would do!). I quickly made my way down to Hagrid’s hut.
He had already assigned the pairs and, surprise surprise, I was with Sirius Black.
‘I have nothing against you.’ he told me as we set about looking after the baby unicorn. It gave off a faint gold glow to match its fur. She looked at me with huge black eyes and whinnied softly, nudging her head against my stomach. I picked up a handful of sugar cubes and, as I fed them one at a time to the unicorn, I said,
‘Yeah, and that’s why you accused me of cheating on you, then slapped me.’ I patted the unicorn a bit too hard and she neighed angrily, butting her nose on my chest.
‘I’m sorry, I was angry, and crazy –’
‘And high.’ I snapped, picking up a little carrot to see if the unicorn liked it. ‘What are you on, Sirius? After we broke up you went after Courtney?’
‘Hey, she came for me, alright?’ he said, stroking the unicorn’s back. She neighed loudly and bucked and reared.
‘Stay back, she doesn’t like you.’ I ordered. ‘Shh, it’s OK, girl. Nasty boy is gone now.’ She whinnied adoringly at me and sniffed the carrot. She made a noise like gagging and turned away.
‘James looks pretty happy with Courtney,’ Sirius pointed out. I turned so fast that I cricked my neck. Rubbing it fiercely, I saw Courtney petting the baby unicorn and James sitting against a tree, using his wand to bring the sticks and stones to life.
‘He’s not doing anything, which is why he’s happy.’ I said sternly.
Sirius snorted. ‘You didn’t see?’
‘No. And I don’t want to.’ I snapped. ‘Move over, I want to see if she likes apples.’
Courtney’s plan banished my mind completely. Me and James had a make-out session in the Common Room and I decided to head down to the library before it closed to pick up a book to help with my Ancient Runes essay.
‘Hurry back,’ James said, planting a trail of kisses down my neck.
‘I’ll try,’ I said, smiling.
I walked quickly along the corridors. Peeves was waiting just outside the library. He caught sight of me and swooped down.
‘Student in the corridors, eh? Should I call Mr Filch and scream and shout?’ he said, looking at me as if I was a piece of artwork he was scrutinizing.
‘Beat it, I’m Head Girl.’ I snapped.
‘Oooh, are we now? That doesn’t make any difference to me, you see.’ Peeves said.
‘Scram. I’ll get the Bloody Baron.’ I said.
‘You don’t know where he is!’ Peeves said, though he looked terrified at the thought.
‘He’s up at the Astronomy Tower. He likes it there at night times.’ I said, shrugging as if this meant nothing to me. ‘Now get lost, before I go there and get him.’
‘As you wish, ma’am!’ Peeves said in a squeaky voice, giving me a brief salute before whooshing through me and disappearing through the wall. As usual with all ghosts and poltergeists or whatever, I felt as if my whole body had been doused in ice-cold water. I shivered and stood there, before coming to my senses and rushing forwards. Madam Pince was just beginning to close the gates when I said,
‘Please, Madam Pince, I just need one book!’
She considered me with yellow eyes. ‘Oh, go on then!’ she snarled finally. ‘But hurry up!’ I squeezed past her and scanned the bookshelves for what I was looking for. I grabbed it off the shelf and hurried over. She stamped it hard and shoved it back at me.
‘Uh … thanks?’ I said. She glared at me and I took this as the cue to leave. I glanced at my watch. ‘Shoot,’ I muttered as I hurried out of the library.
I stopped in front of my Charms class, wondering whether I should take the long way and leave James waiting, or if I should go through a shortcut and get there fast. In the end, I chose the latter.
A very. Big. Mistake.
What I saw scarred me for the rest of my life. Not to brag, or anything, but I never thought I’d see my boyfriend cheating on me. With his ex.
He was pushed up against the wall while she had her mouth crushed up against his with her legs curled around his waist. Her fingers were knotted in his black hair and his hands were at her hips.
I was about to stumble back out, but the book slipped from my hands and fell to the floor with a bang. They broke apart and turned to stare.
‘Lily, I –’ James began.
‘Save it, Potter,’ I snapped, forcing myself not to cry, ‘I don’t want to hear your pathetic excuses this time.’
And with that, I picked up my book, turned on my heel and fled.
As I approached the portrait of Priscilla, the tears started coming. I choked out the password to her and she swung forwards, but not before gazing at me sympathetically.
I scrambled through the portrait hole and threw the book down onto the table. I charged up the stairs to my dorm and flung myself down onto my bed. I kicked my shoes against the wall and curled up in a tight ball under the duvet.
Using my sleeve, I wiped my eyes and put my head on the pillow. I put on my pyjamas and sighed as I got back into bed. I pulled the cover over my head and dozed off quite quickly. About five minutes later, I woke up to the sound of something tapping. At first I thought it was on the door and I picked up my wand and readied myself to attack, but then I glanced over to the window. Mary’s owl was fluttering outside, holding a note in her beak. She was tapping on the glass with her claws, glaring at me impatiently with her big brown eyes.
I pushed the window open and let Mary’s owl land on the windowsill. I took the note from her beak and unrolled it.
Lily, I saw you running down the corridors. What happened? You looked really upset
I rummaged in my bag for a quill and inkpot. I was tired and shaken, but Mary genuinely cared for me, so I had to be bothered to reply, or she’d get worried. I flipped over the piece of parchment.
I’m alright Mary. I just had a bit of an argument with James. No time for details, I’ll tell you tomorrow morning at breakfast. Lily x
I put down the quill, rolled up my reply and gave it to Mary’s owl. As soon as she set off into the night, I closed the window and slid the latch down. I could see my reflection in the window panes. The lack of light enhanced the shadows in my face, making it look like there was only half of me.
Only half …
And where was the other half? Gone with the brief happiness I had had with James before I foolishly went through the shortcut.
I climbed back into bed. My limbs were aching and my nose was running. After stashing a box of tissues under my pillow, I finally laid down to sleep, dreading the dawn.
AN: Yes, yes, just say it: "Summer (yes, that is my name), I hate you sooooo much!! WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY???" And I have an answer: twists and turns, my dear. I hope you enjoyed it and don't hate me too much. *Spoiler alert* the next chapter will be about Lily dealing with James's betrayal, going shopping for the ball and maybe there'll be some different POVs, too. Just wait and see ;) As always, compliments and critisizm is appreciated. Love you guys xx
I'm so jeli of the talent easterlies @tda has
I hardly slept last night. I finally dozed off at about half-two in the morning, and all the time I tossed and turned and had nightmares about Courtney laughing and jeering and holding onto James as I sank down to the bottom of the Black Lake.
Finally, at six, I jerked awake, sweating and breathing hard. I picked up my towel and stumbled down to the bathroom. I quickly shed my clothes and slipped inside. I kept the water cold and sighed as it washed over me. It felt like all the drama and betrayal and love and soap-opera-storyline-type-events that had happened over the last few weeks were being washed off. I spent a while in the shower and my skin was all crinkled when I switched the water off. I wrapped the towel around myself and crept back into the dorm. I dropped the towel and put on my uniform. As I was drying my hair using my wand, someone knocked on the door and it opened. I didn’t need to turn around to know who it was.
‘Look, Potter, I don’t want to talk to you, so just get lost.’ I snapped as I picked up my comb and started running it through my hair.
‘Lily, please, I –’ he began.
‘Didn’t you hear me?’ I said angrily, standing up to face him. ‘Get out! Get out and never come back! I hate you! I wish you were dead!’
Being the strong, willing girl that I was, naturally, I threw my comb at the door as it slammed shut, fell to the floor and burst into tears. Through the blurry wetness in my eyes, I looked up at the clock. It was quarter past seven. Breakfast started in fifteen minutes. I had to pull myself together.
I couldn’t lose control over a stupid boy.
A boy who I always knew was a player and no good for me.
I dried my eyes on my sleeve and stood up. I crossed the room to pick up my comb. I tied my hair in a simple ponytail, used my concealer (bought from an ordinary Muggle shop before September) to make the bags under my eyes less noticeable, picked up my school bag, pulled open the door and marched down the stairs.
James was sitting in front of the fire, finishing off a piece of toast. He got up as he saw me.
‘Lily, please, listen.’
‘No,’ I said, not looking at him. I gathered up the homework I had left last night and shoved it into my bag. Before he could say anything else, I climbed out of the portrait hole and made my way down to the Hall. I saw Courtney standing next to a suit of armour.
‘Aw, what’s wrong, lickle Lilykins?’ she sneered. ‘Has your bwoyfwend bwoken up wif you?’ she said in a baby voice.
‘You make me sick,’ I spat at her. ‘Sick. You think, just because you’re pure-blood, that you can walk all over me and try to make me break down?’
Courtney laughed softly. ‘Of course I think that, Lily. But I also think you’re a lying, cheating tart who stole my boyfriend, and now, I’m getting him back.’
‘Well, like I said before, he never liked you. Did you not see how he never used to notice you or talk to you? I told him to go out with you because I saw how upset you were and I didn’t like seeing you like that.’
‘Yeah, for that first trip. But then he asked me out. By himself.’ Courtney said, looking smug.
‘Because he liked me! Because he was jealous that I was going out with Sirius! Because he wanted to get back at me!’ I cried.
Courtney looked agitated, like she didn’t have a comeback.
Without trying to seem smug, I scowled. ‘You’re pathetic,’ I said viciously, before turning on my heel and continuing down the stairs.
‘… they were kissing?’ Ella said incredulously.
I nodded. ‘Like, proper kissing,’
Ella made a noise that showed she was properly disgusted. She glanced at the doors of the Hall. ‘Here she comes, the bitch. I’m going to punch her so hard she’ll land in next week.’ She stood up, fists curled and a look of utmost rage on her face.
‘Ella, no!’ I moaned, trying to grab her robes as she stomped past me. But Ella just shrugged me off and went right up to Courtney. I saw her making hand gestures and saying a lot of swear words, but when she raised her fist to give her a good whack (which I agreed she needed), Mary whipped out her wand and pointed it at Ella.
‘Confundus!’ Mary hissed. Ella spun round as she put her weight forwards and stumbled past Courtney, who sniggered and sashayed to the table. Ella meandered back to us, looking dazed.
‘You Confunded me!’ she growled at Mary.
‘So what? You would have gotten into serious trouble, Ella!’ Mary shot back.
‘I don’t care! What can they do to me? My name is Ella Jones, toughest girl in Gryffindor!’ Ella said, looking proud and haughty like she usually did. She flicked her mahogany hair over her shoulder and poured herself a glass of orange juice.
Lisa touched my elbow. ‘James is here,’
I looked up. He looked so lonely. I just wanted to run up to him and give him a hug. But I couldn’t. Not anymore. He walked into the Hall, apparently searching for Peter and Remus, when Courtney swaggered up to him and crushed her mouth to his.
Disgusted and upset, I turned away. I gobbled up my cereal like I hadn’t eaten in weeks and dashed out of the Hall with Mary close behind. She threw Courtney and James a dirty look, which Courtney returned.
I was planning on returning to the Head Common Room and bunking the day, but I had to study hard. It was a promise I’d made to my parents just before we left home for King’s Cross and I couldn’t break that promise, so instead I headed down to the dungeons to line up for double Potions.
‘Lily!’ Mary panted as I came to a stop outside the classroom.
‘Mary,’ I said, feeling my eyes burn with hot tears, ‘I can’t do it anymore. She’s trying to break me and I can’t cope with it anymore.’
‘Of course you can, Lily,’ Mary said, digging into her pocket and offering me a Chocolate Frog. As I accepted the Frog, she went on, ‘Courtney’s just jealous. I mean, you’re beautiful, smart and you – had – the most wanted boy in the year. I was jealous and I don’t even fancy James. She will get over it. If she doesn’t, you’re strong enough to know that she can’t break you. Whatever she does, you won’t break down. You can get through this, Lily, and all three of us, me, Lisa and Ella, we will always be here for you. Every step of the way.’
On Saturday, the four of us got a carriage into Hogsmeade together. The Halloween Ball was in a week and we needed to get dresses and dates. Mary told us how she turned down another date with Remus for us to have a girly day out.
‘Mary, you didn’t have to do that,’ I said. ‘I wouldn’t have minded, honestly.’
Mary smiled and shook her head. ‘I told you I would be here for you. My girls come first, Lily, you should know that.’
When we arrived at Hogsmeade, we approached a new shop called Miss Mawdor’s All Season Dresses. Miss Mawdor was a thirty-something woman with a blonde bob and dark, glinting eyes. She rushed up to us as soon as we stepped inside.
‘Hello, girls! From Hogwarts, are we?’
‘Yeah,’ Ella said. ‘We’re having a Halloween Ball. Have you got anything?’
‘Of course, ladies,’ Miss Mawdor said, smiling and showing off pearly white teeth. ‘Is there a colour scheme?’
‘Ask Lily, she’s Head Girl,’ Ella said, pointing to me.
‘Ah, Head Girl? I was in my day,’ Miss Mawdor told me.
‘Well, there are the traditional colours; you know … orange and black.’ I said.
‘Ah, that’s perfect!’ the tailor said, clapping her hands in delight. ‘Follow me!’ She led us to the back of the shop. Clearly displayed on the wall were the words Halloween Dresses written in huge, black, spidery writing. ‘Have a browse and if there’s anything you like, feel free to try them on.’ Miss Mawdor gave a little curtsey and returned to her desk.
Lisa immediately picked up a black dress with one strap and red decoration. ‘This is really nice. And it looks …’
‘Halloween-y?’ I suggested.
‘Yes. Halloween-y. This dress looks very Halloween-y.’ Lisa agreed. She searched for her size and went into a changing room. While Mary, Ella and I continued to browse, Lisa put on the dress. She threw the curtain back with confidence and strutted out, striking a pose like Courtney would have done.
The dress was a little tight around her waist but she didn’t seem to mind. Her leg stuck out of the little slit running up the left side.
‘You look amazing!’ Mary gasped. ‘I wish we could all find a dress that fits us within three minutes of shopping.’
‘Lisa’s very gifted when it comes to this kind of stuff,’ Ella said. ‘Coming from a long line of Seers must help a lot,’
‘The Inner Eye skips two generations, remember? My granny has it, but me and my mum don’t,’ Lisa sighed, rolling her eyes at us. She slipped back inside the changing room and came out wearing her other clothes. ‘I’m going to go and buy this,’
Lisa purchased the dress and came back to help us look. After about half an hour, I picked up a strapless orange dress with a full skirt and admired it. I was about to head into the changing rooms to try it on when Ella stopped me.
‘Lily, if you put that on, I will cry,’
‘Why?’ I asked, confused.
‘Why? Why? Lily, orange. It’s bloody orange! If you wear that, it’ll clash so horribly with your hair that everyone at the Ball will either scream, run or vomit. I would do all three. Now give me that dress!’ Ella demanded. Startled, I obediently handed over the dress.
She bulldozed into the changing rooms. When she came out, Ella literally took my breath away. She looked stunning. If she really did herself up, every boy at the Ball would be clamouring after her. Mary begged her to let her try it on, but Ella refused.
‘No! It’s my dress now. Tough nubs.’ Before Mary could plead any more, Ella went to buy the dress.
There was nothing else in Miss Mawdor’s that attracted Mary and I. Everything was either orange or black. Mary insisted on an azure blue dress and I just wanted something that didn’t clash with my hair. Also, Lisa already had a black dress, and I thought black was the most macabre colour under the sun. We thanked Miss Mawdor and left the shop.
‘You two are so fussy!’ Lisa said, making a ‘tuh!’ sort of sound.
‘We can’t all be perfect shoppers like you two,’ Mary retorted. ‘Anyway, I need a break. Let’s go get a Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks. What do you say, Lily?’ I didn’t reply. ‘Lily?’
I hardly heard her. I had just seen James walking along the street, looking sad.
‘One second, girls,’ I said to Mary, Ella and Lisa. I made the first few steps towards him, the words ‘Sorry’ and ‘I love you’ already on my lips, when a certain familiar blonde-haired girl came out of Honeydukes.
She stopped in front of James. They started talking. I shuffled my feet in his direction a little more, when raindrops started pattering on the street. As the rain drummed harder, they moved into the shelter of a doorway of Scrivenshaft’s. A little closer … it looked like they were arguing.
‘Lily! Come on!’ I heard Ella yell. I glanced over to see them hurrying under the doorway of the Three Broomsticks.
‘One minute,’ I said quietly, even though I knew no one would hear. People all around me started running into shops or, in the case of students, back up to the school. Someone splashed me with mud. I felt it trickling down the collar of my coat and dripping in my hair. I must have looked like an idiot.
I moved a little bit closer to James and Courtney. His head was bent towards her. A cloud shifted in the sky and the doorway of Scrivenshaft’s was bathed in October sunlight, and I could see James and Courtney perfectly.
‘James, I –’ I began. But then I saw them properly, and they were kissing. Again.
James pulled away and looked up at me, standing in the mud, wet and cold with tears spilling onto my cheeks. ‘Lily!’
‘No,’ I said, backing away, ‘just forget it. Leave me alone, both of you.’ I felt like yelling, but I didn’t. Instead I turned and fled into the Three Broomsticks. Madam Rosmerta looked up at me. Her smile faded.
‘Lily? Are you alright?’ I nodded and wiped the tears away. ‘Well, you certainly don’t look it! Here, come into the back room, you look a mess.’
I was good friends with Rosmerta because I used to stay and chat with her when I came here before. She called over the other three as she led me through a door behind the bar. Ella grabbed my upper arm and sat me down on the overstuffed sofa. She pushed a bottle of Butterbeer into my hand and said,
So I told them about me planning to apologise to James, but Courtney getting there before I could.
Lisa looked furious. ‘I never thought Courtney would do something like that!’
Mary’s face darkened. ‘Of course she would. Courtney’s rule was always “Look after number one”. Obviously she’d do anything for herself, including tear apart poor Lily just for some stupid boy.’
‘I don’t think James would kiss Courtney on purpose, though,’ Ella said. ‘I mean, he’s fancied you for years, Lily, he wouldn’t just suddenly change his mind and go for her.’
I shrugged. ‘Maybe. Whenever I see them together now, it’s always her that goes to him.’
‘Then maybe Ella’s right,’ Lisa said. ‘It’s not James’s fault, it’s Courtney’s.’
‘I should say sorry,’ I said. ‘Tonight, when there’s no Courtney around, I’ll apologise.’
After I tidied up, we gulped down two bottles of Butterbeer each, thanked Rosmerta and left. Mary and I both managed to pick up a dress. Mary’s was, as requested, azure blue and from Madam Visage’s, which was where I got my dress from too. I couldn’t decide between a midnight blue one and a deep purple one, but after much arguing, I decided upon the purple one.
I was much happier as we were going back up to Hogwarts at around five-ish, because I spotted Courtney trying to talk to James, who shook his head and ran off. She looked furious.
When we arrived at school, it was half-five, which gave me half an hour to get ready for dinner. I told Priscilla the password and she let me through. James was sitting at one of the study tables, scribbling frantically. I put the bag containing my dress, shoes and jewellery across the arm of the sofa in front of the fire and approached James. I was very nervous. I picked at my nail varnish as I cleared my throat.
‘Um, James?’ He didn’t look up. Instead, he just grunted and continued scribbling. ‘Um, I’ve been thinking and … I think me and you … I think we should get a second chance. I don’t think you kissed Courtney on purpose and I know you really like me and … James, I really love you.’ I took a deep breath and waited for his reply. He wrote some more, but a little slower than before, as if he was thinking about what I had just said. At last, he put down his quill and turned to face me.
‘You finally got it, huh?’ he said, his eyes narrowed.
I nodded. ‘Yes. I’m really sorry that I didn’t see it before.’
He looked down at the floor and stood up. ‘Who could stay mad at you?’ He wrapped his arms around me and pressed his lips to mine. I noticed the usual taste of sherbet and orange on his lips. I pulled away and put my head on his chest, taking in his sweet smell of cinnamon.
‘I missed you, James,’ I whispered.
He planted a gentle kiss in the folds of my red hair. ‘I missed you too, Lily.’
‘So, what are you working on?’ I asked, forcing myself away from him and looking down at the papers on the desk.
‘This? Oh, I was just finishing off some homework,’ James replied in an offhand sort of voice. My jaw dropped to the floor.
‘Did I really hear that correctly? James Godric Potter actually doing homework? I think I must be dreaming!’ I said, laughing.
‘Ha-ha, you make me laugh so-o-o much,’ James said sarcastically, rolling his eyes. ‘I think I’ve done most of it right. It’s Transfiguration,’
‘The one that was due in last Thursday?’ I asked, scanning down the parchment.
‘Umm … yeah,’ James’s face went a little bit red.
‘Well, it all looks OK from here,’ I said. ‘You really are very clever, Mr Potter,’
‘Has it really taken you that long to figure that out? Gee, I’ve known it for years!’ James said, grinning at me. He rolled up his homework parchment and stuffed it into his bag, which was on the floor by the desk. I collected his quill, put the stopper on his ink bottle and put them in his bag, too. I collapsed in front of the fire.
‘Are you alright?’ James asked, coming round to join me on the sofa. I tossed my legs onto his lap.
‘Today,’ I said, closing my eyes, ‘has been so hectic. You know what? I wish I could get a Time-Turner and go back to the day I told you to ask Courtney to Hogsmeade. Then she wouldn’t have got it into her head that you liked her.’
‘Yeah,’ James sighed, ‘I wish you’d have given me a proper kiss,’
I knew he was hinting heavily, but I went on, ‘And I wish I’d said no when Sirius asked me out.’
‘Then I wouldn’t have gotten jealous,’ James said. ‘Ohh … Merlin, I am such an idiot! I started all of this, just because I was jealous.’
‘You should have waited, James,’ I told him. ‘Me and Sirius would never have lasted. You know what they say. Love makes you do stupid things. And when it’s James Potter, what he does is absolutely imbecilic.’
‘Hey, are you calling me an imbecile?’ James demanded, pretending to be indignant.
