After that night, Lily and James didn’t look at each other the same way again. The love they shared that evening brought them closer together than ever before. Each of them could spend hours at a time just looking in each others eyes, knowing what the other was feeling. They had become connected in a way no other could understand.
The days after Christmas were lazily spent. Remus and Jade seemed to be taking more and more walks as the vacation grew shorter. As for Sirius and Gwen, they were eagerly trying to make up for the lost time and could be seen doing everything together. Everyone was savoring the moment until they had to start classes again.
It was a Monday morning and the students were coming back to the castle on the Hogwarts Express. After a quick breakfast, the three Marauders, Lily, Gwen, and Jade had to pick up the common room, which was a mess from the holidays. They were sad to see all of the mattresses go for they spent many a night there, talking by the fire and other things.
At ten minutes ‘til eleven, the six of them walked down the staircases and to the Entrance Hall to greet Peter. Within a few minutes of their waiting, Remus spotted the small form of the fourth Marauder.
“Wormtail!” Sirius waved, as did James. The girls smiled at him, welcoming him back.
“So, how was—Albania…?” James voice dropped as he took a good look at his friend. The others, too, noticed how thin and pale he looked. Remus was the first to speak up.
“Peter, are you alright?” Remus patted him on the back, reaching to take his schoolbag for him. All that came from his mouth was a squeak-like sound. “What was that, Peter?”
He raised his voice a little, but it was still shaky. “J-Just g-got sick o-on the way h-here.”
Remus, Sirius, and James frowned at each other. “Well, perhaps you should rest up today. We do have classes tomorrow.” James suggested.
“Y-yes… I think—I’ll do that.” Peter took his schoolbag from Remus and made his way up the many stairs, tripping once. The three Marauders looked back at the girls when he was out of sight.
“What’s gotten him?” Sirius asked.
Lily shrugged, reaching for James’ hand. “Maybe he’ll be better in the morning.”
But, the next morning came and Peter did not at all look well. He was still very pale and stuttered over his every word as if nervous for something. In fact, all that week, Peter was acting very strange and wouldn’t join his friends in even the smallest pranks. Sirius, James, and Remus worried for their small companion, but never got the chance to talk with him for he was constantly disappearing. To where, no one knew.
Time passed quickly at Hogwarts. Christmas seemed like ages ago, though there was still snow on the ground. It was the end of January. There was but five months left of that school year; the year the famous Marauder’s were leaving the castle walls and would begin to make it out in the real wizarding world. And for that, they were taking in every moment of pranks, the many feasts, and the nights spent in the warm and cozy common room.
February was right around the corner, and that meant Valentine’s Day. Pleasing the ladies was one of the Marauder’s specialties, exceptions to Peter, of course, though he did always try. Needless to say, it was claimed as “their” holiday.
It was a week before the fourteenth of February when the headmaster announced the upcoming Valentine’s Day Ball. Dumbledore stood before the students as they munched their breakfasts, his blue robes flowing in different shades.
“Some of you may have heard the news, and others may have not,” He began, scanning the Great Hall. “I am most cheerful to inform you that there is to be a Valentine’s Day Ball, here at Hogwarts.” Dumbledore’s eyes sparkled as the students applauded. “Dresses or gowns will be allowed as long as they are appropriate. As for the male population, a decent pair of dress robes is required. Thank you, that is all.”
“Oh, Lily! I’m so excited! A ball on Valentine’s Day! How romantic…” Gwen sighed dreamily as she followed Lily to their first class: Divination.
James, Sirius, Peter and Remus had a double block of History of Magic. It was quite guaranteed that James and Sirius would cause some sort of chaos during their class. Remus, though, wouldn’t take part in any of this “nonsense”, as he would sometimes call it, for he cared much about his grades and his effort put forth in classes. He never did quite understand, though, why James and Sirius always managed to scrape by and still be the teacher’s favorite students. It was quite annoying to think about, but he had quit long ago and gave in to the fact that exceptions were almost always made in James and Sirius’ case. Peter would mostly just snicker at the jokes, hardly paying attention to their professor, unless of course it was Potions or Defense Against the Dark Arts. Those were the only two subjects in which he excelled at and was pleased to say so.
Lily and Gwen were both about to collapse from climbing all of the stairs when they finally reached the top of the North Tower. With much effort, they took on the silver ladder that had slipped down from the trapdoor and stood inside the stuffy, heavily perfumed room.
Gwen found them a small, round table off in the far right-hand corner. With much relief, Lily chucked her schoolbag and books on the magenta rug and plopped herself down on the pouf. Gwen ungracefully did the same and they each took a deep breath, exhaling slowly.
"I think we’re a bit out of shape, Lils.” Gwen managed to sit up, readying herself for the beginning of the class. She reached for her book, entitled Unfogging the Future.
“Yeah, and the temperature of this room doesn’t help at all. Just think, we have to be in here for two hours.” Lily lay back on her pouf, fanning her face with her hand.
Gwen grimaced. “Ugh… Don’t remind me.”
“Good morning…” Said a mystical voice as hand, covered in gaudy jewels, reached out to pull back the violet-colored curtain.
“Good morning, Professor Opaline.” The students greeted her in unison.
Suddenly, the professor closed her eyes and placed two fingers on each temple, rocking back and forth. “My Inner Eye informs me that all is not well. Someone… Someone in this room is surrounded by negative energy… Someone is dreading something…”
There’s only negative energy in here because we’re all really grouchy from the boiling temperature… Lily thought to herself, but she couldn’t help to notice that Gwen was fidgeting in her seat. She sent her friend a questioned look.
“Uh, it’s really uncomfortable in here… You know, the heat.” Gwen folded her hands in her lap to keep herself still. Lily’s eyebrows rose in disbelief, but she let it slide since Professor Opaline was beginning the class.
For the past week, the class was based upon meditation and the journey to discovering the Inner Eye. It is quite a hard thing to do if one lacked any experience in scrying, tea leaves, or palmistry, perhaps. Meditation requires one’s full