‘No,’ I said, leaning closer, ‘I’m calling you my imbecile.’ Our lips touched ever so slightly. He put his arms around my waist to pull me closer. I put my hands on his chest and pushed my lips to his.
‘Upstairs?’ James muttered into my mouth.
‘Yes, please,’ I breathed. We stood, not breaking the kiss, and moved towards the doors to the dorms. We were about to tumble into the doorway to James’s room when the portrait burst open and someone charged inside.
James and I broke apart and turned.
‘Courtney?’ I said. ‘Why are you here?’
She raised an eyebrow and smirked. ‘Why, James invited me here.’
‘What? No, I didn’t. In fact, I specifically told you to stay away,’ James shot back, leaping in front of me.
‘Well, that’s not what you told me when we were near Scrivenshaft’s. I remember you saying “I love you” and “Come for me tonight”.’ Courtney said.
‘I never said that, you lying –’ James roared. He seized his wand from the desk and pointed it at Courtney.
‘Are you really going to hex me?’ she said, not sounding worried at all. ‘Are you going to get in trouble, not only for harming another student, but for also harming a girl?’
James’s wand dropped ever so slightly. My hand crept towards my back pocket, where my wand was, just in case.
‘Good,’ Courtney said, ‘now that we’ve cleared that up, I want a word with you, James.’ She lunged forwards to crush her mouth to his. In an instant, my wand was out.
‘Stupefy!’ I cried. With a bang, Courtney flew across the room and landed on the sofa. I rushed to look at her. Her eyes were closed and she looked unconscious. ‘Um … whoopsie?’
‘The little bitch,’ James spat vehemently. ‘She deserved it.’
‘I think this is part of her plan,’ I said.
‘What plan? You told me of no plan!’ James said, looking surprised.
‘Oh, Merlin, I’m sorry. I was meant to on the night of the full moon, but you weren’t here and after that there was so much drama, I just totally forgot.’ I said, tugging at my hair in frustration.
‘It’s fine, just tell me.’ James said. So I told him about overhearing her conversation with Sirius.
‘She said something like “I will have you back, James Potter!” so she really obviously means it.’ I said. ‘She was probably planning to break us up and take advantage of you when you were all heartbroken and stuff,’
‘It sounds like a good plan,’ James said, studying my face. ‘But we know what it is now, so we’ll know how to avoid it,’
‘I think Sirius is in on it too,’ I said.
By some eerie coincidence, at that moment, Sirius Black climbed through the portrait hole. He looked from me to James to Courtney’s unconscious form and back. His eyes continued this triangle for a while, before screaming,
‘You killed Courtney?’
‘No!’ I yelled. ‘I didn’t kill her! I promise I didn’t!’
‘So what did you do to her, you freak?’ Sirius shouted, running over to Courtney and checking her pulse.
‘I may have Stupefied her. But it came out a little more –’
‘Eager,’ James said.
‘Yeah. It came out a bit more eager than I meant it to. I just wanted her to stumble, because she tried to kiss James. I promise I didn’t mean for her to get knocked out.’ I said.
‘You obviously did!’ Sirius growled. ‘You’ve hated Courtney from the moment she went out with him!’ He brandished his wand dramatically in the direction of James. ‘I bet you wanted her dead!’
I stared at him in horror. ‘W-what? You think I want her dead? Just because she kissed my boyfriend? You’re messed up, Sirius.’
‘Oh, really?’ Sirius scowled at me and James. ‘Messed up, am I?’
‘Yes!’ I said, stepping forwards. ‘You’re sick in the head, you’re mental!’
‘Alright, fine then. This sick, mental, messed up boy is leaving right now. With Courtney. I’m taking her to the hospital wing, and then I’m going straight to McGonagall and I’m going to tell her about what you did, Evans!’ Sirius glowered at me, and for a moment I was afraid he would lose control and take his dog form and attack me. James put an arm around my shoulders, his jaw set as he watched his best friend pick up Courtney and walk to the portrait hole. With some difficulty, he managed to get both himself and Courtney through. As soon as they were gone, I threw myself onto the sofa in a panic, pulling at my hair and twisting my hands in my lap.
‘James, what are we going to do?’ I asked desperately.
‘Hey, it’ll be OK, Lily,’ James said soothingly, sitting beside me and putting his arm around my shoulders again. ‘We’ll just tell McGonagall the truth.’
‘What, that I hexed her because she tried to kiss you?’ I said.
‘Yeah. I mean, it sounds stupid, but it’s better than if you did it for no reason. I’ll bet Dumbledore knows something about this already,’ James said.
‘You mean about this stupid love … square?’ I muttered. I put my head on his shoulder. I felt him nod. ‘I had my suspicions. I think that’s why he set up this ball.’
‘He is such a strange yet brilliant man,’ James said. After a few minutes of silence, in which I cried a little, Professor McGonagall burst into the common room.
‘What’s this I hear about you hexing Miss Allison, Lily?’ she demanded.
I jumped up, and so did James. ‘Professor, I really didn’t mean to knock her out. And I didn’t really mean to Stupefy her either. I was thinking of Expelliarmus but … that just came out. I am so, so, so sorry, Professor. Courtney will be fine, won’t she?’ I blurted out.
Professor McGonagall studied me from behind her spectacles. ‘You are very lucky she landed on the sofa, Miss Evans. If she’d crashed to the floor she would have broken several bones and most likely have been in a coma. That was an extremely powerful spell you did there. Even so, when she wakes up she will be severely shaken and her right arm may possibly be paralysed, seeing as that is the arm she landed on.’
‘I didn’t mean for it to be like that,’ I mumbled, staring at the floor.
‘I can see that you meant no real harm to Miss Allison,’ Professor McGonagall, ‘so you will not be punished too hard. However, you did do damage to another student which, as you should know, is breaking the rules. So, I’m afraid I will have to dock twenty points from Gryffindor.’
‘Thank you, Professor,’ I said, smiling at her.
‘Just promise me you do not do anything like this again, Miss Evans,’ she said sharply.
I nodded quickly. ‘Of course. I promise. Cross my heart,’ I made a quick ‘X’ shape over my heart. Wizards didn’t usually use that expression, and James looked confused, but I thought I saw a flicker of recognition cross the professor’s face. She nodded graciously and left. I looked at my watch.
‘It’s almost nine. I think I’ll turn in early,’ I said.
‘Goodnight then, Miss Red,’ James said. We kissed goodnight and I departed up the stairs.
The next day, after lunch I decided to pay Courtney a visit. Despite Lisa, Ella and Mary’s protesting, I ate the stew in super-quick time and headed up to the hospital wing.
‘Madam Pomfrey?’ I said quietly, opening the door. The matron came hurrying out of her office. ‘I was wondering if I’d be able to see Courtney.’
Madam Pomfrey clicked her tongue at me. ‘The girl needs rest!’ I made my pleading face at her and she sighed. ‘Alright, but only for five minutes!’
‘Thank you!’ I hurried down the ward until I saw Courtney lying in bed. She was awake, but her jaw was swollen and her right arm was stiff. She was glaring at me like she was itching to strangle me. I guessed she couldn’t speak.
‘Um, hi, Courtney,’ I said awkwardly, sitting down on the chair. ‘How are you?’ She rolled her eyes at me. ‘Look, I’m really sorry about what happened. I didn’t want to land you in here.’ She was giving me a Death Stare, but I ignored it. ‘I was really worried last night.’
She gave me a look that clearly meant Get out of here you bitch, but I went on, ‘I hope you get better in time for the ball. I know you like things like that.’ She did nothing but glower. Madam Pomfrey came scurrying over.
‘It’s time for her medicine now! Scram!’ She shooed me away. I stood up. Madam Pomfrey turned her back and searched a tray for the correct medicine. Courtney tapped me on the small of my back with her good arm. I turned round. She pointed to a piece of parchment on the bedside cabinet. She’d obviously written it with her bad arm, probably trying to exercise it or practice writing again because she was right-handed. After checking Madam Pomfrey was still busy, I bent closer to look at it. There were two words written on it in wobbly, babyish handwriting.
Lily = DEAD
A/N: Hello, strangers! I haven't seen you in a while! Okay, so listen, I was planning on submitting this in early December, but I fell ill (like really badly ill) and I could hardly get out of bed in the morning. Then around Christmas it got really hectic and I just didn't get the chance. I submitted a chapter for another story which took a while to get validated, then my teachers gave us all a huge Geography project (WITHOUT TELLING US!!) and I've been working on that for a while. Secondly, this chapter is like 20 pages long on word. I didn't know where to finish it off and I just kept going and going and going. It took me a while to write :3 I'm a little worried the characters went a little out of canon, so if you see anything that you don't think is right, please tell me and I'll do my best to fix it. Please review guys, because I will love you all for it. I hope the next update won't take this long xxx
Loooooooook easterlies @tda did anuvver amaaaazing chapter image
I left the hospital wing without another word.
Courtney wanted me dead. This had gone that far. It was her own fault. She’d pushed this too much and now she wanted me gone. Out of the way so she could have James to herself.
I went straight up to my dorm. Instead of crying, I sat down on my bed and sighed. I looked at my calendar. The Halloween Ball was in six days. If she got out of the hospital wing before then, I doubt whether I’d even be going to the ball.
‘Knock, knock,’ James said as he came in. ‘I just wanted to – hey, what’s wrong, Lily?’
‘Nothing,’ I said. ‘What’s up?’
‘It doesn’t matter. What’s up with you?’ James asked. He sat down beside me.
‘I went to see Courtney,’ I told him. ‘She said she wanted me dead,’
‘She said that?’ James said, his eyes narrowing in anger.
‘Well, not exactly. She wrote it. She can’t talk, her jaw’s all swollen,’ I said.
‘I hope she can’t come to the ball,’ James growled, balling his fists.
‘Hey, don’t think like that,’ I said.
‘She wants you dead, Lily,’ James said. ‘That’s a horrible thing to say,’
‘It’s OK, James,’ I said, kissing his cheek. ‘I can make sure she can’t hurt me,’
‘You’re very vulnerable,’ James said. ‘Especially at the ball. I swear I won’t leave your side for a minute.’
‘Well, I’m glad to know I’ve got a bodyguard now,’ I giggled.
‘I’m serious, Lily,’ James said.
‘Stop being so serious!’ I said. ‘I can look after myself, you know,’
James sighed. ‘I know. I’m just worried.’
‘You don’t have to worry, either,’ I told him. He sighed again, his brow creased. I’d never seen him concentrating like this, and it worried me, so I put my hands on his shoulders and kissed him. His hands wound around my waist and he pulled me close.
We leant back onto the bed and I ran my fingers through his hair. He deepened the kiss, his fingers at the buttons of my shirt and –
‘Helloo? Lily? James? Where are – Holy Merlin’s bra!’ Ella screamed, barging into the dorm. ‘Sorry! Sorry! Carry on what you were doing!’
I laughed as we stood up.
‘We should really change the password,’ James muttered, fixing his hair.
‘Ella,’ I said. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘Nothing!’ Ella said. ‘Please, return to your … girlfriend-boyfriend … thing.’ She started to leave but I grabbed her arm.
‘Ella, seriously,’ I said. ‘Tell me,’
‘Yeah, tell me!’ James said eagerly.
Ella looked at James curiously. ‘You better leave, Potter, unless you want your face to be huge, pink and covered in tentacles.’
‘Bye, Lily.’ James dashed past Ella and down the stairs.
‘So … what happened?’ I asked. Ella shut the door and started bouncing around.
‘He asked me! He asked me to the ball!’ she squealed.
‘Gerry Fowey!’ Ella screeched.
‘Really?’ I gasped. Ella had fancied Gerry since second year, but he was in Ravenclaw and they weren’t that close. ‘When? Why? How?’ I asked.
‘Just now! I was coming out of the Hall and he said, “Ella, can I talk to you?” So obviously I said yes and he asked me out!’ Ella said, her eyes crazy.
‘I’m happy for you,’ I said, giving Ella a big hug.
‘What’s wrong with you?’ Ella said. ‘You look sad,’
I sighed and quickly told her about Courtney. Ella had about the same reaction as James. ‘I’m going to hit her so hard she lands in next week! And then I’m going to turn her into a slug and dump her in salt!’
‘Ella, stop,’ I said. ‘James was as worried as you, but she can’t do anything to me. If, by a miracle, she does manage to … you know … she’ll get framed. You and James both know. I need to tell Mary and Lisa. Where are they, anyway? I didn’t see them at lunch.’
‘Oh,’ Ella said. ‘Lisa’s in the library. I swear she’s obsessed with studying for NEWTs and it’s not even Christmas yet, and Mary was with Remus. Last I saw, they were in the common room,’ Ella said.
‘Mary knows about him, doesn’t she? About his … werewolfy-ness?’
‘Yeah,’ Ella said. ‘I think Remus told her when they started going out. So what were you and James getting up to in here?’ Ella raised her eyebrows and wiggled them. I hit her with my wand.
‘Nothing,’ I said. She grinned.
‘Yeah, because that’s what it looked like to me. Lily, you do realise your top buttons are undone.’ Ella said, laughing.
I looked down and blushed profusely. As I did them up, I said, ‘Nothing happened.’
‘Yeah, because I interrupted. Hey, do you want me to leave now?’
‘No! Let’s go and find Lisa and then we can go spy on Mary and Remus.’
Lisa was in the library. James refused to go near the place, so Ella and I went. Lisa was buried in books and had her head bent over a piece of parchment.
‘What is all this?’ I asked, picking up a huge book.
‘Revision,’ Lisa replied simply. ‘I need to start now.’
‘Come on, Lis’, NEWTs aren’t until June and it’s only October.’ Ella said. ‘Guess what? Gerry Fowey asked me to the ball. Let’s go and find Mary.’
Lisa looked up. ‘I can’t, I have to study.’
‘But … but Lisa, it’s Sunday. Nobody studies on a Sunday!’ Ella moaned.
‘I do,’ Lisa snapped. ‘Now go away.’
‘Courtney wants me dead,’ I said.
Lisa looked up sharply. ‘What?’
‘If you come with us, I’ll tell you,’ I said.
Lisa rolled her eyes, looking irritable. She shut the book with a snap and stood up. On the way out, she looked over at Madam Pince. ‘Don’t move those. I’m coming back later, OK?’
Madam Pince glared at Lisa.
We went up to James’s dorm. It stunk. Bad.
‘What are we doing here?’ Lisa asked, pinching her nose.
I put my arm across my face to block out the smell. ‘To get his Invisibility Cloak, of course.’ I opened his trunk and pulled out the length of supple silvery material. ‘Come on, get under.’
I stood close to Lisa and Ella and threw it over us. Before Lisa disappeared, she waved her wand and a burst of flowers and a perfumey scent issued from the tip.
We left James’s dorm. He was sitting in front of the fire, munching happily on a bowl of popcorn. I poked my head out and he screamed, throwing popcorn everywhere. Next to me, Lisa and Ella sniggered.
‘Merlin, Lily! Why have you got my Cloak?’ he asked, frowning.
‘We’re going to spy on Mary.’
‘Oh, Lisa and Ella are here.’ I said. They both said hello. ‘Well, see you later then.’
‘Be careful, Lily,’ James warned. I rolled my eyes.
‘She can hardly do anything, can she? She’s stuck in the hospital wing. Stop worrying. If we’re not back in, say, three, four hours, then I’m either dead or lying wounded in a deserted corridor in the dungeons.’ I joked. James looked scared. ‘I’m only joking. Jeez, I thought you were James Potter, not a yellow-bellied nargle.’
‘Nargles don’t exist!’ James called after us as we left the common room.
Mary wasn’t in the common room. Remus was, though. We came out from under the Cloak and cornered him. He didn’t look surprised at all.
‘Where is she?’ Lisa asked.
He shrugged. ‘She left about ten minutes ago. I don’t know where she went.’
Ella eyed him suspiciously. ‘We’ll take your word for it this time, bucko. But we’re watching you.’ With that, she disappeared. Lisa went under too.
‘What’s wrong with Ella?’ Remus asked, looking amused.
‘Trust me, if I knew, I’d tell you,’ I replied, smiling. ‘Thanks, Remus.’
I let myself under the Cloak and we left the common room. We stopped a while later, having checked the bathrooms, Hagrid’s hut, the library and a full sweep of the grounds.
‘Where could she be?’ I panted, clutching a stitch from all the endless walking and running.
‘Well … there is one place we haven’t looked,’ Ella said. Mary and I looked at her questioningly. ‘The hospital wing. I mean, she was pretty upset when she heard about Courtney.’
Lisa was looking thoughtful. She shifted the Cloak over her head before speaking slowly. ‘I guess we could go and check. I mean, Courtney wouldn’t see us and if Mary’s there we can just wait for her to leave.’
I nodded. ‘It makes sense.’
I was not prepared for what we met at the hospital wing.
The door was open, thank Merlin, and Madam Pomfrey didn’t even notice when Ella knocked over a curtain and swore loudly.
She just hurried out of her office and picked it up with a sweep of her wand.
We crept round to Courtney’s bed. Sure enough, there was Mary. Apparently, in the few hours I’d been here, Courtney had been exercising her jaw or Madam Pomfrey had used a magical healing ointment or something, because the swelling on her jaw had gone down loads and she appeared to be speaking.
‘Let’s get closer,’ I whispered. Together we shuffled forwards until we were near enough to hear Courtney’s words. We had to stand right behind Mary because Courtney was talking pretty quietly.
‘Do you know who did this to me?’ she was saying.
‘Someone told me you fell or something,’ Mary said. She was clasping Courtney’s hand in hers.
Courtney shook her head and raised a hand to the part of her face that was still swollen. ‘Ouch. No. I didn’t fall, Mary,’
‘What happened, then?’
‘Lily did this to me,’
‘WHAT?!’ Mary cried, jumping up. Courtney nodded solemnly.
‘You know she’s going out with James and we used to be together? Well, James told me he still loved me. I think Lily overheard because she jumped out, hexed me and knocked me unconscious. Next thing I knew, I was in here and she came to visit. She was acting all friendly-like and she said, “James and I are still together, you evil bitch”. But … Mary, please don’t tell anyone.’ Courtney said, her face looking sad but an evil glint lurking in her blue eyes.
Mary nodded, looking outraged. ‘’Course I won’t tell. I have to go, Court. I’ll come back and visit tomorrow, OK? See you.’
She rushed past us and left. Courtney laughed quietly.
‘What a gullible little Flobberworm,’ she muttered to herself.
Madam Pomfrey bustled over. ‘It’s time for your ointment, Miss Allison!’ Courtney put on a sad, hurt face.
I couldn’t believe it. She’d been my best friend for six years and now she was turning evil for a boy.
‘I CANNOT BELIEVE HER!’ Ella roared, tearing off the Cloak and throwing it at James, who caught it, looking perplexed. We were back in the Heads’ common room ten minutes later
‘What’s going on?’ he asked.
‘Courtney told Mary a horrid little sob story,’ Lisa said. She quickly explained what our ‘friend’ had told Mary.
‘She said WHAT?’ James roared. ‘Oh no she didn’t!’
‘Please, don’t turn this into a pantomime,’ I sighed, rolling my eyes.
‘What’s a pantomime?’ James asked.
‘Don’t worry. Anyway, I’ll just talk to Mary and tell her what happened. She’ll soon see sense.’ I said. ‘And it does look like Courtney will be coming to the ball after all,’
James scowled. ‘I was hoping she wouldn’t be able to make it. She’d only cause trouble.’
We didn’t know it then, but she’d cause more trouble than we thought.
Courtney was released from the hospital wing the day before the ball. She didn’t talk to me or look at me during lessons, albeit a little snide remark or dirty look.
On the day of the ball, Lisa and Ella came over so we could get ready. Mary stayed with Courtney. We told James to stay out of my dorm and I locked the door just in case.
We got Lisa ready first. She seemed to have lost weight since she last tried it on, because where it used to be tight before fitted perfectly. Her leg looked slim and tanned and her feet slipped into the black heels she’d bought. I used my wand to straighten her curly hair and hold it back with a sparkly red bow. Ella did her makeup – using blood-red lipstick, light blush and dark red eyeshadow.
When she saw herself in the mirror, her eyes widened and her face went pale.
‘What?’ Ella said. ‘Don’t you like it?’
‘I … I love it!’ Lisa gasped. Shaking her head, she turned away. ‘Right, it’s Ella’s turn.’
Ella looked extremely nervous. We helped her into her pumpkin dress. The skirt was very wide and the front had sequins on which we hadn’t noticed before. She sat on my bed and allowed Lisa and I to do her up. Before I did her makeup, I slipped her heels onto her feet. Lisa sprayed some sort of hairspray from her wand onto Ella’s hair to make it shiny, then brushed it and pinned it to one side.
I was really nervous when Ella and Lisa turned to me, smiling manically. My only thought was: HELP! Before they dragged me over to where my dress was. I hadn’t shown myself off wearing the dress to them. I just chose it, tried it on and bought it without showing them what I looked like. To be honest, I’d only looked at myself briefly before taking it off.
I slipped into it and Lisa did the little zip up on the side. I sank onto the bed and closed my eyes, preparing for my makeover. As Ella dabbed lipgloss onto my lips, I could feel Lisa tugging on my hair. About half an hour later when I could feel the shoes coming onto my feet and the last couple of hair slides went onto my scalp, I braced myself to stand up.
‘Lily …’ Lisa said, her voice hushed. ‘You look … like …’
‘Like some sort of angel princess who’s just been to a glamorous beauty salon,’ Ella suggested.
‘Yeah. Like that,’ Lisa said. ‘Come and look at yourself!’
Feeling a little wobbly on my heels, I walked slowly towards the mirror.
It wasn’t me I saw in the mirror. I wasn’t looking at Lily Evans.
I was looking at a radiant angel. Something that was far too beautiful to ever walk on the earth. I put a hand to my chest. So did the angel.
‘I love it. Thank you.’
I studied myself. My red hair was cascading down my back in a wave of curls. The purple dress complemented my hair. It had two thin straps tied at the back of my neck. It tightened under my bust and held with a small, glittery diamond oval. The silky material flowed down to my ankles where it flared a little until it reached the floor. I lifted the hem and admired my glittery silver heels.
My lips were coated in a cherry-pink gloss. My eyelids were decorated with a purple that was almost the same shade as the dress. A light blush covered my cheeks and purple crystals dangled from my ears.
The three of us picked up our matching purses. I stowed my wand inside it, just in case.
‘Let’s do this thing,’ Ella said.
James was going to wait in the Entrance Hall like the other males and wait patiently for the girls to come to them.
Lisa, Ella and I strutted down the steps towards James, Gerry and Lucas McDowell, Lisa’s date.
Lucas was talking to his sister Gina when he turned and stared. ‘Lisa!’
‘Hello,’ she said, smiling. ‘Oi, James. Lily’s coming.’
Gerry turned first. He gaped at Ella as his gaze roved over her.
‘Stop staring, Fowey,’ Ella joked. He smiled at her, still taking her in. He held out his arm and she took it, grinning madly.
James hadn’t said anything. He looked Lisa and Ella up and down, smiling, but then he looked at me and his jaw dropped.
‘Whoa. Is that really Lily Evans?’
‘No, I’m the other girl who looks exactly like her,’ I joked, rolling my eyes as he wrapped his arm around me.
‘You look beautiful, Lily,’ James said, kissing the top of my head. He glanced at his watch. ‘It’s nearly twenty past. I think Minnie said she wanted to talk to us.’
‘OK,’ I said. ‘Where is she?’
‘I think she’s inside the Hall. Come on,’ James pulled me towards the doors.
‘See you later, guys!’ I yelled at Lisa and Ella. They waved as I was dragged into the Hall.
‘Ah, Lily, James,’ Professor McGonagall said, hurrying over to us. ‘The first dance will start in about five minutes and I want you two to lead it. You can dance, I hope?’ She raised an eyebrow.
‘Yeah, of course –’
‘Well, duh, Minnie –’
(Neither of us can dance)
Her mouth went thin and she walked towards the Entrance Hall. Her voice magically amplified, she said,
‘Can everyone please start making their way into the Hall? Leave an aisle and a circle in the middle for the first dance!’
James and I moved aside as everyone started to come in. Once everyone was in their place, we went back into the Entrance Hall and Professor McGonagall put down ropes on either side of the aisle.
An invisible orchestra started to play and the doors to the Hall opened. With my arm linked with James’s, we walked gracefully into the Hall. Everyone started clapping as we moved down the aisle. Everyone, it seemed, except Courtney, Sirius and Mary, who were looking sour.
Once we reached the middle, I put one hand on James’s shoulder and held his other one. His hand went to my waist and we moved in a circle. We stepped on each other’s toes and giggled quietly.
I noticed McGonagall glare at our feet for a second, before motioning to Ella and Gerry to join us.
Gerry was holding Ella close and she looked like she was in heaven. I think I bumped into her once because something hard collided with my back and I heard giggling.
‘Sorry!’ she whispered, before she and Gerry slowly circled away.
Couples started drifting onto the dance floor. Dumbledore took up a waltz with McGonagall and Hagrid was stumbling around with Professor Sprout.
Soon the ropes were gone and everyone was twirling and circling and being lifted and the first dance was over. With a wave of her wand, posh tables and chairs appeared. Everyone grabbed their partners and friends and went to sit together. The tables sat six, so James and I sought out Ella and Gerry and Lisa and Lucas.
Small menus were lying on the plates. Professor Dumbledore, at the head table, picked his up and said in a loud, clear voice,
‘Roast turkey!’ Sliced turkey appeared on his plate. He smiled and sat down. Getting the idea, everyone picked up their menus and said what they wanted to eat.
‘Lily!’ Ella squealed, leaning over her spaghetti to talk to me. ‘This ball is awesome!’
‘I know,’ I said, grinning. ‘I just wish I could dance, though, like Lisa.’
Lisa’s cheeks went red. ‘My parents liked dancing. They used to love the balls they held here, and they used to give me dancing lessons.’
‘Used to?’ Lucas asked. Lisa nodded and bowed her head. ‘Oh.’ Lisa’s parents divorced in our third year. She’d been caught in between all their arguments. She’d watched in horror as her father beat her mother. She’d seen her father walk out on them. She’d had a really tough past.
Once everyone had finished, the teachers gave everyone five minutes to digest. I remember at the Yule Ball when a Hufflepuff in the year above us, who had left by now, ate too much and danced too soon afterwards and he vomited all over his partner.
The Hairy Elf got up on the stage and started to get their equipment together. The lead singer spoke into his wand.
‘Alright, everyone! Grab your partners for this slow song!’
James and I made our way onto the dance floor, hand in hand, accompanied by Ella, Lisa, Gerry and Lucas.
The piece was not what The Hairy Elf usually did. They were more into rock and verbal numbers, but this one was slow, sombre and instrumental. We went into the position we had during the first dance and moved slowly with the music. I saw Courtney and Sirius not too far away. I couldn’t see Courtney’s face, but I recognised her golden hair and she was wearing a black dress. Mary was dancing near them with Remus, who smiled at me.
As the song progressed, James pulled me closer. I put my head on his shoulder and he pressed his lips to my hair. My lips touched his neck and he shivered slightly. When the song ended, The Hairy Elf took up a rock song.
‘I love this one!’ James screamed. He started jumping up and down like a maniac, my hand still clutched in his. ‘Come on, Lily, unclench a little bit!’
Laughing, I started moving my hips a bit. Ella and Gerry were having the time of their lives and Lisa was looking as awkward as me. Lucas was trying to get her to dance, but she was having none of it. Just as I was getting ‘in the groove’, I looked past James. I saw Mary, sitting outside by herself. Courtney and Sirius were having a make-out session by the drink bar.
‘I’m going to talk to Mary!’ I yelled over the music to James.
He nodded, kissed my lips and said something like, ‘Be careful’ before letting me go. I weaved my way around the dancers and headed for the door. I still had my purse. I reached inside and checked that my wand was still there. Check. I sat down next to Mary.
‘Hi,’ I said. She narrowed her eyes at me. ‘Enjoying yourself?’
‘Yes,’ Mary said stiffly. ‘Remus and I are here together. He told me he loved me during the first dance.’
‘Aw, really? That’s really sweet,’ I said. ‘I’m happy for you.’
‘You’re with James, I’m guessing?’ I nodded. ‘I cannot believe you, Lily.’
I knew exactly what was coming, but I said, ‘What?’
‘You hexed Courtney because James doesn’t love you.’
‘What do you mean? James loves me,’ I said. I’d practiced this in my head.
‘No, he doesn’t. Courtney ended up in the hospital wing because of you! I never thought you had it in you! You’re so spiteful! Your love with James is fake! He doesn’t love you!’ Mary stood up.
‘Is that what she told you?’ I said quietly.
‘So what if she did?’ Mary demanded, looking furious.
‘Because it’s not true. Yes, Courtney went to the hospital wing because of me, but it was accidental. Me and James were about to – I mean, me and James were doing fine in the Heads’ common room when she barged in and started snogging James! I was only meant to Expelliarmus her but I accidentally Stupefied her! It was more powerful than I meant it to be!’ I said, my voice getting louder.
‘No,’ Mary said. ‘That’s not true. I think all this power has gone to your head, Lily. You think, just because James used to love you, that he still does? People move on, Lily. You of all people should know that.’
Before I could say anything more, Mary turned on her heel and walked away, her blue dress swirling around her ankles and her dark hair swinging over her shoulder.
I was left alone in the dark, in the cold, curled up on the bench in front of the fountain. Little flecks of water hit my shoulders now and then. I stood up and was about to go back into the Hall when someone melted out of the shadows.
‘Hello, Lily,’ he said. ‘I haven’t seen you in a while.’
‘That’s how I plan to keep it,’ I said, starting to move past him, but he held me against the wall. ‘What are you doing?’ I screamed.
‘I’ve missed you, Lily,’ Sirius growled, sounding like his Animagus form. ‘Courtney just isn’t the same as you, you know?’
‘This is part of her plan, isn’t it?’ I said, trying to keep my lips away from his. ‘To break up me and James and get them together.’
Sirius shrugged. ‘Maybe it is.’
‘Well you know what?’ I said. ‘You get nothing out of it, Black, nothing. Because if he does run to her, I’m never, never coming back to you!’ I struggled and spat in his face.
Unperturbed, Sirius smiled. ‘I don’t really care. I just want to see him cry. Handsome, popular Seeker James Potter.’ His voice sounded bitter. ‘I don’t care about him, Lily. Only you.’
With that, he lowered his head and pushed his mouth to mine. I squirmed and kicked but his arms encircled me and drew me into his embrace. His lips felt tender and loving and I could feel my eyes starting to close. I didn’t know what was happening to me. I kissed him back. My arms itched to wrap themselves around his neck, and they started to, but an image of James flashed into my mind.
Horrified, I pulled away and backed into the wall, my chest rising and falling rapidly. ‘What’s wrong with you, Black? Can’t you see that nothing can tear me and James apart? You’re just going to have to settle for second best.’
Sirius laughed softly as I hurried back into the Hall. I heard him say something.
‘Oh, Lily. If only you knew. This is only the beginning.’
I couldn’t find James. I was worried I’d see him kissing Courtney again, but then I felt someone’s lips press against my shoulder. I whipped round, ready to hex, or at least poke an eye out.
To my relief, it was James. ‘Oh, phew,’ I said.
‘You look different, Lily,’ James said, smiling. ‘Are you OK? I saw Sirius eyeing you up earlier. He hasn’t done anything, has he?’
Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him smiling at me mischievously, as if we were sharing a joke.
‘No,’ I said. ‘He’s not come near me.’
Unfortunately, Sirius Black chose that moment to stroll up to me and wrap his arms around my waist from behind. I squealed in disgust and hurried to hide behind James.
‘What do you want?’ James demanded.
Sirius ignored him. ‘Damn, Lily, I forgot what a good kisser you are.’
‘What are you on about?’
‘Oh, has she not told you?’ Sirius said. ‘She was just reminding me how it feels to have her body right up against mine. And what a good kisser she is. Did I mention that?’
James looked at me. ‘What is he saying?’
Sirius rolled his eyes. ‘Trust Lily Evans to be stuck with the thickest wizard in the world. Me and Lily were outside kissing. Got that?’
James’s eyes widened.
‘Nice to know we’ve cleared that up. Bye, Lily.’ He winked at me and walked away.
‘What was he talking about?’ James asked me.
‘Um … well, we did kind of kiss … a little bit …’
‘But he came onto me! I talked to Mary and Courtney’s twisted her mind like you wouldn’t believe and I was about to come inside when he jumped at me and started kissing me!’
‘And you did nothing to stop him?’
‘I couldn’t! He pinned me up against the wall.’
‘What did you do when he kissed you?’
‘What are you, the FBI? What do you think I did?’ I said angrily, not believing my ears. I kissed him back.
‘Just answer the damn question, Lily.’
‘I pulled away, James!’ I shrieked. ‘I DO NOT LOVE SIRIUS!’
Still he folded his arms and raised an eyebrow.
‘And if you’re too dumb to see that, then maybe we should take some time apart.’
‘Why, so you can go and snog him again?’
‘That’s what I mean! James, you’re so paranoid! I LOVE YOU! I would never kiss Sirius unless I was forced! And I was forced back then, James! I didn’t want him to kiss me!’ I said.
‘Maybe you’re right,’ James sighed. ‘Maybe we should take some time apart.’
I sighed. ‘How long?’
He shrugged. ‘For however long we feel is necessary. Until we get our heads sorted.’
I nodded. ‘Bye, James.’
He rubbed my arm and kissed my forehead. Then he walked away, leaving me with nothing but an empty feeling and the tingle of his skin still burning on my forehead.
I sank onto the nearest seat. This was not how the night was supposed to go.
Courtney had hurt me more than any curse ever could.
Her plan had worked. James and I were not together anymore. She’d be able to move in on him when he was upset and most vulnerable. It was exactly what she wanted. And Sirius would hope I’d need someone to fall back on and he would be there to catch me when I fell. I was sat by myself watching everyone dance for about half an hour. Ella and Lisa were nowhere in sight. Courtney and Sirius kept smirking at me. Nobody else paid me any attention.
Someone tapped my shoulder. I looked up and relief spread across my face.
‘Hi, Remus. Enjoying the ball?’
He smiled and nodded, holding out a hand. Feeling glad, I happily took it and he led me onto the dance floor. The Hairy Elf had decided to play another instrumental, which was good as I didn’t really feel like jumping up and down like a crazy thing.
Remus and I held each other like dancing partners to. We danced in silence for a few moments, before Remus said,
‘How are you, Lily?’
‘I’m fine,’ I said. It was clear in his eyes that he didn’t believe me at all. There was no use lying to him. ‘Where’s Mary?’
‘She’s dancing with Peter. Don’t change the subject, Lily. I saw what happened outside.’
‘You did?’ I said in surprise. He nodded. I sighed, blinking back the tears. ‘James didn’t believe me that I didn’t kiss Sirius intentionally. So we’ve decided to take some time apart.’
‘Oh. I’m sorry. How long are you … postponing the relationship?’ he asked.
I laughed a little at his choice of words. ‘I don’t know. As long as we need, I suppose.’
‘Long enough for Courtney to worm her way into James’s arms?’
I gaped at him. ‘You really think so?’
He shrugged. ‘The mind of a girl works in very complex ways that no man could ever understand.’
I laughed. ‘You are so right. Sometimes I don’t understand it myself and I’m a girl. Courtney is not like any girl I’ve ever met. She’s so spiteful.’
‘She’s jealous, that’s all. She thinks James is hers because she went out with him before you did. You know she’s had a very unsteady relationship with boys before?’ I shook my head. ‘Yeah. Apparently, before she came to Hogwarts, her old boyfriend, who was a Muggle, he used to slap her about.’
‘Really?’ I gasped. ‘Maybe that’s why she’s so insecure. How do you know?’
‘Mary told me. And speaking of Mary … do you want me to talk to her?’
‘It won’t be any use, Remus. I tried talking to her but it didn’t work. Wait – let me guess – you saw that too?’ I guessed.
‘I did, as a matter of fact.’
‘Maybe you just didn’t see me.’
I reached up to touch the lines on his face. He looked and acted so much older than sixteen. ‘Are you alright, Remus?’
‘Let’s just say I’m recovering from my time of the month.’ At this, despite my situation, I burst into peals of laughter. Remus looked a little confused. ‘What?’
‘Your time of the month.’ I giggled as we moved in a circle. Still he didn’t get it. ‘Ah, don’t worry. It’s a girl thing.’
When the song ended, I gave Remus a small hug. ‘Thank you,’
‘For being here for me. I’ll never forget this.’ With that, I departed from the Hall. I saw Ella and Gerry hidden behind the big statue in the Entrance Hall. Lisa was sat on the stairs massaging her feet.
‘Hi, Lis’,’ I said.
‘Lily. I saw James running up here about half an hour ago.’
‘Oh. Yeah. We sort of had a bit of an argument and we thought we’d split for a while.’ I said, sitting beside her.
‘Oh, Lily. Why? I thought you were doing so well together!’
‘We were, but I went outside to talk to Mary and Sirius jumped me.’
‘Jumped you as in –’
‘He kissed me and I may have kissed him back just a tiny little bit, but I never wanted him to kiss me and James won’t believe me and he’s just –’
‘Hold your Hippogriffs, Lily!’ Lisa said in shock, raising her hands. ‘James won’t believe you? It sounds to me that someone’s put words in his ears that means it’s making it harder for him to think you’re telling the truth.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean, maybe Courtney, or someone has been feeding James lies so he thinks, perhaps, that there’s something going on between you and Sirius.’
‘WHAT?’ I screamed, jumping up. ‘Courtney,’ I growled. ‘I am so going to kill her!’
‘Wait up, Lily!’ Lisa grabbed my arm before I could charge into the Hall and K.O Courtney. ‘Think about it. We need to be sure. I mean, it could just be his own thinking. James is pretty paranoid anyway.’
‘It’s her fault this happened in the first place! If she got over him, she would never have come up with that plan to ruin us! We’ve been rocky for a while and now she just goes snogging him and getting Sirius to kiss me!’ I cried, getting all worked up now.
‘Lily, I think we should sort this out in the morning. You’re obviously very tired and maybe you and James can get a chance to talk.’ Lisa said.
I took a deep breath. ‘You’re right. I’m going to bed now. See you tomorrow?’
Lisa nodded and smiled. I made my way up to the dorms. Halfway up, though, my feet started really hurting. I don’t usually wear heels, so I wasn’t used to it. I stopped, sat down and tore my shoes off and continued on my way.
‘Lupine,’ I told Priscilla, giving her the new password James and I had decided upon. I crawled through and straightened my dress when I stood up. James was stretched across the sofa, eating crisps and staring at the fire.
I cleared my throat and he jumped and looked up.
‘Lily. Hi. You’re back early.’
‘So are you. Are you OK?’
‘I’m fine. In fact –’ He got up and stretched. ‘I think I’ll go to bed right about now.’
Avoiding my gaze, he walked right past me and up to his dorm.
Well, that wasn’t awkward at all.
AN: First of all, thanks for reading this. I hope we're all thinking the same thing: It had to happen! So, did Phase 2 put a dramatic spin on things or are you all thinking: JUST CUT THE DAMN COURTNEY ACTION AND GET JILY MARRIED! Either way, I hope you liked the chapter and you desperately want to share your thoughts and you see that little box down here? It's very hungry, so please feed it :) Next chapter up soonish xxx
LOOK AT THIS SEXY BEAST (I'm not just talking about Sirius, I also mean the sexy chapter image easterlies @tda did)
‘Bye, Lily!’ Ella hugged me on the platform. ‘Have a good Christmas.’
‘As good as it can get when you’re staying at the Potters’.’ Lisa added. She was standing on the train waiting for me. Ella was staying at Hogwarts because her parents were away, visiting her older brother in Guatemala. Mary was also staying. She’d come to see Courtney off, but she didn’t so much as look at us. Lisa was going to stay with her aunt, uncle and four cousins because her mum had to deal with Lisa’s little sister, who was paralysed from the waist down, and her dad wasn’t bothered with her.
And me? I’d been invited to the Potters’ house when James and I first started going out. I couldn’t just change my mind. Plus, I really liked Mr and Mrs Potter, and they were always nice to me.
The last couple of months had been really stressful and confusing for me. Everywhere I turned, I would find either James or Sirius. When I asked James why he was stalking me, he scowled and stomped away. When I asked Sirius, he smiled and winked and walked off.
Moreover, James and Sirius started hanging out again. After weeks of dirty looks and avoiding each other, they were being best buddies again. To add to it, James had invited him to stay at the Potters’ too. And guess what? Sirius asked along Courtney. When he asked for James’s permission, James grinned eagerly. Of course, I wasn’t stalking them. I was just … passing by and happened to hear them.
Anyway, Lisa said her goodbyes to Ella and we got onto the train. Most of the compartments seemed to be taken, but we managed to find an empty one.
I slid the door open and shoved my trunk up onto the rack. Lisa did the same. As I collapsed onto the seat, Lisa shut the door and sat opposite me.
‘How are you, Lily?’
‘How do you think?’ I snapped. She looked a little hurt, so I quickly added, ‘I’m sorry, Lis’. I’m just sooo tired. I’ve not had much sleep and I’m so confused and worried and annoyed!’
‘Why don’t you just talk to him?’ Lisa said, leaning back on the seat. ‘Instead of making this all so awkward and skirting around him? Just because you’re not together anymore doesn’t mean you can’t be friends.’
‘That’s the thing,’ I sighed, putting my elbows on my knees and putting my hands to my forehead. ‘We weren’t friends before we were together. I don’t really know what he thinks of me.’
‘Of course he still loves you, Lily.’ Lisa assured me.
‘If he did, he’d believe me that I didn’t want to kiss Sirius. If he loved me, he’d have moved on and forgotten about it! Clearly he doesn’t love me, Lisa, or we’d be together right now!’
‘Aw, poor Lilykins is upset!’ At first I thought Lisa had said that, but then I looked up and found myself glaring at none other than Courtney Allison.
‘Piss off, Courtney. I don’t want to talk to you.’ I snarled. Courtney’s lipstick-covered mouth curled into a sneer.
‘Of course, darling. There’ll be plenty of time for talking where we’re going.’ She left.
Lisa shook her head. ‘That girl is messed up.’
‘Tell me about it,’ I replied, shaking my head at the door. ‘If I need to, I’m welcome at Joyce and Michael’s, right?’ I demanded.
Lisa nodded. ‘My aunt and uncle like you. They said you’re welcome round any time.’
Ah, I love my friends. Mary had been avoiding us as much as James had been avoiding me. She was really gullible sometimes.
The trolley lady came along. I didn’t really feel like eating, but Lisa bought a few sweets. She offered me some, but I refused. Ever since that ball, I’ve been eating less and less. My clothes were starting to hang off me like they were four sizes too big and I had to use Shrinking Charms every morning. It was getting kind of annoying.
When the train slowed to a stop, I found myself shaking hard. I reached up to pull my trunk off the rack, but almost dropped it because my hands were wobbling so much.
Lisa helped me drag it off the train, where James, Sirius and Courtney were already waiting with Mr and Mrs Potter.
‘Bye, Lily.’ Lisa gave me a hug and went off to find her aunt and uncle.
‘Lily! How are you?’ Mrs Potter said happily, pulling me into a hug and kissing my cheek.
‘Good thanks, Mrs Potter. How are you both?’ I asked, smiling at them both. I ignored Courtney pretending to vomit behind Mr Potter.
‘Thank you for asking, Lily. Shall we get going?’ Mr Potter asked. ‘We’ll be Apparating back to Godric’s Hollow.’ We’d all passed our Apparition exams last year, so I concentrated hard on James’s house, which I’d been to once before. I gripped my trunk handle tightly, turned on the spot and delved into the darkness.
I always hated Apparating. I’d much rather use Muggle transport, or even fly, even though I’m terrified of heights. Apparating felt like being squeezed through a tube, but this time it was even worse. What with all the drama, I felt like my heart was about to burst and my eyes were going to pop out of my head.
When the squeezing finally stopped, I opened my eyes to find myself standing beside Sirius. We were alone – apparently they hadn’t arrived yet. He raised an eyebrow at me and touched my arm.
‘You alright, Lils?’ he asked.
I jerked my arm away. ‘I’ll be fine if you leave me alone, Black.’
‘Now, now, Lilykins, let’s not get feisty now!’ Sirius taunted, grinning madly. ‘Come on, how about a kiss to lighten the mood?’ Quick as a flash, he was standing right in front of me, too close for comfort. Luckily, there was a faint pop and Mrs Potter appeared behind me.
‘Come on, you two. Let’s get inside. James, Courtney and Kevin will be here in a minute.’ Mrs Potter led us towards the front door. She tapped the lock with her wand and it swung open. As we stepped over the threshold, there was another pop and I glanced over my shoulder. James, Courtney and Mr Potter had just appeared in the garden path.
I had never stayed at the Potters’ house before, but Sirius had. He bounded up the stairs, James after him, leaving Courtney and I hovering in the hallway awkwardly.
‘Sorry, girls, you’re going to have to share.’ Mrs Potter said, not noticing the dirty looks we were giving each other.
‘That’s OK, Mrs Potter. We don’t mind.’ Courtney said brightly.
‘Wonderful! It’s up the stairs, down the hall, third on the left. I hope it’s big enough.’ Mrs Potter smiled at us as we lugged our trunks up the stairs.
I didn’t get why we had to share. The wizard houses in Godric’s Hollow were all the same: small on the outside, huge on the inside, rather like wizard tents. Not all wizard-inhabited houses are like that, but Godric’s Hollow was considered a rich area, so the houses were rather … massive. The Potter residence had four floors, so I didn’t understand why we had to be confined to two bedrooms. I knew James and Sirius shared, because I heard them talking behind a door on my way to the room.
Courtney dumped her trunk on the bed nearest to the door. I put mine on the one near the window.
‘I’m not happy about this.’ Courtney said, her back to me as she opened her trunk.
‘That makes two of us.’ I replied, unlocking my trunk. ‘Leave me alone and we’ll both be fine.’
‘You know what?’ Courtney snapped suddenly, turning to face me. ‘I am SICK of your little mind games!’
‘What mind games?’ I asked, surprised. She shook her head as if I was the dumbest person in the world. ‘Look, Courtney!’ I said, suddenly angry. ‘It’s not me who’s playing the mind games here, it’s you! I don’t know why, but you’ve changed since you had that little … relationship with James. Ha! You know how they always say there’s always one person in the relationship who loves more? It was definitely you that time. James hated you!’
A smirk spread over Courtney’s face. ‘And it was you who loved more, Lily. You sure as hell don’t know a single thing about James, do you? He hasn’t loved anyone since you broke his heart back in fourth year.’
‘When did I break his heart in fourth year?’
‘When you rejected him in front of the whole school!’
I had to supress a smile as I remembered that day.
‘Hey, Evans!’ James called. I was walking out of the Hall, having finished my lunch and was going to head to my next lesson.
‘What do you want, Potter?’ I demanded.
‘Oh, you know, Lily.’ Here it comes, I thought. ‘Will you go on a date with me?’
I mouthed the words along with him. ‘Nope.’
‘Aw, come on! Just one little date! Please! Please, please, please, please, please, please, please –’
‘Alright!’ I yelled. Everyone turned to stare.
‘Really?’ James asked, looking very surprised.
‘Yes, of course. On the fourth of Never!’ I spat. ‘When will you get it into your head: I, Lily Evans, will never, ever, EVER go out with you, Potter! So just leave me alone!’ With that, I stormed out of the Hall.
‘He told me, Lilykins.’ Courtney said.
‘Told me that he doesn’t love you. Come on, Lily, you think he’d still love you after six years of rejection?’
I opened my mouth, opting for a clever retort, but no words came. I sat down on the bed, staring at the floor.
Courtney sniggered. ‘That’s what I thought. You’d better not bother unpacking. You’ll be out of here before Friday.’
I have to say, I’d expected my time at Godric’s Hollow to be traumatic at the very least, but I’d never thought I’d say torturous.
I woke up at half four. I tossed and turned in this unfamiliar bed in this unfamiliar house and couldn’t take it anymore. I slipped out of bed, put on my slippers and shrugged on my red-and-gold dressing gown and quietly crossed the room to open the door. I paused outside James and Sirius’s room. I could hear light snoring, which was good, meaning I wouldn’t be disturbed. I stole quietly down the stairs and headed for the kitchen. But something made my blood run cold.
The light was on.
I didn’t have my wand on me, but there was a poker near the fireplace. Distinctly, I remembered the time when I confronted James with a poker all those months ago. I opened the kitchen door slowly. The fridge was open. I edged towards it. The door shut and the person turned.
‘Bloody hell, Lily! Am I not allowed to have a snack in my own home?’ James screamed, dropping the food he was holding.
‘Oh.’ I lowered the poker. ‘Sorry about that.’
I expected James to scowl at me and leave, but instead he started laughing.
‘What? Why are you laughing at me?’
‘I remember when you prodded me with a poker.’ James laughed. ‘And plus, you look cute when you’re –’ He stopped himself. ‘Sorry.’
‘No, no. Carry on. I look cute when I’m … what?’
He shook his head. ‘It’s no big deal.’
‘Courtney told me something. I wanted to ask you about it.’ I said, feeling a little nervous.
‘She said you stopped loving anyone when I humiliated you back in fourth year.’ I said tentatively. James stiffened. His jaw locked and he narrowed his eyes. I could tell he was annoyed. ‘Um. Never mind. Sorry.’ I picked up the poker and started to back away.
‘No.’ James said. ‘Courtney told you that?’
I nodded. ‘When we first got here.’
‘She’s wrong, Lily. I’ve never stopped loving you.’ James whispered.
If the situation had been completely different, I’d have been so happy. But, unfortunately, this simple comment sparked something deep inside me.
‘You “never stopped loving me”?’ I demanded. ‘Well that’s not what it looks like from here! If you “never stopped loving” me, we might still be together! And why, might I ask, are you suddenly best friends with Sirius Black again?’
James shrugged. ‘I decided to forgive him. For you know … the thing that happened in the ball.’
‘What – so I’m the one in the wrong here? I’m the one who kissed him? Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, Potter, but you’ve got this whole thing completely messed up! If I didn’t like your parents, I wouldn’t be here! Okay? I didn’t come for you, I came for them, because they love me as a daughter and I didn’t want to let them down!’
‘You know what your problem is, Lily?’ James growled. ‘You think you’re so perfect! You think that nothing can go wrong with you! You’re not perfect, Lily! You’re not, OK? So stop thinking I can only love you and I can’t be friends with Sirius! You don’t control my life, so stop living in that stupid dream-world of yours and get your head around now! This is real life, Evans! Get used to it!’
‘You’re so arrogant! You always came after me asking me on dates when you knew I’d say no! You thought I’d give in to your good looks or undeniable charm! I only started to like you this year! And even now I’m thinking if falling for you was a good idea. Maybe it wasn’t. Everyone knows you as the Hogwarts Player. So from now on, that’s all you’ll ever be to me. Nothing more. Not even a friend.’
‘Fine! See if I care! I don’t want anything to do with you anymore!’ After he ended with the world’s stupidest comeback, he charged out of the kitchen and up the stairs.
I stared after him for a minute, then shook my head and headed back into the living room, dropping the poker off where I found it before climbing back up the stairs. Courtney was still asleep when I quietly opened the door, tiptoed across the room, draped my dressing gown across the end of my bed and slid inside.
I watched her for a moment – she looked perfect in sleep with her golden hair fanning out on her pillow and her face peaceful and innocent. So perfect that I almost forgot what she was really like. She was a vicious, spiteful girl who would stop at nothing to get what she wanted.
I rolled over so I wasn’t facing her and squeezed my eyes shut, desperately trying to sleep, to escape into my own land of dreams.
But I couldn’t. All night I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling. When half-past eight finally came and I started to hear signs of life from the other rooms, I sighed happily and got up. After quickly checking there was no one in the hall, I zipped into the bathroom to wash.
When I got back, Courtney was sat on her bed, stretching her arms.
‘Good morning, Lilykins,’ she said, as if we were friends.
I didn’t bother to reply. Instead I knelt by my trunk and started to look for something to wear. When I’d decided upon a pair of jeans, jumper and sneakers, I pushed past Courtney and went down the stairs.
Mr and Mrs Potter were sitting at the dining table. Mrs Potter was drinking a mug of tea and Mr Potter was hidden behind The Daily Prophet.
‘Oh, good morning, Lily, dear,’ Mrs Potter said, smiling. ‘You’re up early. We expected you all to have a lie-in today.’
‘I couldn’t sleep,’ I muttered, bowing my head. Mrs Potter poured some cornflakes into a bowl and added milk (which came from the tip of her wand). She summoned a spoon from the drawer.
I sat down on the chair next to her and picked up the spoon gratefully.
‘Thank you,’ I said quietly. Just after I finished my cornflakes, James, Courtney and Sirius came down at the same time, laughing and joking as if they were old friends. I stood up and put my bowl in the sink.
All three of them glared coldly at me, so I brushed past them and left. I rushed up the stairs to grab a coat, then made for the front door. I had no idea where I was going to go. I didn’t know the area too well, though I knew they had a Muggle playground nearby. I just wanted to leave – but I couldn’t, not yet. I had to stay a while, because Mr and Mrs Potter were being so kind to me. I didn’t want them to think I was taking advantage of their hospitality.
I shut the front door behind me and staggered down the garden path. I stopped at the gate and turned right. I hoped this was the right way. After about ten minutes of pointless wandering, I finally found the park. There were a couple of young Muggle children with their parents, but I looked to be the oldest.
Not feeling embarrassed or shy, I plonked myself onto a swing and started rocking it gently, resting my head against the chain.
My life was so messed up, and it was all because of James. I’d been so stupid to fall for him, because look where it had gotten me.
A little boy, probably about three or four, waddled up to me and said,
‘Hello, big girl. Why are you sad?’
‘I’m not sad.’ I said. He was very cute and chubby.
‘You look sad. What’s your name, big girl?’
‘My name’s Lily. What’s yours?’
‘My name is Matthew.’ said the little boy proudly. ‘And you are crying as well.’
I quickly wiped the tears off my cheeks. ‘I’m not crying anymore, Matthew. See?’
He looked positively happier. ‘That’s good. Bye-bye, Lily!’ He reached up, clearly wanting a hug, so I gave him one. He gave me a cheeky grin and toddled off back to his mum.
She picked him up to put him on the roundabout and smiled at me wearily.
I put my head back against the chain of the swing. Suddenly, three people came around the corner: James, Sirius and Courtney. They barged through the gate and eyed me up like I was fresh meat.
All three of them swaggered up to me.
‘Ah, look at the little loner girl!’ Courtney jeered.
‘Piss off,’ I muttered.
‘Tut, tut, Lilykins. You shouldn’t use language like that in front of little children!’ James chided.
‘You ought to be taught a lesson.’ Sirius snarled.
I stood up. ‘Yeah? What are you going to do to me? Kill me? Hex me, in front of the Muggles?’
‘No,’ snapped Courtney. ‘We’re not stupid, Lilykins.’ She shoved me hard and I fell backwards, landing on the concrete and hitting my head on the swing. I looked up at them, seeing stars. They were laughing.
‘Hey!’ screamed a little voice. Next thing I knew, Sirius was bent double, clutching his unmentionables, James was lying on his back and a wad of Courtney’s hair was gripped tightly in a little pudgy fist. ‘Nobody hurts Lily!’ Matthew shrieked, his face going red.
‘Aw, look, it’s Lily’s new boyfriend!’ James snorted. ‘You’ve moved on quickly, my love.’
He wasn’t too far away, so I lashed out with my leg at his side. An agonized grunt told me I’d found my mark.
‘Nobody hurts Lily!’ Matthew repeated, pulling on Courtney’s hair.
‘Ow! Get off, you little turd!’ she yelled.
‘What’s a turd?’ Matthew asked.
‘Ha! Trust Lily to get a boyfriend who doesn’t know what “turd” means!’ Sirius laughed. Matthew, still clutching Courtney’s hair, scuttled forwards and punched Sirius in the you-know-what’s again.
‘Don’t make fun of me!’ Matthew said angrily.
‘It’s OK, Matthew,’ I said quietly to him. ‘Let her go.’
Looking reluctant, my little three-year-old saviour slowly unclenched his fist. Courtney reeled backwards, hissing and spitting like a cat and massaging her head.
James and Sirius stood up. They each took one of Courtney’s arms and they marched out of the park. Once they’d gone, I scooped Matthew up in a huge bear-hug.
‘You angel!’ I gushed.
He smiled at me, little dimples appearing in his cheeks. ‘It’s OK, Lily. They won’t come back, will they?’
‘I don’t know.’ I sighed. ‘I’m staying with them for Christmas.’
‘Why are you staying with those meanies?’
‘It’s complicated,’ I told him, giving him another hug. ‘Thank you so much, Matthew.’
I stood up and took him back to his mum.
‘You’ve got a very special son there,’ I said to her.
‘Thank you. Who were those three teenagers? I’ve only seen the two boys before, but I don’t know their names.’
‘Oh. They’re just some idiots from my school. Hopefully you won’t see them again for a while.’ I said, looking at the floor.
‘Right. Well, I think you’ve made a friend for life here.’ She nodded to Matthew, who was holding her hand.
‘He’s so adorable. I wish I had a little brother like that,’ I said wistfully.
‘You don’t have any siblings?’ the woman inquired.
‘No, I’ve got an older sister, but she’s not talking to me at the moment.’ I thought of my bitter sister Petunia. I remembered her straight black hair, how she’d always yearned for those stiff curls. I remember the last time she’d spoken to me properly – six years ago just before I’d boarded the Hogwarts Express for the first time.
‘I hope we see you again sometime, Lily.’ I didn’t ask how she knew me. Matthew probably told her.
‘I’m afraid I don’t think I’ll be coming back,’ I said. ‘I’m only staying here for Christmas at the moment. But who knows? Maybe I’ll get a house here when I’m older. We’ll see. Bye, Matthew.’ I kneeled to give him another hug. He wrapped his little arms around my neck and gave my cheek a little kiss.
‘Bye-bye, Lily!’ he sniffed. He burst into tears as I walked away.
Sometimes, I wondered what my life would be like as a Muggle. I loved it that I could do magic, but sometimes I wished I was just a normal person.
But I knew I’d never get that.
‘You’ve been avoiding me, Lily.’ It was three days after our encounter in the park, and I’d been sticking to the swings all day. I’d seen Matthew twice again.
‘I have a reason, Potter,’ I spat. He smirked.
‘Well, you said you didn’t want anything else to do with me. So I thought I’d hold you to that.’ I turned my back on him and continued to flick through The Daily Prophet.
‘You’re such a wimp, Evans,’ James growled. ‘You let everyone walk all over you. Why?’
‘Why shouldn’t I? I’d never get anywhere in life by bullying people.’ I said nonchalantly.
‘You never get anywhere in life by being a doormat, either,’ James pointed out.
‘Why are you bullying me?’
He didn’t reply.
That’s all they were, though. Just little playground bullies who had no reason to hut people. Only the excuse that their own lives were so miserable that they needed someone to take their anger out on.
James stared at me for a minute, his hazel eyes looking sympathetic and caring. But then he narrowed his eyes until they were almost reduced to slits and they were filled with some sort of fire I’d never seen before – it was more than hate, more than anger. It was so much more than that I didn’t think there was even a word for it.
‘Hey, Lily!’ Courtney called from the top of the stairs. ‘Come up here, I want to show you something!’
Naturally, I didn’t move.
‘Get your ass up here, you little twerp!’ Courtney screamed.
I put down The Daily Prophet and went to the bottom of the stairs.
‘Come on up, Lilykins.’ So, holding onto the banister, I slowly made my way up the stairs. As soon as I got to the landing, Courtney grabbed the shoulders and spun me round so I was facing the wall. ‘See that, right there? Just above the landing?’
I couldn’t see anything. I squinted, trying to peer closer.
Suddenly, the whole world was flipping over and over as I tumbled down the stairs. I hit the wall as I landed at the bottom in a heap.
Mr and Mrs Potter came rushing out of the kitchen. ‘Lily! What happened?’ Mrs Potter cried, helping me to my feet. My back was aching and I could feel my cheek swelling already. My right arm was stuck at a strange angle and my left leg was shaking madly.
‘Oh … um, I fell. Tripped over my feet.’ I mumbled. Mr Potter looked at me, his eyes full of concern, but then he moved slightly and looked up the stairs at Courtney, Sirius and James, who were leaning over the banister.
‘Where were you three in all of this?’ he asked.
‘We were just coming down the stairs!’ Sirius protested. ‘And Lily fell. We couldn’t do anything about it. We wanted to, though.’
‘Really? Because I’ve noticed that you three have been avoiding Lily for the past few days.’ Mr Potter said, glaring up at them.
‘We have not!’ James gasped, pretending to be offended. ‘Father, how dare you! I am ashamed my own flesh and blood would accuse me of avoiding my gir – ex-girlfriend.’
‘Exactly, James. Ex-girlfriend.’ I snapped up at him. I tried to stand by myself, but my leg couldn’t take the weight and I fell over again. There three of them snickered, but stopped once Mr Potter sent a venomous look towards them.
‘Come on, Lily, dear. We’ll take you to St Mungo’s.’ Mrs Potter helped me up again. Mr Potter stormed up the stairs while Mrs Potter, holding onto my arm tightly, spun on the spot and I was shoved through the tight tube again.
When we arrived in the foyer of St Mungo’s, I was feeling very, very dizzy and sick. Mrs Potter shoved past everyone in the queue to get to the front.
The wizard sitting at the desk was looking very bored, twirling his wand between his fingers and looking into a small mirror to fix his hair.
‘Oi, you!’ Mrs Potter screamed at him. He looked up. ‘She fell down the stairs!’
Scowling at us, the wizard pointed to the floor levels on the wall. Mrs Potter threw him a dirty look and rushed me off to the stairs.
Once we reached the right floor, Mrs Potter practically ran towards the nearest Healer.
‘Excuse me!’ She tapped the witch on the shoulder.
The Healer turned around. ‘Hello. Can I help you?’
‘Yes. This young lady has some nasty injuries. We need to get her helped!’
‘Yes, of course. My name is Healer Blethwick. Come this way, young lady.’ The Healer led me to a free bed.
‘Just sit yourself down, we’ll have someone with you in a moment.’ Healer Blethwick bustled out of the ward. Mrs Potter sank down onto the chair.
‘How did you fall, Lily?’ she asked.
‘Oh,’ I said. ‘Well, I was coming down the stairs and I sort of … didn’t see where I was going and tripped over my feet.’ I said, my cheeks red.
‘Don’t be embarrassed, Lily. I used to fall down the stairs all the time.’ Mrs Potter told me kindly. ‘I’m still so clumsy.’
Healer Blethwick came back, using her wand to hold up a tray filled with ointments and things.
‘I’ll need to give you an x-ray so we can see the damage –’ She put down the tray. ‘Stand up as best you can, dear.’ Using the bed as a balance beam, I stood up, holding my foot slightly out so I didn’t have to put pressure on it.
Healer Blethwick scanned her wand down my body, occasionally wincing and pulling faces. Once she’d reached my feet, she told me to sit back down.
‘Your arm is broken and you’ve sprained your ankle. Your knee is also twisted slightly, which is why you cannot stand on it. I’ll put your arm in a sling and give you a crutch. Your cheek has swollen slightly, so I’ll put a Deflating Draught on it. It won’t be effective immediately, but it will work over time.’
She busied herself unwrapping the material for the sling – then using her wand to make it wrap around my arm while she dabbed some strange liquid onto a cloth. When the sling was ready, it magically sealed itself in a knot behind my neck. She shuffled up to me and started to put the liquid onto my cheek.
While she summoned a crutch, she said, ‘I’m going to put a cast on it. The material is the same as the sling – if this was normal Muggle medicine it would take around three to six months – with this, it should be fine by tomorrow or the day after.’ She bent down and started to wrap the material around my ankle and knee. As soon as it sealed, my leg started to feel slightly better.
Healer Blethwick summoned a clipboard and quill. ‘May I take your name, age and date of birth, please?’
‘Oh. My name’s Lily Evans, I’m sixteen and my birthday is January thirtieth.’
‘Ma’am, I need you to sign this … it’s just that she’s still a minor – may I ask who you are?’
‘My name is Anne Potter,’ Mrs Potter said as she scribbled on the parchment. ‘Lily is staying with me for Christmas. She goes to school with my son.’
‘Brilliant.’ The Healer took back the clipboard. ‘Well, you’re free to go. When you’re better, please return the crutch to us.’
I hobbled out of the ward, Mrs Potter close behind me.
I had to endure another minute or two of tube-squeezing before we arrived back in Godric’s Hollow.
‘Lily! Lily!’ someone squealed. I turned.
‘Who’s this?’ asked Mrs Potter.
‘Oh, this is Matthew, he lives around here too. We met at the park.’ I said quickly. ‘Are you alright, Matthew?’
‘Are you alright, Lily?’ he asked.
‘I’m fine – I just fell down some stairs,’ I told him. ‘Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine.’
‘You just appeared out of thin air!’
‘Did we? That must have been your imagination. Maybe you looked here and then looked away and we came then.’ I said.
Matthew wrinkled his little button nose. ‘Maybe …’ he said slowly. ‘When will you be able to play with me again?’
‘I don’t know,’ I said. ‘Maybe a few days. I’m here for a couple more weeks, I think.’ I hugged Matthew goodbye, then Mrs Potter led me into the house. We stumbled down the hall before entering the sitting room where Courtney, Sirius and James were lounging on the sofas in front of the fire.
‘Here we are, Lily. Just take a seat down there.’ With difficulty, I sat myself on an armchair and rested me crutch on the arm. Mrs Potter rushed off upstairs.
‘So, Lilykins went to the hospital, did she?’
‘Noo, I went for a pint,’ I snapped sarcastically at Sirius. ‘Bugger off.’
‘Ooh, Lilykins is feeling snarky today is she?’
‘Well, considering I was just pushed down two flights of stairs, yes, you may find me to be snarky today.’ I said.
‘Why didn’t you tell them I pushed you?’ Courtney demanded.
‘I’m not a snitch. Why did you push me?’
‘Um … accident?’
‘Knock, knock,’ someone said, and the door opened.
‘Potter.’ I snapped. ‘What do you want?’ My leg was all but better, my cheek had gone down to its normal size and my arm was perfectly fit for strangling people, whose names I will not mention (but whose names rhyme with Rames, Pourtney and Nirius).
‘I wanted to see how you were.’
‘Do you care, seeing as you were in on it too?’ I asked him, sticking my tongue out at him.
‘Hey, I did not know she was going to shove you down the stairs! Seriously, you’ve got to believe me.’ James pleaded.
‘Why should I, when you didn’t believe me about me NOT kissing Sirius?’ I said angrily. ‘Get lost, Potter, I’m packing.’
‘Yes. I’m going to stay with Lisa at her aunt and uncle’s.’
‘Why should I stay? What are you going to push me off next time – a cliff?’
‘Lily, look at me!’ Being the obedient girl I was, I did so. James was standing very close to me – closer than he’d been in the last few months. I wasn’t used to it yet.
‘What are you doing?’ I asked him. He said nothing, but he traced the lines of my face with his finger – my jawbone, my lips, my nose …
His lips were moving closer to mine – closer still – they were almost on mine –
‘No!’ I screamed, pushing him away from me. Well, it’s good to see my arm is back to normal. ‘I don’t know what’s going on in that messed up head of yours, Potter, but you are NOT messing up mine!’
AN: Hello people :) Thanks for reading this, I hoped you enjoyed it! (Yes, RosieWeasly11, I am talking to YOU)So, has my writing put you on Team Lily or Team ... um ... JamesSiriusCourtney *says really fast*? Let me know what you think about it! Love you guys xxxx
Look at the amaaaazing chapter image by easterlies @tda
‘I’m really sorry, Mrs Potter, but I think I’m going to stay at Lisa’s for Christmas,’ I said.
‘Why? I thought you were enjoying yourself here?’
I tried not to narrow my eyes, but I pressed my lips together. If Mrs Potter’s version of me ‘enjoying myself’ included getting bullied in a playground, shoved down a flight of stairs and having my head messed up by my ex-boyfriend, I’d love to see what her version of me not enjoying myself was.
‘Well, I kind of promised Lisa I’d come and stay, and I wanted to spend some time with Joyce and Michael – you know, Lisa’s aunt and uncle. They’re kind of like my second parents … I mean, apart from you and Mr Potter, of course,’ I added hastily.
‘I get that, Lily,’ Mrs Potter said as she stirred whatever was in the pot with her wand, ‘but why don’t you just stay here for Christmas Day and leave on Boxing Day? I’m sure Mr and Mrs Corner won’t mind. Christmas is only two days away.’
Mrs Potter gazed at me pleadingly. She had the exact same eyes as James – and I couldn’t resist.
‘Oh, alright then.’
Mrs Potter smiled widely at me. I left the kitchen and bumped into Sirius, who had obviously been listening in.
‘So, Evans is staying for Christmas then?’
‘You do know eavesdropping is rude, right?’ I snapped at him. I made my way over to the coat stand to pick up my one.
‘Where are you going?’ Sirius asked.
‘To the park.’
‘Ahh, to see your new boyfriend?’ he chided, sniggering. I put my coat on and glared at him.
‘Matthew is not my boyfriend, he’s only three and I’m not going there to see him. I need some time alone.’ With that, I shot him one last, hateful look and swept out of the door.
As it turned out, Matthew wasn’t in the park, but there were a few little families.
I sat down on my usual swing and started rocking back and forth.
I made a silent vow to never, ever come and stay here again. I was staring at the ground when I saw a pair of feet coming to stop in front of me.
‘Lily.’ It was James. I didn’t bother to look up. Instead, I just stood up and moved to sit on the bench nearby.
‘Lily, don’t avoid me.’
‘Why shouldn’t I avoid you?’ I snapped. ‘The only reason I’m here is because I didn’t want to disappoint your parents.’ He sat down next to me. ‘Why did you do that yesterday?’
‘Don’t act dumb, Potter. You know what I’m talking about.’ He touched my arm, but I flinched and moved down the bench a little more. Even though I wasn’t looking at him, I could feel his gaze on my face.
‘I don’t know,’ he sighed, ‘I guess old habits die hard.’
‘And why did you invite Sirius? You’ve hated him for ages and suddenly you’ve invited him to stay for Christmas. I’ve also noticed you and Courtney seem very close now.’
I felt him shrug. ‘It’s basically tradition now for Sirius to come here for Christmas. He couldn’t go home to … that.’
‘You know – Kreacher and Regulus … and his mother.’ I had no idea what he was talking about (though I knew Regulus was Sirius’s younger brother), so I just nodded like I knew.
‘Right. And why are you sitting here talking to me when you told me you wanted nothing to do with me?’ I asked him.
He didn’t reply. I finally looked up at him. His eyes were fixed on a spot of dried-in chewing gum on the tarmac. His glasses were sliding slowly down his nose and he looked sad.
‘I wish I hadn’t said that, Lily,’ he sighed. ‘Everything I said then – I didn’t mean it.’
‘Even the part about “never stop loving me”?’ I said quietly.
He looked up at me and pushed his glasses up his nose. ‘Except that part.’
‘Oh,’ I said, returning my eyes to the floor.
‘What about you?’ James enquired, shifting a little closer to me.
I opened my mouth to reply, but nothing came to mind. I wanted to forgive him, to let us be together again, but something was nagging me.
How many times had he hurt me?
‘James,’ I said, ‘I’m sorry. I don’t think … I mean, I –’
‘It’s fine,’ he interrupted. ‘I get it. You don’t want me anymore.’
‘No!’ I said hastily. ‘I do, really! I just don’t think now is the right time …’
‘Then when is the right time, Lily?’ he demanded, his eyes suddenly flashing with anger.
‘I don’t know!’ I cried. ‘I’m so confused, James. My life is a mess, and –’
‘Your life is a mess?’ James said, his voice rising. ‘Everything’s about you, isn’t it, Lily? You’d never stop and think about what I want, would you?’
‘What? N-no, I just meant –’
‘I’m sick of you, Lily. I thought I loved you, but now I’m not so sure. Maybe I would be better off with Courtney.’
‘J-James, don’t, please, I didn’t mean to –’ I stuttered. But he was gone.
When you think of Christmas, you think of roast turkey, pudding, a huge, decorated tree and just general all round Christmas cheer.
Not this year.
I got the first three, thanks to Mrs Potter’s wonderful cooking and Mr Potter’s jolly spirit, but I didn’t get the cheer. After my conversation with James in the park, the three of them had been nastier to me than ever.
I usually stayed in the park all day, or shut myself in the room I was staying in. Courtney hung out with the other two, and she didn’t come up that much.
The day before Christmas, I was making my way to the park. The gate was hidden behind a load of bushes. I pushed them aside and was about to walk in when I saw someone crouched in the flowerbeds. It was James. I was about to ask him what he was doing when I remembered he’d probably shove me head-first into the soil. Sticking to the bushes, I edged round to get a clearer view of him. He was using a twig to dig a hole in the compost. There was a small, turquoise box on the ground next to him, tied with a delicate silver ribbon.
After a while, he stopped digging. He put down the stick and dropped the box into the hole. Then he covered the hole with soil again. James stood up and brushed the dirt off his jeans. He made his way out of the park as if nothing had happened.
Keeping my eyes on the little heap of earth where the mysterious little box was buried, I climbed over the fence and crouched at the spot where James had been two minutes before. Using the stick he’d used, I moved the soil aside until I saw the little silver ribbon. Ignoring the dirt, I plunged my hand into the hole to take hold of the box.
I brought it up and wiped the dirt off it. I took a look around. Families were milling in and someone might find me suspicious. I stood up and shook my hand to get the dirt off it. I stuck the box in my coat pocket and walked casually out of the park.
I hoped to see Matthew, but no such luck. I went back to the Potters’ house and straight up to the bedroom. Courtney was in there, putting on makeup, so I just bent down in front of my trunk and shoved the box under my clothes.
‘Where have you been all this time, Lilykins?’ Courtney asked.
‘If it was any of your business, I’d tell you,’ I replied. I reached behind the bed to take out the presents I’d bought for Mr and Mrs Potter and the wrapping paper. While Courtney put on her makeup, I wrapped up their presents and hid them under a loose floorboard.
When she was gone, I grabbed the mystery box and turned myself so my back was to the door. I tugged on one end of the ribbon, which was in a bow, and it fell away. My heart pounding wildly, I opened the box.
‘WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS, WE WISH YOU A MERRY CHRISTMAS, WE WISH YOU A MERRY –’
‘That’s quite enough now, James!’ Mrs Potter yelled over James’s screeching.
Even in the miserable state I was in, it was hard not to smile at the sight of James standing on the coffee table, belting out whatever carols he could remember at the top of his voice.
‘Get down off the damn table, James,’ Mr Potter grunted.
‘Aww, come on, Dad, it’s Christmas morning!’ James complained, making puppy dog eyes at his father.
‘I know, but if you keep … caterwauling like that, none of us are going to be able to hear anything by dinner.’ Mr Potter put down the Christmas issue of The Daily Prophet and stood up.
‘Kevin!’ Mrs Potter called from the kitchen. ‘Come and help me with the turkey – I’m already rushed off my feet!’
Mr Potter groaned.
‘I heard that! If you don’t get in here now, you won’t be getting your Christmas dinner tonight!’
Quick as a flash, Mr Potter was in the kitchen. Go figure.
I was left alone with Sirius and James. Courtney was out and I decided it would be better to stay here and pack for tomorrow than go to the park and waste time.
The fire was blazing in the fireplace, letting off lots of heat. I rolled up the sleeves of my pistachio green top and shook the bracelet down my arm a little. Sirius folded himself into an armchair and closed his eyes, while James was gaping at me. No – not at me, at the bracelet on my arm.
It was a beautiful thing, thin and made mostly of silver but entwined with gold and little lily charms on it. I got it for Christmas – technically.
My heart pounding wildly, I opened the box.
I gasped. Inside was a beautiful little bracelet and a little note. I picked up the parchment and unfolded it.
Dear Lily, it said, I saw this bracelet and immediately thought of you. I love you. Love James.
He must have bought it before the ball. Obviously he was going to give it to me, but then he changed his mind and, instead of maybe taking out the note and giving it to someone else, he decided to bury it so I’d never find it.
I smiled to myself. I slipped the bracelet on my wrist and put the box back into my trunk.
‘Where did you get that from?’ James asked, pointing to the bracelet.
‘It came for me this morning,’ I lied. ‘An owl came in through the window. I think it was from Amos Diggory – you know, he’s in our year, in Hufflepuff.’ Amos was known as ‘the next-hottest boy after James and Sirius, because they come first, you know?’ (That was the official term) and James hated him, because he and I dated briefly in our sixth year.
I tried not to laugh at the sight of James’s face going bright red.
‘Amos Diggory sent you that bracelet?’
‘Yeah. Got a problem with that?’ I asked, raising my eyebrow as I fiddled with one of the lily charms.
‘Yes, because I –’ James burst out. Sirius opened one eye and cleared his throat. ‘I – I mean – no, of course not. Diggory can send you whatever he wants.’
‘What, you don’t believe me or something?’ James demanded.
‘No, no,’ I said, trying to keep the sarcasm out of my voice, ‘I believe you. Just like you believed me when I told you I didn’t want to kiss that bastard,’ I nodded towards Sirius. ‘Oh, wait! You didn’t believe me!’
‘Well, you seemed pretty damn eager to kiss me,’ Sirius commented.
‘No one asked for your opinion, you git,’ I snarled.
‘Now now, Lilykins, it’s Christmas Day!’ he said, laughing.
‘Shut up, Black,’ I snapped. ‘You can’t seriously believe him,’ I said, addressing James.
He shrugged. ‘I don’t know. It seems pretty believable.’
‘Seriously? You think I’d just go around kissing my ex?’
‘Ugh! You are just so … annoying!’ I yelled at him, standing up and storming up the stairs. Halfway up, I burst into tears. I tore down the mistletoe that was hanging in the hall and threw it aside. When I got into the room, I took off the bracelet and chucked it across the room. As I collapsed onto the bed, a small owl tapped at the window. I let it in and took the note off its leg.
Hey, Lily. How’s your Christmas so far? Mine’s been great – my cousins all got me a present so I’ve got about eight now, just from them. Joyce and Michael have got you a present – they’re going to give it to you when you arrive tomorrow. Speaking of which, are you going to Apparate by yourself or do we need to arrange a Portkey or something? Love from Lisa
I turned the parchment over and rummaged around in my trunk for ink and a quill.
Hi Lisa. Merry Christmas! I’m glad someone’s having a good time. To be honest, I can’t wait to get away. James has been messing with my head again – one minute he loves me, the next he’s yelling at me. Sirius has been messing with James’s head, making him think I actually enjoyed it when he kissed me. Courtney’s just been plain bitchy. I made a new friend called Matthew. He’s a Muggle and he’s about three years old, but he’s so sweet. I’ll Apparate round to yours at around ten, if that’s OK? Lots of love, Lily
I tied the note to Lisa’s owl and carried him to the window. The owl jumped off my arm and swooped into the sky.
At least tomorrow this torture would be over.
‘I found this on the stairs,’ said a voice. I turned. Cookies for whoever guesses who it was.
‘Get lost,’ I snapped at him. James held up the mistletoe.
‘You do know that if I hold this over us, there’s no escaping it. And everyone wants Christmas kisses.’
‘I could just run away, idiot,’
‘No. My parents enchanted it so you can’t escape unless you kiss someone.’
‘Ew, what if two guys get trapped under it? Or two girls?’
‘Lily. You are sick. Just get over here.’
‘No. Why should I?’ I snapped. I picked up the bracelet and put it back on. ‘You know, Amos is a very good kisser.’
‘Shut up. I see you’re admiring the bracelet I got you then?’ James asked, raising an eyebrow.
‘No. Amos got this for me.’
‘He didn’t. I checked the park. You were spying on me, weren’t you? You love me so much you started stalking me!’
‘I wasn’t stalking you, you idiot. I was in the park at the time.’
‘With your boyfriend Matthew?’ he jeered, the mistletoe shaking over his head.
‘Matthew’s not my boyfriend.’
‘Then who is?’
‘I don’t have one. It used to be you. If you forgot, I’d check into St Mungo’s to see if you’ve had brain damage. Not that you don’t have it already.’ I said, smiling at him sarcastically.
‘You’re the one with brain damage if you don’t love me. See – super-hot James Potter standing here with a huge clump of mistletoe.’
‘Way to get a girl to fall for you, Potter,’ I said, folding my arms and glaring at him. ‘Now, if you would excuse me, I need to go downstairs.’
He stepped backwards so he was standing in front of the door.
‘Move, James. Honestly, were you dropped on your head when you were born?’ I tried to move past him, but he grabbed my arm and pulled me close to him.
‘Probably,’ he said quietly. I looked into his eyes, unable to resist their lure. The mistletoe he was holding up wavered slightly as we got closer. I raised my hand to touch his face. He closed his eyes and drew closer, moistening his lips …
And then he went reeling back in pain, dropping the mistletoe and rubbing the red mark on his face from the slap I’d just given him.
‘Nice try, Potter,’ I said, ‘but you’re going to have to do better than that if you want me back.’
‘Alright everyone, get to the table!’ Mrs Potter called. Like obedient dogs, we all filed into the dining room to take our seats. The table was already laden with food – sprouts, vegetables, roast potatoes – but the huge turkey was on its way.
I found myself wedged between James and Courtney. James reached under the table and squeezed my hand. For one blissful moment, I forgot we weren’t together. I forgot where I was and I forgot all my problems. But then it all came flooding back to me and I jerked my hand away from him.
Mrs Potter came swooping out of the kitchen, holding a huge tray in her hands. She placed it gently on the table and slowly took off the foil covering it.
I’d never seen a Christmas turkey quite so huge. It took up at least half of the table and must have been about ten times the size of my head.
During dinner, in which many crackers were pulled, I ate so much I thought I might burst. I didn’t touch the sprouts though, because I’d had a bad experience with them in the past (five words: DAD – DON’T TOUCH THE SPROUTS!).
When we were allowed to leave the table so Mrs Potter could get the gingerbread house out, I wandered over to the lounge to sit on the sofa and examine the bracelet James had (buried) in more detail.
On the back of each lily charm were three words etched in tiny writing: I love you.
I noticed James watching me from the armchair. I gave him a little smile but he scowled at me.
‘Dear me, Lilykins, it seems Jamesie doesn’t like you anymore.’ Sirius said, sitting down beside me.
‘It’s your fault this happened in the first place, Black. And I don’t care if it’s Christmas Day – if you dare say anything that confuses him even more, I’ll kick you.’
‘Where will you kick me?’ I raised my eyebrow. He got the message. ‘Oh! Oh, crap! Lily! You violent child!’
‘That’s me.’ I said. ‘Now get lost,’
‘No need to be so rude, Lilykins. I’m only here to help.’
‘Help?’ I said, staring at him.
‘Of course. I don’t want James and Courtney to be together.’ Sirius told me.
‘Why not? I thought you did, so you could have me.’ I said. ‘At least, that’s what it looks like to me.’
‘I did want you. But now I’m not so sure.’
‘Gee, thanks. Seems like no one wants me nowadays.’
‘Whatever. Anyway, I’ve decided I want Courtney for myself. And you can have James, if you want. Do you want?’ he asked.
I looked over at James, who was looking at the fire. Courtney sashayed over to him and sat on his lap, stroking his face and touching his leg.
‘I suppose. I – I mean, I don’t think James and Courtney would go well together.’ I said hastily.
‘You want.’ Sirius confirmed. ‘Anyway, I’m now officially a double agent. Courtney thinks I still want you and that I’m helping her get James, but I’m not. I’ll talk to James and see if I can get you two together … again.’
‘Why should I trust you?’ I demanded. ‘From what I know about you, you’re a devious, conniving, two-faced –’
‘Alright, that’s enough!’ He held up his hands. ‘Yeah, I maybe all those things, but now I’m willing to give it up to help a friend.’
‘We’re not friends,’
‘Not you – James. Poor thing.’ He jerked his head over to James, who was being attacked by Courtney. She was making it very obvious that she liked him – kissing his cheek and cuddling up to him.
‘Yeah. Nobody deserves Courtney – except maybe you. You’re both the same.’ I crossed my arms and tried to look confident, but the sight of Courtney doing contortions over James made me balk. ‘You’re on, Black,’
‘Pleasure doing business with you, Evans,’ Sirius said, and he smiled. He got off the sofa and charged up the stairs. Courtney was still doing gymnastics over James, who was looking very uncomfortable. Her mouth was moving closer to his and I resisted the urge to throw her into the fire.
‘Courtney!’ Sirius yelled. ‘Get up here!’
She sighed impatiently, but got off James and trudged up the stairs. When she was gone, James turned to me.
‘Why were you talking to Sirius?’
‘Why was Courtney trying to seduce you?’
‘I asked first.’
‘I’m allowed to talk to people, aren’t I? I’m not a complete loner.’ I shot back.
‘I thought you hated him though?’
‘That doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to talk to him. You know – drop a few threats, that sort of thing.’ I said, rolling my eyes.
‘And why was Courtney all over you?’
‘Why do you care?’
I didn’t reply. ‘I don’t.’
‘Then I don’t need to answer.’
‘You know what,’ I said, an idea suddenly forming in my head, ‘I’ve got a confession to make.’
‘I wasn’t dropping threats to Sirius,’ I said. When James didn’t say anything, I went on, ‘He kind of asked me out again.’
‘And what did you say?’ I shrugged. ‘You said yes?’
‘Maybe …’ I muttered.
James’s face turned the colour of my hair. ‘Right. So … you’re not single?’
‘Is it just me or is that the dumbest question in the world?’ I said, smirking at him as I watched him sink lower into his armchair.
Courtney came back down the stairs and flung herself on James, who seemed quite eager now.
Did I just make things worse?
I jumped up and flew up the stairs, colliding with Sirius on the landing. I fell on top of him, but immediately jumped up and flattened myself against the wall.
‘What have you done?’ Sirius demanded.
‘I-may-have-kind-of-accidentally-on-purpose-told-James-we-were-dating-again.’ I said in one breath. He looked confused for a moment, then his eyes widened and he gasped.
‘Lily! You complete and utter idiot! Do you have crap for brains or something?’
‘I think so,’ I said sadly. ‘What are we going to do?’
‘You are going to not say anything to James about this while I sort it out.’ Sirius said, looking annoyed. He stomped down the stairs.
Maybe I did have crap for brains.
I was about to run into the room and start sobbing when Mrs Potter called,
‘Here comes the gingerbread house!’
I shot down the stairs as Mrs Potter carried it into the lounge. She put it on the coffee table. It looked exactly like the Potters’ house and there were even little gingerbread people who I recognized as Mr and Mrs Potter, James, Sirius, Courtney and even me.
‘Help yourselves to … yourselves,’ Mr Potter said. I picked up the little redhead gingerbread. It even had little emerald-coloured eyes.
‘It’s beautiful, Mrs Potter.’ I said, studying the gingerbread-Lily carefully.
‘I’m glad you think so.’ Mrs Potter said, smiling.
The gingerbread house was quickly eaten. In no time at all, the beautiful structure was little more than a few crumbs on the platter.
‘PRESENT TIME!’ James roared, jumping at the tree. He looked round at the different parcels. ‘To James, from Sirius,’ he read. He tore at the wrapping paper to reveal a tiny leash and what looked like a homemade mini racetrack.
‘What the hell is that?’ Courtney asked, furrowing her brow.
James snorted with laughter. ‘This is my Flobberworm leash and this is the racetrack for mine and Sirius’s Flobber-lympics. Thanks, mate!’
‘No problem. Right – my turn!’ Sirius bent down by the presents. ‘To Sirius, from Lily. I wonder what it is!’
I smiled to myself as he took off the paper. ‘It’s a dog grooming kit.’ Sirius gaped at it. Then he started laughing. Then he wouldn’t stop.
‘I’m guessing you like it?’
‘It’s the best! Thanks, Lily!’
When I unwrapped my present from Mr and Mrs Potter, I was not expecting what I got.
The wrapping paper fell away and I found myself holding a shimmering deep blue dress. The straps crossed over at my neck and the back was half-filled.
‘What –?’ I said, staring at it.
‘We thought you might like it, Lily,’ Mr Potter said.
‘Like it? I love it!’
‘Great! You can wear it to our New Year’s Party!’ Mrs Potter exclaimed.
‘New Year’s Party?’
‘Yes. We decided we were having a party to celebrate the New Year. Everyone’s invited – your parents included, Lily. And Petunia – if she’s feeling up to it.’ Mrs Potter told me gently. ‘And everyone should come with a partner.’
I stared at her. The Potters had never had a New Year’s Party before. And I needed a partner.
Courtney was in bed and, once again, I couldn’t sleep. I was due to leave for Lisa’s in ten hours, at ten o’ clock in the morning. It was nearly midnight.
I slipped out of bed and crept into the hallway. The light was on in James and Sirius’s room.
I pressed my ear against the wood, keeping a firm grip on the doorknob so it wouldn’t swing open.
I could hear their voices clearly.
‘Me and Lily aren’t actually going out, you know,’ Sirius was saying.
‘Why would she say something like that though?’
‘That girl is mental, I’m telling you. She’s got trouble expressing her feelings about – I mean, she’s just psychotic.’
‘Expressing her feelings about who?’ James asked.
‘If you don’t tell me, I won’t go Flobberworm racing with you.’ James said, his voice sounding dangerous.
‘Alright! She still fancies you, and I know you still fancy her. OK? So just own up and snog her like you used to.’ Sirius sighed.
‘Believe me, I tried.’ James said. ‘She slapped me. I really like her, but she’s being such a bitch right now. I don’t even know what’s going on. Before, I told Lily I was sick of her, but I’m not … it’s so confusing – one minute Lily and I are friends, the next she makes some irritating comment and we end up arguing. To be honest, I’m not sure if us being together is a good idea. But I want to be, because I love her.’
‘What did I say about Lily being mental? I’M SURE SHE’LL CONFESS SOON ENOUGH!’ He said the last sentence louder, as if he knew I was behind the door.
‘… Why are you talking so loud …?’
‘So that Lily can hear,’
‘Lily’s in bed.’
‘Want to go visit her?’
There was a pause. No, no, no. Say no. He’s going to say no. I told myself.
Suddenly the door opened and I backed away from the light, holding my hands up as if I was going to be arrested.
‘What the hell, Lily?’ Sirius said, but he said it as if he already knew. ‘You were outside our bedroom?’
‘Um … no. I couldn’t sleep …’
‘So you decided to listen in on our conversation?’ James said, grinning. Then his smile faded. ‘How much did you hear?’
‘Not much …’
‘Evans, if you don’t tell us, I’ll set my Flobberworm on you.’ Sirius said, looking … serious … but I knew it was an empty threat because Flobberworms were about as dangerous as a wet sock. Might as well throw the dog a bone. I sighed.
‘Oh, no, don’t do that,’ I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes at him. ‘OK, OK, I may have heard the bit where you –’ I nodded at James ‘– confessed about loving me and –’
‘Did you believe it?’
‘I don’t see why I should, considering you don’t believe me about anything. Maybe you were right, Potter. Maybe me and you is a bad idea.’
‘OK …’ Sirius said, ‘Walking away from this conversation.’ He backed into the room and shut the door so the only light we got was through the window at the end of the hallway.
‘You think we’re a bad idea?’ James said.
‘You said it first. And, fine, maybe I don’t think we’re a bad idea. Maybe I do still love you and maybe I think we’ve had enough time apart and –’
I was cut off by James. He’d come forwards and pressed his lips to mine. He pulled away. ‘You know, we still need a Christmas kiss.’
‘Did that not count?’
So I put my arms around his neck and pulled him closer to me. Our lips met and at the same time, the grandfather clock beside Mr and Mrs Potter’s room ding-donged to signal midnight.
Maybe I did get my Christmas kiss after all.
And though we didn’t know it at the time, there was mistletoe hanging right above us.
AN: Ciao! Thanks for reading the latest chapter – I hope I didn’t keep you waiting for too long! If I did, I am extremely sorry. Pwease forgive me *big puppy dog eyes*. So what did you think of the chapter? Liked it? Hated it? Yeah, I bet you thought that ending was extremely cheesy (I did), but I thought it was about time for one. Tell me what you thought and hopefully the next chapter won’t take this long to get up!xxx
Beautiful chapter image by easterlies @tda
As told by James Godric Potter
I’d love to say everything went smoothly from there. Me and Lily had our reunion kiss, made up, Courtney stopped being a bitch and everything went back to the way it was.
Nope. With my life, I’m surprised it’s not spiralled down to a stupid twisted blob of crap right now.
So let me just remind you what happened last night on Christmas Day.
Apparently, Lily couldn’t sleep so she got out of bed, saw the light was on in my room and decided that this was the best time to take a lesson in becoming a master-spy by eavesdropping on our conversation. Sirius suggested we go visit her in bed (and use that hand-in-cold-water trick to make her pee) and we opened the door and Lily was standing there all innocent-like as if she hadn’t been listening in. Then the two of us had this conversation and we ended up kissing.
I really did miss Lily. I actually kind of forgot what a good kisser she was. I tried saying sorry but we couldn’t have a conversation without infuriating each other and end up yelling. But now hopefully everything would go better.
You ever hear the saying, ‘When Life gives you lemons, make lemonade’? Yeah? Well, I’d like to tell Life where to stick those damn lemons. Up. Its. Arse.
After Lily and I broke apart after that kiss, she leant back against the wall and looked at me. She didn’t say anything. Just looked.
‘What?’ I said to her. ‘What are you looking at?’
‘I’m just remembering,’ she said.
‘Remembering what exactly?’ I asked, peering suspiciously at her.
‘Oh, just all the times you told me you loved me –’
‘Lily, don’t start –’
‘And then all the times I loved you back.’ She raised an eyebrow at me. ‘I love you.’
‘Do you really?’ I said. She nodded. ‘Positive?’ Again, she nodded. I circled my arms around her waist again. ‘Absolutely sure?’ I pressed my lips to her neck and I felt her nod once again.
‘Seriously, though,’ she said, lifting my chin with her fingers and looking into my eyes, ‘I don’t want either of us messing it up this time. This is for real, right?’
‘For real,’ I agreed, pulling her closer into a hug.
I wish I only knew how bloody damn complicated things were going to get right then.
After another ten minutes of standing in the hallway, kissing and hugging and whispering, Lily finally said goodnight and departed into her room. I waited until the door was shut before retreating into mine.
Sirius was still up, sitting on his bed and clearly wanting information. ‘Well?’ he demanded. ‘What happened?’
I shrugged, getting into bed ‘We kissed.’
‘And that’s it?’
‘Talked about what?’
‘Dunno. Just … stuff.’ I lay down and stared at the ceiling. ‘Stuff.’
‘And … what sort of stuff is this?’
‘Eh … couldn’t really say. Just stuff.’
Sirius was getting annoyed. He got into bed and said, ‘Goddammit you’re like one of those sensitive nerds who can’t talk about romance.’
‘And you’re like one of those hyperactive bitches who talk about nothing but romance. Go to sleep, Paddy,’ I sighed. Rolling over, I closed my eyes and thought about Lily. Hopefully everything would go OK from now on.
The next morning, I got up ten minutes before Lily was due to leave for Lisa’s. She was standing by the front door checking her trunk when I raced down the stairs (sliding on the banister) in my pyjamas and landed in front of her.
‘I wondered when you were going to get up,’ she said, prodding me gently in the stomach.
‘Meh, thought I’d lie in.’ I wrapped my arms around her and kissed the tip of her nose. ‘You send me an owl when you’re all settled, yes?’
‘Yes, sir,’ she said, rolling her eyes and giving a mock salute.
‘And we’re going to this dumb New Year’s party together, right?’
‘Whatever you say, General James,’ she said, smiling.
My mum came running out of the kitchen, holding something wrapped in tin foil. ‘Give this cake to Mr and Mrs Corner, OK, Lily?’
‘Sure, Mrs Potter,’ Lily said, taking the package and tucking it safely inside her trunk. She looked at her watch. ‘So … I’d better get going. I’ll see you on New Year’s Eve, then.’
She kissed me on the cheek, gave us both a wide smile and slipped out of the front door. I heard the pop sound and looked out of the window. She was gone.
‘So you and Lily have made up?’ Mum asked.
‘Yes, I’ve told you a million times before. Me and Lily are back together.’ I said.
‘Good. I’m rooting for you two, you know!’
‘Leaving now, honey!’ she trilled, then scurried off into the kitchen.
Honestly, my mother is the weirdest woman alive.
I sat down in an armchair. So far, everything was going fine. I felt happy.
That happiness shattered when Courtney walked in. ‘What’s this I hear? You and the precious little princess are back together?’
‘What’s it to you, bitch?’ I snapped. I wasn’t in the mood to be gentlemanly.
She laughed. ‘Oh, you know what it is to me. You’re mine, Potter. I don’t care what anyone else says. Your mother’s rooting for you and Lilykins is she? How wrong the sour old cow is.’
‘Hey, don’t call my mother a sour old cow!’ I said, growling at her. My mum might be weird, but nobody insults my momma!
‘Who’s a sour old cow?’ Sirius asked, coming down the stairs.
‘Nobody,’ Courtney said sweetly. ‘Nothing’s wrong.’ She kissed him on the cheek and when she wasn’t looking, Sirius made a ‘What’s wrong with her?’ face at me. I shrugged.
‘Lily’s gone then?’ Sirius asked, yawning.
‘Yeah, she left like, five minutes ago.’ I told him.
‘Damn. I wanted to say bye to her. Meh. Oh well.’ Sirius said, moving into the kitchen for breakfast. As soon as he was gone, Courtney narrowed her eyes.
‘Better watch out, Jamesie, ’cause I’m coming to get you.’
‘Ha!’ I snorted. ‘I’d like to see you try. I’m not the stupid idiot I used to be, OK? You can try to seduce me all you like, it ain’t gonna work.’ I folded my arms across my chest and tried to look smug.
Courtney smirked. ‘If you say so.’ She flashed a seductive smile at me before swinging her hair over her shoulder and stalking up the stairs.
I rolled my eyes and sank lower into the armchair. Girls were so confusing sometimes. I mean, when two guys like a girl, it’s like, ‘Meh’, but when two girls like a guy, it’s like World War Three.
Sirius came out of the kitchen holding a rack of toast. He offered it to me. I grabbed three pieces and stuffed one into my mouth, growling at the floor.
‘Depressed, are you?’ Sirius asked, sitting on the floor by the fireplace. He set the toast rack on his lap and picked one up.
‘Girls,’ I snapped, ‘need to be put into a mental home.’
‘Naw. Your girlfriend Courtney. Bitch.’ I said, glaring at my toast.
‘What’s she done? I thought you two were friends,’ Sirius commented. ‘Prongs, stop giving your toast the evils. It’s not done anything to you.’
I stopped giving my toast the evils.
‘I know she likes you,’ Sirius said casually, as if this wasn’t such a big deal. ‘Courtney, I mean. She fancies you more than she fancies me.’
‘Are you saying I’m hot?’
I raised an eyebrow. ‘No, I just mean she’s crazy because I’m with Lily now. She should just give it a rest for once.’
‘Well, to be fair, you have snogged her more than once while you were dating Lily. You’ve probably put some stupid hopes into her head.’ Sirius said, gobbling down a second piece of toast.
‘You’re meant to be on my side, you git,’ I said.
‘I am on nobody’s side. I am the voice of reason,’ Sirius said, grinning. I snorted and rolled my eyes again.
‘It’s your fault too, you know. If you hadn’t asked out Lily, none of this would have happened. And how comes you kissed her during the Halloween Ball if you don’t like her?’ I asked, nibbling at the crust on the toast. Merlin, I feel like a hormonal teenage girl.
Sirius shrugged. ‘I had to make Courtney think I wanted Lily back, didn’t I?’
I quickly checked the stairs to see if Courtney was listening in. ‘You mean you don’t want Lily back?’
‘Nah. She messes about too much.’ I narrowed my eyes. ‘And anyway, you’ve got Lily. I’ve always been root–’
‘Please, don’t finish that sentence.’
‘Because you sound like my mother!’
He shut up. ‘So like I was saying, I’m a –’ He looked around. ‘– double agent.’
‘Meaning Courtney thinks I want Lily back, but I’m secretly working hard to keep you and Lily together. And meh, who knows, maybe get Courtney in the process.’ Sirius said, finishing off his second piece of toast and starting on a third.
‘Oh my God, stop eating so much.’ I snapped suddenly. ‘Honestly, are you trying to get fat?’
He didn’t reply. ‘You know, you’re sounding more and more like a teenage girl. Is this what dating has done to you?’ He shuddered and continued munching on his toast.
I rolled my eyes yet again and got up. ‘Here, have my toast if you want. I’m going to the park.’
I threw the toast at him and stormed up the stairs. There was an owl waiting for me, hovering outside my bedroom window. I undid the latch and pushed it up, letting the barn owl flutter inside and land on the windowsill. It stuck one of its legs out, revealing a small envelope tied to it. I managed to undo the knot and unfolded the letter.
I got to Lisa’s house fine. Michael and Joyce liked the chocolate spice cake your mother made for them. I’m all settled in now and her cousins are driving me mad already. Are you missing me? It’s kind of sad that we only made up last night and I’m not going to see you until New Year’s. But anyway, this was just to tell you I got here alright. Missing you already!
Lots of love,
I looked through my drawers for a piece of parchment and a quill. Leaning on the windowsill next to the owl, which was starting to look impatient, I scribbled,
Glad to hear you’re all settled in. I can’t wait for the party, Mum and Dad are keeping quiet but Dad told me it would be ‘radical’. (I told him never to say the word ‘radical’ ever again because he sounded like one of those Muggle rockers from the 50’s). Yeah, sure, I miss you too.
Love James x
I tied the letter to the owl, who glared at me before leaping out of the window. I slid it shut and turned to my wardrobe. It was quite empty (I might act like a girl lately, but I don’t go shopping like one), so I just put on some jeans and a top. I zipped up the jacket, put on some socks and shoes and jumped down the stairs two at a time.
Sirius was still sat on the floor chomping down toast. There were only two pieces left on the rack. ‘Bye!’ he called as I opened the door. I pulled a face at him, then walked outside and shut the door.
The cold winter air hit me as soon as I stepped outside. I hunched over, wishing I’d put on a coat, or at least some gloves, and walked quickly towards the park. There weren’t many people there.
I sat on a bench, huddled against the wind.
‘You’re the mean boy who hurted Lily!’ said an angry voice. I looked up. It was the little boy who was friends with Lily … what was his name again?
‘Matthew,’ I said.
‘Where’s Lily?’ he demanded.
‘Lily went to stay with some other friends,’ I told him. ‘But she’ll be back on New Year’s Eve, I think.’
‘Who are you?’
‘I’m Lily’s boyfriend. My name’s James.’
‘Why did you hurt Lily?’
‘Because I was being stupid then. But I’m not anymore. You want to be friends?’ I asked. He looked at me suspiciously.
‘OK then!’ he said brightly. He hopped up onto the bench next to me.
‘So how come you like Lily so much then, Matthew?’
‘Well … she’s pretty …’ Yep, I like this kid. ‘Are you really her boyfriend?’ I nodded. ‘You are very lucky.’
Damn right! ‘Yeah … I guess …’
‘Oh, my mummy’s calling me. Well, bye, James!’ He gave me a hug, slid off the bench. I think he likes hugs.
Matthew’s mother looked at me, frowning, but Matthew said something to her and she smiled at me.
I looked at the other side of the park, where I buried Lily’s Christmas present. I don’t exactly know I did it. I guess it was because I thought she didn’t love me anymore. My relationship with Lily was so odd.
After a little while, when I was finally sick of the cold, I got up and left the park.
I bumped into someone on the way home. My parents kept a stash of Muggle money in the house if I ever felt like getting something from the little convenience store on the corner. I was on my way to ask them for some so I could get that Muggle fizzy drink called ‘Coke’, which was really nice. It made my brain fuzz up and my nose went all odd when I drank it. In other words, I thought it was awesome.
‘Sorry, I –’ I stopped when I saw who it was.
Courtney, wrapped in a coat and scarf but still managing to look pretty (ish), was smirking at me.
‘So, what, are you stalking me now?’ I demanded. She shrugged. ‘You’re so … ugh!’
Bloody hell, I really do sound like a girl.
She didn’t say anything, just smirked.
‘Stop smirking,’ I snapped, ‘it’s really annoying.’ She stopped smirking, flashed a smile at me and walked past. I rolled my eyes at her back, then started walking back home. Suddenly I felt fingers on my shoulders and hot breath on my neck. I grabbed my wand (who cares if I’m not seventeen yet?) and whipped round, expecting to see Courtney there, but she was still walking away. She looked back at me and waggled her fingers, smiling, before turning into the park.
Stupid bitch, messing with my head like that.
The next day, December 27th, Sirius and I were planning to test out the new Flobberworm racetrack he’d got me for Christmas. Because his parents would have gotten Kreacher to smush the Flobberworms, I kept them in a big container under my bed.
I’d painted mine with a red streak and Sirius’s with a gold one so we could tell them apart. I also called mine Benji, which it seemed to respond to. We were in the back garden with the racetrack set out on the patio and Benji and Glorax (Sirius calls his Flobberworm Glorax – don’t ask why) all ready for racing when I heard whistling. I turned round. Courtney was standing by the back door, holding a piece of parchment.
‘Ja-ames,’ she sang, ‘look what I’ve got!’
‘What’s that?’ I asked, feeling impatient. Benji started wriggling and excreting more mucus than normal and Glorax was trying to eat himself.
‘It’s a letter from your lovely Lily,’ she told me.
I didn’t believe her for a second. I looked at Sirius, who was frowning at Courtney as if he was trying to work out whether she was telling the truth or not.
‘Give it here then,’ I sighed, holding out the hand which wasn’t drenched in Flobberworm mucus. Courtney laughed, then twirled around and shot into the house. For Merlin’s sake, the girl was deranged.
‘It probably wasn’t a letter from Lily, anyway.’ I said, shrugging. ‘Come on, let’s get on with this race. Eurgh, Benji’s convulsing.’ I put Benji behind the starting line and Glorax started making squelching noises when Sirius put him on the track. ‘OK … ready?’ I put my finger on the button that lifted the barrier. Sirius nodded, rubbing his hands together.
‘Three … two … one … Lettuce!’ I yelled, pushing down the button. Normally they’d have sat there squelching, but sometimes we put lettuce or cabbage at the end of the track to see what happened. Today, Glorax started inching his way over to the lettuce and Benji flopped over and rolled to the finish line.
Sirius was roaring with laughter while I was gently prodding Benji forwards. It took a while, in which Sirius and I had several laughing fits and I got three stomach cramps from it all, but in the end, Glorax won by an inch.
‘Ha! In your face, Potter!’ he yelled, punching the air. ‘You go, Glorax!’ He seized his Flobberworm and kissed it. ‘Ah!’ he screamed, spitting out the Flobberworm mucus and wiping his mouth on his sleeve.
I used my wand to Summon some more lettuce from the kitchen and put it in their box. ‘Extra lettuce for you, Glorax,’ I said, taking him and putting him in the box. ‘And some extra lettuce for Benji, too,’ I said, and Benji went in with him. I put the lid on the box (which had air holes punched in – I’m not an inhumane Flobberworm abuser) and picked it up. Sirius gathered up the racetrack and we headed back inside.
‘Wash your hands, boys!’ Mum called from the kitchen. ‘I don’t want mucus-y fingerprints all over my house!’
‘Yes, Mum!’ I said. Like we were going to spend the rest of the day with Flobberworm mucus all over our hands. We went up to my room and I stowed the box under my bed, saying goodbye to Benji and Glorax.
Sirius used his wand to make water pour from his wand and the carpet in my bedroom ended up soaking. Meh.
I wiped a little mucus off the floor with a tissue and threw it in the bin by my desk. There was a piece of parchment in there, but I thought it might be some trash because I usually start homework and then chuck it.
‘Lunchtime!’ I heard Mum called.
‘WOO!’ Sirius screamed, punching the air. ‘Man, I’m starving!’
‘You go ahead, I think Benji needs some more lettuce. He’s thinning down a little.’ Sirius laughed, then turned around and ran out. I could hear him jumping down the stairs.
The door opened slowly and I turned, expecting to see Courtney. But I didn’t.
‘Lily? What are you doing here? You’re supposed to be at Lisa’s aunt and uncle’s place.’ I said, standing up. She didn’t say anything. ‘Lily?’
Lily started walking towards me and suddenly her lips were on mine. Something about me felt reluctant like ‘This is wrong, how can she be here?’ But her hands started running through my hair and I started kissing her back. This was Lily, for Merlin’s sake. Why wouldn’t I kiss her?
I could hear Benji and Glorax squelching, obviously wanting more lettuce, but Lily deepened the kiss and –
‘JAMES!’ Sirius yelled as the door burst open.
Lily and I jumped apart … only – wait a second. Lily’s red hair was slowly turning blonde and her eyes turned blue. Courtney swore, shooting Sirius the finger before storming out of the room.
‘What the fu– what the hell was that all about?’ Sirius roared.
‘I don’t know!’ I shot back. ‘One minute she was Lily and then she was Courtney – I’m so confused!’
‘Ha! You’re confused? Do you understand what you’ve done to me? You only made up with Lily last night and now you’re snogging your ex, who just so happens to have it in for your girlfriend?’
‘Like I said – she looked like Lily and – no. She wouldn’t. The stupid bitch actually charmed herself to look like Lily?’ I curled my hands into fists. ‘I’m going to kill her.’
‘Before you kill her, you idiot, we need to worry about what Lily will do.’
‘We just won’t tell Lily. She doesn’t have to know.’ I shrugged.
‘If I hadn’t come in, and you still thought she was Lily, what would you have done then? Kissed her more? Slept with her?’
‘I’m serious!’ he cried.
I sniggered. ‘I know you are.’
‘Shut up! There’s no way in hell Courtney will keep quiet about this. She’ll probably say something during that stupid party and you and Lily will get upset with each other again and, for Merlin’s sake, it’s actually time for you both to stop being so childish and start growing up!’ I stared at him. Since when has Sirius gone all touchy-feely?
I rolled my eyes. ‘Look, Lily and I agreed not to lie to each other. So I’ll just tell her what happened – that Courtney charmed herself to look like Lily and tricked me.’
‘You really think she’ll believe you? After all those times she caught you kissing Courtney? You think she’ll believe you now?’ Sirius demanded.
‘She has to! Why would I lie to her now? Especially since she knows I love her.’ I said. God, I sounded desperate. Sirius growled at me.
‘For God’s sake, you really haven’t learnt, have you? Girls like Lily – especially girls like Lily – get jealous at little things. If their boyfriends look at another girl they’ll start a war – and Merlin knows what Lily will do when she finds out you kissed Courtney again.’
‘Lily won’t care if you were tricked or not. She’ll only care that your ex kissed you and, by the looks of things, you were kissing her back.’
‘She’s got no proof –’
‘All she needs are words, you twat. She’ll believe anything if it sounds genuine.’ Sirius sighed. ‘Girls are stupid like that.’
Pfft. Tell me about it.
So now I know what Lily felt like when I messed around with her.
For the rest of the day, all I got from Courtney were flirty waves and seductive smiles. God, what a bitch. Twice she nearly kissed me again – once out in the garden and the other time when I was lying on my bed, trying to write a letter to Lily. You can imagine how that last one went down.
I was actually dreading this stupid New Year’s Party. Why the hell did my parents decide to hold one this year?
Sirius and I were just going to wear the tuxedos from the Halloween ball. There was no point going to look for a new one when these were only worn a couple of months ago.
Lily arrived a few hours early. She came wearing jeans and a T-shirt but she was holding the bag containing the dress Mum and Dad got for her. She Apparated into our front garden and rang the doorbell.
Sirius and I were having a competition in the lounge to see who could eat as many Chocolate Frogs as they could in a minute when she came. I didn’t get up fast enough and Courtney opened the door. She pulled a face and said,
‘Jamesie-poo, your girlfriend is here.’
I scowled at her through a mouthful of Chocolate Frogs and vaulted over the sofa. Courtney went ‘Ugh’ one last time and left.
There was Lily – the real Lily this time – with her red hair streaming down her back and over her shoulders. Her green eyes sparkled and she grinned as she walked into the house. It had only been five days since I’d seen her last, but I’d really missed her. She saw the glob of chocolate in my mouth and said,
‘Ew.’ I swallowed the chocolate, wiped my mouth with my sleeve and pulled her into a hug. ‘Yeah, yeah, I missed you too,’ she said, but she hugged me back. I led her into the lounge where Sirius was busy cramming the last few Frogs into his mouth.
‘Awl righ’ ’Ily?’
‘I really missed your table manners, Black,’ she said sarcastically, rolling her eyes.
He snorted and shoved another Frog into his mouth. Courtney was watching him, but she looked up to give Lily an evil glare.
‘Er … let’s go up to my room, shall we?’ I suggested. ‘Mum, Lily’s here!’ I yelled into the kitchen, before pulling Lily up the stairs.
She laughed as she shut the door behind her when we came into my room. ‘How come you didn’t reply to my letter?’ she asked, sitting on my bed.
‘What letter? The only letter I got from you was the one you sent once you got to Lisa’s,’ I said, frowning, ‘and I replied to that one.’
‘Hmm … maybe the letter got lost. My owl’s dropped letters more than once while she’s been delivering.’ Lily furrowed her brow and tapped her bottom lip with one of her fingers. Merlin, she looked cute. Then her eyes fell on my bin. ‘What’s that?’ she asked.
I reached over to take the crumpled parchment out of the bin and smoothed it out.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit. Lily’s letter. Courtney must have chucked it in here.
Damn! So it really had been a letter from Lily when Sirius and I were Flobberworm racing!
‘Oh, this is just some rubbish. I need to recycle this.’ I said quickly, crumpling it up again.
‘Ooh, let me see!’ Lily said. I was expecting her to jump for it, so I threw it back into the bin. ‘Aw, come on, Jamesie-poo,’ she said, sounding eerily like Courtney. So much like her, in fact, that I grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her.
‘Stop it!’ I growled in her face. ‘Stop trying to trick me!’
She whimpered. ‘W-what?’ She sounded scared. ‘James, what are you do–’
‘Shut up! I’m not going to fall for you, not this time!’
‘James, stop it! You’re scaring me!’ Her green eyes were wide and she was definitely frightened. But was it really her? I was so confused that it could be Courtney in disguise again. But … it couldn’t be her. She was just downstairs.
I let go of Lily and sank back down onto the bed. ‘James?’ she asked. She sat next to me. ‘Are you OK?’
‘I’m fine. I’m sorry, I –’
‘It’s alright. Tell me what happened.’ I stared at her.
‘Nothing happened,’ I said hastily, shaking my head.
‘I really believe that,’ Lily said, snorting. ‘Tell me. I won’t mind. Unless you tell me you ended up snogging Courtney again.’ She laughed a little.
‘Um …’ I bit my lip and Lily narrowed her eyes. ‘I thought she was you.’
‘What do you mean by that?’ Her voice wasn’t as warm as it was a second ago.
‘Well, she charmed herself to look like you.’
‘And when did you realise it wasn’t me?’
‘Sirius came in and she turned back to normal.’ I shrugged. ‘The point is, I wouldn’t have kissed her if I knew it was her.’
‘But it didn’t occur to you that I wouldn’t be coming until today?’
‘I did wonder. I was about to say something but then she kissed me.’ I said. ‘Honestly, if I knew it was her, I’d never have respond– I mean, never kissed her. And anyway, she kisses differently to you.’ I added. Lily smiled.
I titled my head, smirking. ‘I don’t exactly remember …’
Lily wiggled her eyebrows, which made me laugh. I’d never seen her do anything remotely like that before. ‘Would you like me to remind you?’
Before I could reply, Lily grabbed my shoulders and kissed me. I’d actually forgotten what her lips felt like. I should have realised when Courtney kissed me that it felt different.
She lifted her hands to rest just under my chin. Mine touched her face. I don’t know why my hands always went to her face. She has nice skin.
I moved my thumb across her cheek and Lily grabbed the collar of my shirt, pulling me closer. While one of my hands stroked her cheek, the other wound a finger around her long red hair. She has nice hair, too. And nice legs. And arms. I like her arms.
‘JAMES!’ It was Mum. ‘REMUS AND PETER ARE HERE!’
I groaned. ‘God dammit, they’re early.’ I rested my forehead against Lily’s. ‘I expect Lisa and Mary and Ella will be here soon, too.’
‘LILY! COURTNEY! LISA, MARY AND ELLA ARE HERE!’
‘Are you psychic?’ Lily giggled.
‘Probably,’ I said, grinning. Lily kissed the tip of my nose and got up.
‘Come on,’ she said, holding out her hand. I took it, and we went downstairs. Sirius had stopped gorging on Frogs and was sat on the sofa with Remus and Peter. Courtney was lingering around with Mary. Lisa and Ella were just coming through the door. Lily let go of my hand and jumped on Ella.
‘Hello!’ Ella said, sounding surprised. ‘It’s nice to know I was missed.’
Lily looked at her watch. ‘Um … we’ve got three hours until the party. We should go get ready …’
Lisa rolled her eyes. ‘Yes, ma’am.’
The three of them rushed up the stairs, closely followed by Courtney and Mary, who it seemed, had still not opened her eyes to the bitchy aura Courtney emanated.
‘Girls,’ Sirius said, ‘why do they need so much time preparing? All we need to do is chuck on those stupid tuxedos and we’re done.’
I sat on an armchair. ‘So, how’s your Christmas been, you two?’
Remus sighed and shut his eyes. Clearly it was so traumatic he didn’t want to even talk about it.
Peter made this weird squeaking sound and said, ‘I saw Lucille again,’
Sirius laughed. Lucille was this Muggle girl who lived in Peter’s village who he’d been crushing on since she moved there when they were four. Unfortunately, she didn’t really like him very much when he accidentally ripped the head off of one of her dolls when he tried to show her how strong he was.
I heard a lot of loud footsteps, screaming and thuds from upstairs. Judging from the position on the ceiling, I guessed Lily, Ella or Lisa were having an argument over their dresses or something.
I showed Remus and Peter my new Flobberworm race track and told them about Benji and Glorax’s race.
There were a lot of noises from upstairs, and it made me wonder what they were doing. I put a finger to my lips and snuck up the stairs. Courtney and Mary were in the bedroom Courtney and Lily had shared and the other three were in the other spare bedroom next to Mum and Dad’s.
I quietly turned the doorknob of the spare bedroom and opened the door a little. There was a loud scream, a flurry of red hair and the door slammed shut and I was thrown onto the floor.
Sirius, Remus and Peter appeared behind me. ‘Let me guess,’ Remus said, ‘you tried to open the door but they slammed it shut and you fell over?’
I shrugged. ‘I guess we’re not allowed to see them until the party starts.’
Ugh. I wish my parents had never held this stupid party. But, to be honest, Lily looked stunning, so I’m not complaining about that.
The party started at seven. My parents made Sirius, Peter, Remus and I stay in my room so they could do up the house and when the four of us came down, I must say, I wasn’t expecting it.
They must have magically extended the house because it was a lot bigger than I remembered. The furniture was all gone, apart from a few tables and chairs and a little lounge by the stairs. There was a bar against one wall with Firewhisky and Butterbeer and a load of Muggle alcohol, like champagne and whiskey.
There was a huge white marquee out in the garden and numbers floating over it:
‘Countdown to New Year’s?’ I guessed. Mum nodded as she rushed about putting food platters down on the tables.
Peter nudged me. ‘Here they come.’
I turned to the stairs. Lily, Ella and Lisa were walking down the stairs, wobbling on their heels, but looking … wow.
Ella was wearing a shiny pink dress with thick straps (she didn’t usually wear pink, but she did look very nice) and her blonde hair was straight and tied in a side ponytail. She pinched my arm and told me to stop staring.
Lisa looked nothing like her usual bookworm-y self. Her dress was dark green and her hair was straight like Ella’s and fell loose over her shoulders. She kept pulling at the hem of her dress, which came to just above her knees.
Lily … wow. The dress my parents gave her complimented her hair, which was in waves down her back. The dress didn’t quite reach the floor and I could see the tips of her shoes poking out when she stepped.
‘You look nice,’ I said, taking her hand.
‘Just nice?’ She raised an eyebrow.
‘Well … maybe a little more than nice.’ I pulled on my tie and kissed her cheek.
The doorbell rang and Sirius went to get it. ‘Lisa, Ella, your dates are here.’
Gerry Fowey and Lucas McDowell, who were Lisa and Ella’s partners for the Halloween Ball, walked inside. Ella smiled shyly at Gerry as he hugged her. Lucas kissed Lisa’s cheek and looked round.
‘Your parents have done a great job, James,’ he said to me.
‘I didn’t even know what they were going to do,’ I replied. ‘They locked us in my room until they were done.’
Everyone else started arriving soon after. A load of my parents’ friends came swarming through the door at once. Mum’s best friend, Jean (or something), came barging in and gave me a big lipsticky kiss on my face.
Lily laughed at me, so I hit her lightly with an empty platter as I wiped the lipstick off my face. Music was playing from somewhere around the room and Lily gasped.
‘What is it?’
She gestured towards the door, where four people were standing. Two of them were older and they looked amazed, but the other two looked like they’d rather not be here. Lily grabbed my hand and pulled me over to them.
‘Mum!’ she squealed, ‘Dad!’
‘Hello, Lily, dear,’ said Mrs Evans, pulling her daughter into a tight hug.
‘Tuney!’ Lily said after she’d hugged her dad. Petunia glared at her, pouting and clutched onto the arm of her boyfriend. ‘Hello, Vernon,’ Lily said, smiling. Vernon, who was really fat and red, grunted.
‘This must be James,’ Mr Evans said, nodding towards me.
‘Yes, sir,’ I said, shaking his hand.
‘You’re Lily’s boyfriend?’
‘Yes, sir. I’m very lucky to be.’ Mr Evans looked me up and down. Then he smiled.
‘Well, welcome to the family, James!’ He patted me on the back so hard I got winded.
Lily’s sister Petunia sniffed at me, so I sniffed back at her. She glared at me, then sniffed harder. I sniffed again. Suddenly we were in a full-on sniffing war. I think I burst a couple of blood vessels in my brain because I sniffed so hard. After a while, I grabbed a tissue off the bar and handed it to ‘Tuney’ and said,
‘Here, would you like a tissue?’
Sniff. She snatched the tissue and stormed off with her boyfriend.
Lily grinned. ‘How did you get Petunia and Vernon to come?’
Mrs Evans shrugged, looking rather pleased with herself. ‘I told her that if she came she’d be able to move in with Vernon a year earlier.’
Lily laughed. ‘Well, it was really good to see you! I’ll be home this summer, I promise.’ She hugged her parents one last time before they went off to look at the magical decorations.
‘Petunia and Vernon are apparently engaged.’ Lily said. ‘He doesn’t know about … magic and stuff.’
‘Even with all the décor?’ I asked, surprised. Lily nodded, looking amused. ‘Well, he’s either not very observant or just plain dumb.’
Lily giggled. ‘I think he’s both. He’s very stuck-up and posh.’
‘Ugh, I hate him already.’ Lily laughed. Her eyes quickly flickered over my shoulder and her expression darkened for a second, but then she hitched a grin back onto her face and met my eyes again. ‘What is it?’ I asked, peering behind me. ‘Oh.’
Courtney was glaring at Lily and winking at me, making inappropriate gestures with her fingers.
‘Just ignore it, Lily.’ I said, shaking my head. Courtney moved so she was in my line of vision. She made the rude gesture again. Damn it. ‘Um … let’s go outside. My parents have put a marquee up.’
‘OK.’ Lily said, glowering back at Courtney. She let me take her hand and drag her outside. The dark garden was lit up with small lights in the trees and draped around bushes. Lamps brightened up the inside of the huge marquee, which was filled with people.
The garden was huge, and I’d always loved it. When I was little, I used to ride around on the toy broomstick my parents got me and pretend I was a world-famous Quidditch player. There was a lake on the far side and even from here I could see the water glistening.
‘Come on,’ I said.
Lily gasped when she saw the lake. ‘I never knew this was here!’
‘Not many people do. Look how far it is from the house. But I come down here when I need some quiet.’ I told her, sitting on the bank. She cautiously sat next to me, testing how damp the grass was. I laughed. ‘We can always dry it later if it gets wet.’
Lily smiled. ‘James, I – do you think now would be a good time to talk?’
‘I think now would be a great time to talk.’
‘Good. Well … Sirius told me about Courtney’s plan to get you back.’
‘Y’know. To seduce you and stuff.’
‘Oh. I wanted to talk to you about that.’ Without waiting for a reply, I went on. ‘You know the first time you caught me kissing her, after you went to the library.’ Lily raised an eyebrow, but she didn’t say anything, so I continued. ‘You were gone for quite a long time, so I decided to come and look for you. I took that shortcut and Courtney was there. I don’t know if she knew I’d go that way, or if it was a coincidence or what, but I was about to walk right past her when she grabbed me.’ I frowned, trying to remember. ‘She pinned me up against the wall and I think she … I don’t know, maybe she put a charm on me because it was all fuzzy right up until you burst in. You know I’d never kiss her willingly, Lily.’
She considered me for a moment, tucking her hair behind her ear and giving me that judging stare of hers. Then she smiled and I breathed a sigh of relief. ‘It’s OK, James. I should have known … but I guessed you might still like her.’
‘I never liked her,’ I said, smiling. ‘And I never will, OK?’
‘OK.’ She leant forwards to kiss me. Her skin felt even smoother than it did before and I found myself stroking her cheek with my thumb. One of her hands trailed in the water and when she lifted it and ran it through my hair, it ended up sticking up straight. Lily broke off the kiss and laughed, trying to pat down my hair with more water, which only made it worse.
‘Does this happen when you have a shower or something?’ she snorted.
‘Would you like to find out?’
She shot me a look before pulling her wand out of her purse and muttering a spell. I felt my hair, which was now perfectly dry.
‘Maybe later,’ she said, standing up and checking the back of her dress.
‘Is that a promise?’ I asked, scrambling after her as she started to make her way back up to the marquee.
‘Possibly.’ She turned and winked at me, walking a little faster.
‘Lily, are you –’ I started, but I heard screaming from the marquee. We stared at each other, then Lily hitched her dress up to her knees and ran for it, stumbling on her heels. I grabbed her hand and pulled her along.
‘What’s happening? What is it?’ I demanded, pushing through the crowd that had gathered.
‘Look!’ someone squealed. ‘Look, it’s The Hairy Elf!’
Lily rolled her eyes. ‘It’s no big deal. We had them at our Halloween Ball?’
‘You’ve seen them live before?’ said the woman who’d screamed. ‘Wow. I really like the lead singer – he’s sooo hot!’
Lily scoffed, shaking her head.
‘Lily,’ someone said quietly. We both turned round.
‘What do you want?’ Lily snapped at Courtney, whose eyes went big and round. She was wearing a low-cut, blood red dress. I noticed a few guy’s eyes kept trying to look down her dress. Weirdoes.
‘I wanted to say sorry.’ Courtney muttered. Lily raised an eyebrow. ‘Look, I realise I’ve been treating you really badly for the past few months, and I remembered what it was like when we were friends. I really miss that. And – and I just want things to go back to normal.’
‘Normal …’ Lily said, and I knew she really wanted that. ‘Normal like, the five of us, me, you, Lisa, Mary and Ella, we can go back the way things were?’ Courtney nodded. ‘And me and James will still be together and so can you and Sirius?’
‘Well … boys are what started all of this. So “normal” would mean before James and Sirius.’
‘You’re saying I’m the problem here?’ I said, getting angry. She ignored me, staring at Lily.
‘No,’ Lily said finally. ‘Me and James have finally worked … something out and I know for a fact that there is no way in hell that you’ll be able to stay away from boys. You’ve always been like that since first year. Frankly, I don’t think I want a friend like that.’
‘This is it then? No more Courtney and Lily?’ Courtney asked.
‘I don’t want us to still be arguing,’ Lily said sadly. ‘I want us to be friends. No more fighting? Please?’
Courtney shot me a look, then fixed on Lily and sighed. ‘OK. Friends?’
Courtney pulled Lily into a hug, glared at me, then turned and charged through the crowd.
‘I wouldn’t trust her if I were you,’ I warned. Lily looked at me and some sort of sadness filled her eyes.
‘James, she’s been one of my best friends since first year. I’ve hated being enemies with her.’ she told me, sniffling. It wasn’t the sort of ‘I am better than you’ sniff Petunia did. This one was so much more different. I wrapped my arms around her and let her stay there until she was OK to come out.
I heard my mother’s voice, magically amplified, booming around the house:
‘Can everybody please congregate inside the marquee for the ten-second countdown to New Year?’
There was a lot of clamouring, shouting and punching, but finally everyone was crammed inside the marquee and waiting for the magic clock to tick down to zero.
Lily dragged me to the edge of the crowd where there was more breathable air. ‘God, it’s so stuffy. Two hundred sweaty people standing in a cramped space is not good for your health.’
‘Pfft, tell me about it. Oh –’
The clock went down to seven seconds. Six seconds.
The crowd started chanting the numbers. ‘FIVE! FOUR! THREE! TWO–!’
Suddenly, something in the air shifted. I don’t know what it was. Maybe the breeze just got colder. Maybe it was just me. But whatever it was, I could feel it.
I rugby tackled Lily out of the way and we hit the ground as the clock hit zero and the marquee exploded.
AN: Hello! It’s been a while since I updated, and this chapter’s quite long, so thanks for reading this to the end! So … New Year’s Party … James’s POV … MASSIVE HUGE MEGA EXPLOSION … what did you think? The next few chapters will be in different POVs, so I hope you like them all. Let me know in a review and hopefully the next chapter will be up soon-ish :)
Beauutiful chapter image by easterlies @tda
As told by Sirius Orion Black
Silence. That’s all I heard. That’s all that followed after the explosion. I opened my eyes to find myself lying on the grass, shielding Courtney with my body. Blazing debris was lying everywhere, the air was thick with sulphuric gases and black smoke hung low to the ground.
Courtney moaned. I slowly got off her and shook her shoulder gently.
‘Sirius?’ she whispered. Her eyes fluttered open and she suddenly sat up, staring around in horror. ‘W–what happened?’
I looked around the garden. Nobody else seemed to be conscious. There were people moving around about twenty meters away, wearing long black cloaks and … masks.
I grabbed Courtney and dragged her behind a table on its side. She looked at me questioningly, but I pressed a finger to my lips and gestured in the direction of the people in masks.
Together, we peeked over the edge of the table. Courtney squeaked and we ducked back behind the table. One of them was five meters away, but luckily he wasn’t looking our way.
‘Death Eaters?’ Courtney mouthed. I nodded nervously. She gripped my hand so tightly I thought it might fall off.
‘J – James?’ said a voice. ‘James, what happened?’
Shit. It was Lily. She clearly hadn’t seen the Death Eaters.
I crawled round the table and peered out. Lily and James weren’t too far away. Lily was up on one elbow, trying to wake up James, who suddenly started coughing loudly like he had something caught in his chest. If they hadn’t heard Lily, they definitely heard James.
‘Oi!’ one of the Death Eaters growled, running over to them.
‘Who are you?’ Lily asked in a meek voice.
‘None of your business. Who the fuck are you?’
‘Why do you want to know?’ James demanded. He coughed some more and a black, sooty powder escaped from his mouth.
‘Enough of that, you bastards.’ The Death Eater kicked at James, who groaned and doubled over on the floor. Lily screamed and rolled him over.
‘Stop it!’ she yelled at the Death Eater as he kicked at James again with his metal-studded boot. ‘Stop it, you monster!’ She jumped to her feet and started punching out at the Death Eater, who was taking her blows like she was a three-year-old.
He laughed, pulling out his wand. Lily didn’t see him aim it under her flailing arms at her ribs. He prodded her and she tried to move away, but he muttered a curse and she flew backwards, landing hard on the ground, knocking her head against a tree.
‘Lily!’ Courtney screamed out, but then covered her mouth with her hands, looking horrified. Two huge Death Eaters came running round. One grabbed me by my arm.
‘Get off me, you bastard,’ I growled, yanking my arm out of his grip. The other one lifted Courtney over his shoulder like a potato sack. ‘Put her down!’ I ordered. He laughed at me and growled.
I reached into my pocket for my wand and pulled it out, aiming it between his eyes. ‘If you don’t put her down, I swear I will kill you.’
The Death Eater hesitated and suddenly had a wand in his hand, but I was prepared.
‘Expelliarmus!’ I yelled, and his wand flew into my hand. I kept mine carefully trained near his eyebrows, while I pointed his wand at the other Death Eater, who was advancing on me. ‘Don’t get any nearer!’ I warned him. Then, turning back to the other one, I repeated, ‘Put. Her. Down.’
Slowly, the Death Eater dropped Courtney on the floor, where she crumpled on the grass for a moment, but jumped to her feet in an instant, whipping her wand out from her purse. Her eyes met mine and we took off in a run towards James and Lily.
I knelt next to James, while Courtney dropped to her knees next to the tree.
James was still groaning, and I became aware that the Death Eaters were creeping towards Courtney, who had her back to them. I pointed my wand at them and screamed,
‘Stupefy!’ They both flew past the tree and landed in a heap thirty meters away. Courtney looked round in surprise, but I gestured to the unconscious bodies of the two Death Eaters lying in the grass.
I gently tried to rouse James, but when that didn’t work, I picked up my wand and whispered, ‘Rennervate.’ He opened his eyes sleepily.
‘What happened?’ he asked. ‘Whoa. What’s – why – where’s Lily?’
I swallowed. ‘Courtney’s over there with her. There were these Death Eaters …’
‘I remember. They were kicking me, and then I passed out, didn’t I?’ James said, trying to get up. A deep, painful noise came from inside his chest and he coughed again. The sooty powder came out of his mouth in a cloud again, and he had to lie back down.
‘Sirius!’ Courtney called.
‘I’ll be back. One second.’ I told James as I got to my feet, being sure to pick up the wands, and jogged over to Lily and Courtney.
Courtney’s hands were covered with the blood that was coming from the back of Lily’s head and a huge gash on her arm.
Lily was moaning slightly and her eyes shot open. She tried to sit up straight, but she screamed in pain and leaned back against the tree, clutching at her head.
‘Lily, please, be quiet,’ Courtney whispered. ‘Please, don’t –’
‘My head,’ she groaned, ‘my arm …’
‘I think I can fix your arm –’ Courtney said, placing the tip of her wand on Lily’s arm near the wound. She muttered a spell and the skin wove back together, closing over the cut leaving a thin pink scar. Tiny stitches appeared and sewed themselves over what remained of the cut.
Lily ran a finger up the stitching. ‘Thank you,’ she breathed, but her eyes were out-of-focus like she wasn’t seeing properly. Sticky blood was still steadily flowing from her head and she was getting paler by the second.
‘Can you do anything for her head?’ Courtney asked me. ‘I can’t do anything without messing it up more.’
I shook my head. But I knew who could. ‘Remus!’ I yelled. I stumbled to my feet and staggered across the garden, searching for any sign of him.
Then suddenly there he was, lying on the grass with open cuts on his body and black marks on his face and hands.
‘Remus!’ I called, shaking him. ‘Rennervate!’ I said, and he woke up.
‘Death Eaters?’ he said straight away.
‘Yes. I need your help. You’re good with head wounds, aren’t you?’ I said hastily.
‘Um … I guess … why?’
‘Lily needs your help!’
Quick as a flash, Remus scrambled to his feet and shot off in the direction of Lily with me close behind.
Remus had Lily propped up against the tree, leaning forwards slightly so he could look at the wound. While he worked, I crawled back over to James.
‘What’s going on?’ he croaked, thumping his chest.
‘Remus is helping Lily. She … um … well, she had a bit of a head injury.’
‘What? Where is she?’
‘Just over there. James, I really don’t think you should –’
But he’d already steadied himself and was blundering towards Lily. He dropped down next to her and started brushing her hair out of her face, kissing her cheeks and her lips.
About ten minutes later, Remus knelt back on his haunches. His hands, like Courtney’s were covered in blood, but he didn’t look fazed. He picked up his wand, waved it over his hands and the blood melted away. He did the same for Courtney and I went over to them.
Lily was looking less pale, but the tree trunk behind her had gone red, and there was a lot of it.
Remus conjoured a glass of water. Holding up the back of Lily’s head, he slowly let her drink it until a little bit of colour slowly etched into her face again.
All of a sudden, I heard growling and we were blasted backwards from the tree. Lily laughed drunkenly, as if she didn’t quite know what was going on.
Feeling dazed, I looked over at Lily. My vision had gone blurry and black specks had appeared from nowhere. After blinking, I started seeing clearly again and looked round. Courtney was lying face-down on the grass, but she was starting to get up. Remus was nowhere in sight, but James was already on his feet and sprinting towards Lily, yelling her name. I tried to stand up, but my leg suddenly shook madly as I put pressure on it.
I hobbled over to Lily, where James was trying to get her up.
I put a hand under her armpit and she giggled loudly. I realised that a red trickle was slowly starting to drip down from the wound in her head.
‘Someone undid Remus’s healing,’ I said to James.
A huge dark shape jumped out from behind the tree and knocked me in the chest, causing me to fall down hard, feeling winded and hitting my head on the ground. James was suddenly lying on the floor, his eyes open, not breathing.
Lily started to scream. I lifted my head, too weak to get up. The shape … it was another Death Eater.
‘Let’s go!’ he called out gruffly to the others. As more Death Eaters moved out of the shadows, kicking James aside, I briefly saw one grab Lily’s arm. I reached out, determined to stop her, but a huge, metal-studded boot stepped down on my hand, opening gashes.
I cried out in pain, but through the thick mass of Death Eaters, I could still see Lily. She was squirming as the Death Eater tightened his grip around her upper arm.
‘Stop it,’ she mumbled, but they took no notice. The Death Eater sent a fist into her stomach and she doubled over, groaning. Then, all at once, they all turned on the spot, disappearing into the night.
And they’d taken Lily with them.
There was nothing we could do. James grabbed at the air where they’d been, he Apparated away but came back five seconds later. He sank onto the grass, pressed his hands into his forehead and started to cry.
I’d never seen him cry before, and it was kind of a shock. I knelt next to him and put an arm around his shoulders.
‘It’s OK, James. We’ll get her back. We will.’
‘But she’s gone,’ James sobbed. ‘She’s gone.’
Remus scrambled up from nowhere. His face was covered in dirt and he was bleeding in several places, but he didn’t seem to notice.
‘James, we can get Dumbledore and the Aurors involved. If the Death Eaters have kidnapped someone, they have to. And we’ll make sure they don’t stop looking.’
People started to stir. They sat up, staring around in horror. Mr and Mrs Potter were suddenly there, with their arms around their son.
‘Where’s Lily?’ Mr Potter asked.
‘G-gone,’ James choked. ‘They t-took her.’
‘Mother! Father!’ A sorrowful shriek echoed across to us and we all looked round. Lily’s sister Petunia was kneeling beside two people on the grass. We rushed across to them and James crouched by them.
Mr and Mrs Evans were ghostly white. Some sort of sooty liquid was dribbling down Mrs Evans’s chin and Mr Potter had a nasty burn mark on his face.
‘Do something!’ Petunia shrieked at us. ‘Anything! D-don’t let them leave m-me.’ She broke down in tears and sobbed over her father’s body.
We looked at Remus, who was the most skilled in healing, but he looked anxious, like there was nothing he could do. Then we turned to Mr and Mrs Potter, who both shook their heads.
‘But you’re wizards!’ she cried. ‘Surely you can –’
‘It’s not that simple,’ said Mrs Potter. ‘We have to get Dumbledore.’
‘You can’t leave them like this!’ Petunia screamed. Mr Potter turned away from her and took his wand out from his robes. He cast a Patronus – a large cat like a tiger – and spoke to it.
‘Tell Albus Dumbledore this: You need to come to Godric’s Hollow, to the Potters’. There’s been a Death Eater raid and there are casualties and … and possibly some deaths. Lily Evans has also been taken hostage.’ The Patronus glowed a little brighter and sped off into the night.
‘L-Lily’s a hostage?’ Petunia whispered, gasping and holding her face in her hands. ‘She can’t be! She’s the only sister I’ve g-got.’ She started to sob again, and after two seconds of awkward silence, Courtney bent down and put an arm over her shoulders.
‘Where’s Mary? And Ella and Lisa? We have to find them, and make sure they’re okay.’ Courtney said sharply. I could tell she was worried. Remus and I got to our feet. James was kneeling by Mr and Mrs Evans, sobbing quietly and Petunia was holding onto Courtney, bawling her eyes out.
We moved among the people, occasionally stopping to help, or check if they were still breathing.
Mary, Lisa and Ella were crouched together by an over-turned table.
‘R-Remus?’ Mary whispered. Remus knelt in front of her and wrapped her in his arms. ‘What happened?’
‘It was the Death Eaters,’ Remus said. ‘They’ve – they’ve taken Lily hostage.’
The three of them gasped.
‘What?’ Ella hissed. ‘No, they can’t have. Maybe you’ve just – she can’t be gone. You’re lying!’
‘We saw it,’ I said. ‘We’re going to get Dumbledore involved, and the Aurors, and we’ll find her.’
Lisa was rocking backwards and forwards, her eyes brimming with tears, her face streaked with grime and dirt.
‘Come on,’ Remus said, standing up and taking Mary’s hand. ‘We, um, Mr and Mrs Potter want to check you’re OK.’
Mary and Ella stood up. Mary clutched Remus’s hand so tight it went purple and Ella was shaking her head. Lisa didn’t move. Ella knelt down and carefully lifted her up by her elbows.
We walked in a silence that was only broken by the cries of people waking up and sobbing.
‘Mary! Lisa! Ella!’ Courtney called. Petunia had gone back to clutching at her parents and begging them to wake up. Even though she was a stuck-up snob, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.
‘Is it true?’ Ella demanded. ‘Is – is Lily gone?’
Courtney lowered her head.
James sniffled again and Remus put an arm around him.
Suddenly, a group of people appeared over the hill. There must have been about twenty of them, and they started walking down the hill towards us. Remus, Mary, Ella and I drew our wands and pointed them at the oncoming group. As soon as they got close, the one at the front said,
‘Do not worry, it’s only us.’
I recognised the voice – it was Dumbledore. Remus lowered his wand and breathed a sigh of relief. ‘Professor, you have to help us. They took Lily and her parents, they –’
Dumbledore silenced him by raising a hand. One of the Aurors rushed forwards and knelt down by Mr and Mrs Evans. Petunia was still clutching at Courtney and James got to his feet, quickly wiping away his tears.
‘We have to get her back,’ he said firmly. His eyes were red, but he was holding his wand tightly and he looked ready for a fight. ‘That has to be our first priority.’
‘James, I know you’ll want to get Lily back, but we have to investigate why –’
‘I don’t care why they came!’ James yelled. ‘I just – I just want her back.’
‘It’s going to take time,’ said a deep voice from behind Dumbledore. A tall black wizard with a ring in his ear and black hair stepped forwards. He looked about ten, fifteen years older than us. ‘For one, we don’t know where they’ve been hiding all this time. Most likely they’ve been moving around. We also need to find out why they took the girl and how they found out about the party.’
‘Kingsley’s right,’ Dumbledore said. He put a hand on James’s shoulder. ‘I promise you, when we find her, you’ll be the first to know.’
Someone came running up to us. It was Peter. He was covered in dirt and soot and he had a blood smear on his hand.
‘What happened?’ he gasped. His small eyes were wide with fear and his hair was a mess. He had his wand out and he looked exhausted, but he didn’t seem concerned. I frowned at him. We’d searched for him before and we couldn’t find him. I’d been worried out of my mind about him, but now that he was here, I didn’t feel relief or anything. It was weird.
‘Peter, they’ve taken Lily,’ Ella said.
‘Where the hell have you been?’ James demanded. He stood close to Peter, towering over him. ‘Where were you when Lily was being taken? Huh? We needed you, and you weren’t there!’
‘I – I’m sorry!’ Peter squeaked. ‘I just woke up and everything was like this – I heard shouting but I couldn’t walk – my leg –’
‘Your leg looks fine to me!’ James growled. ‘If we’d had one more person, just one, Lily might still be here!’
Peter looked on the verge of tears, but I almost didn’t feel sorry for him. James had a point. If he hadn’t been able to stand up before, how could he have run up to us? True, he could’ve healed it, but Peter had never been too good with healing spells.
James prodded him in the chest with his wand. ‘Lily’s been taken by Death Eaters. We’re going to get her back. Not that you’d care, Wormtail.’
Peter squeaked again, his eyes full of terror. He’d always been a bit frightened of James. ‘Of – of course I care! She’s my friend too!’
‘THEN WHERE WERE YOU?’ James bellowed.
‘Stop it!’ Lisa said angrily. She hadn’t spoken until now. ‘Stop!’ James lowered his wand and stepped away from Peter, glowering at him. He turned to Dumbledore and Kingsley.
‘What’s our first move?’
‘Dispatch these guys around the area,’ Kingsley said, ‘find something – anything – that could lead to their location and try to find out how they found out about this party in the first place. Also why they wanted to crash it.’
The Aurors nodded and left swiftly, searching the garden. The big Auror, Kingsley, leaned closer to Dumbledore and said quietly,
‘Albus, you don’t think they could have found out about –’
Dumbledore raised his hand. ‘It is possible, though we mustn’t jump to conclusions.’
‘What do you mean?’ Courtney asked. ‘Who could have found out about what?’
‘This isn’t the time,’ Dumbledore said. ‘You must tell me exactly what happened.’
James turned to me, and I could see in his face that he couldn’t explain it all again, so I stepped forwards.
‘Mr and Mrs Potter had a countdown to the end of the year, so everyone gathered in the marquee to count down to zero. And – and when the clock reached zero, the marquee exploded. I don’t know where the explosion came from, if it was a bomb or if they were hiding nearby and, I don’t know, waited for zero. But – but the marquee exploded and I don’t remember what happened after that until I woke up and everyone was unconscious. The Death Eaters were prowling around; I think they were checking to see who was awake. I don’t think Lily noticed them, because she started calling for James. I could see he was in a bad way, but one of the Death Eaters went over and started yelling, and there was this big fight and Lily – she – she hit her head against a tree. Remus tried to heal the wound, but the Death Eaters grabbed her when we were distracted and they Apparated away with her.’
‘Did any of you see anything suspicious beforehand? Anything … out of place?’
‘No,’ I said. ‘Everything seemed normal.’
‘Wait,’ said Mary, furrowing her brow. ‘I think – I think I saw something.’
‘What was it?’ Dumbledore asked.
‘W-well, I didn’t think much of it, but when we arrived, I was upstairs and I looked out of the window and there was someone sneaking around.’ Mary muttered, glancing at James as if she was afraid he’d blow up or something.
‘WHAT?’ James said loudly. ‘And you didn’t say anything?’
‘N-no,’ Mary stammered, ‘I just – I – I mean, I didn’t –’
‘If you’d said something, we might not be in this mess! This could all be your fault, Mary!’
‘Hey!’ Ella snapped, stepping between Mary and James and shoving the latter hard in the chest. ‘Who do you think you are? It’s not her fault, so stop taking your anger out on her!’
James looked like he wanted to yell back, but he just lowered his head. ‘You’re right. I’m sorry.’ Mary looked kind of shocked and scared, but she nodded a little.
‘You’re worried about Lily. I get it. We’re all worried about her, and we will find her.’ Mary said firmly. ‘And right now, we can’t afford to accuse each other.’ She glared at James for a moment before turning to Dumbledore. ‘What can we do?’
‘For the moment … nothing.’ Dumbledore said sadly. ‘Not until we figure out the facts.’
‘Well, what else do you need?’ Ella asked, sounding annoyed. ‘We know Lily’s been taken, we know it was the Death Eaters – isn’t there some sort of trail you can follow?’
Dumbledore looked at the sky thoughtfully. ‘Perhaps there is. But we have to search this area first. We have to make sure there isn’t anyone still lurking. And – and we have to make sure everyone is alright.’
The Auror that was checking up on Mr and Mrs Evans hadn’t said a word. He was performing all sorts of spells, pulling bottles of dittany and ointment out of his bag and getting more and more frantic, but he wasn’t stopping. Petunia was watching anxiously while tears streamed down her cheeks.
‘I’m going to help them search,’ James said. He glanced at Dumbledore for a moment, but he didn’t say anything, so James turned on his heel and marched off.
‘Maybe we should help too,’ Courtney said, nibbling at her bottom lip. She looked at Mary and Ella, who both nodded anxiously. She then turned to Lisa, who was standing there, her face chalky white. ‘Lisa? You up for it?’
Lisa nodded and took a shaky breath. ‘I – I think I’m OK now.’ The four of them took off in the opposite direction the Aurors went.
‘What’s wrong with Lisa?’ I asked. ‘Why is she so shaken?’
‘I’m not sure,’ Dumbledore replied, furrowing his brow. ‘I think we’ll have to ask her some questions. But for now, we must help with the search.’
Hours later, the sun was starting to rise, casting a gold glow over the garden and the wreckage. Nearly everyone was conscious now, except for a few people, who the Aurors were trying to revive. And there was still nothing we could use to track the Death Eaters. By the time we regrouped, James was looking exhausted, and even paler than he had before. He sank onto the grass and pressed his hands to his face.
Petunia had helped us with the search after the Auror trying to heal her parents decided they needed to get to St Mungo’s. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying and her boyfriend Vernon was trying to tell her that ‘coming to this blasted party wasn’t a good idea!’
A red-haired man, who looked like he was in his late twenties, came jogging up to us. He didn’t look like an Auror, but he looked familiar.
‘Albus,’ he said, ‘have you found anything?’
‘Not yet, Arthur. But we are keeping our fingers crossed.’ Dumbledore replied. His half-moon glasses were halfway down his nose, which made me think he was silently judging everyone as if trying to see if we had anything to hide.
‘You’re Arthur Weasley, aren’t you?’ James asked. ‘My parents know you.’
Arthur Weasley nodded. ‘You might have met my wife, Molly. But what happened to that young lady I saw you with before the –’
‘She was taken by the Death Eaters,’ I said quickly. ‘We need to try and get her back.’
‘Ah,’ Arthur said. ‘Of course we’ll get her back. Don’t worry, James.’
James took a deep breath and nodded. ‘I know. I trust these guys. They seem to know what they’re doing.’
‘We’re in good hands, James,’ Arthur assured him. ‘Albus, have you told them about –’
‘Not yet. It’s not the right time yet.’ Dumbledore said firmly. Arthur nodded and glanced at us once more before turning on his heel and walking away.
‘What is he talking about?’ Lisa asked quietly. Dumbledore shook his head.
‘All in good time.’
It was frustrating that he wouldn’t give us any straight answers. James was distraught and he still wouldn’t tell us everything.
‘Sir,’ I said, stepping forwards, ‘no offence or anything, but if we’re going to help you with the search, I don’t think you should be keeping things from us.’
Courtney shot me a look, as if to say Are you mad? but I ignored her and stared at Dumbledore, frowning.
‘Mr Black,’ he said, sighing, ‘all of you – you are all far too young to be carrying something like this –’ He gestured around the garden ‘– on your shoulders, and I do not want you to have something else to worry about.’
‘Worry about?’ Ella asked. ‘What do you mean?’
‘I mean that the truth – the reason for the explosion and the ambush – is far too terrifying for a group of teenagers to think about. Please – for now – just let us deal with this. I promise you can help us get Miss Evans back and after that … we’ll see.’
Hellooo! I'm really sorry it's taken this long to update and it's kind of an awful chapter, but I hope you guys like it! While I was writing this, I've decided it would be best for me, and you, if I stuck to just one story at a time to try and speed it up and try and update most (if not all) as quickly as possible. So I decided that I'll be focusing on my other WIP Peanut Butter Geli Time, as that one seems more popular at the moment. I promise I'll keep writing this one and I'll probably update it once in a while, but while you guys are waiting for the next chapter, how about you go check out PBGT? Soo ... I'll see you in the next chapter! xo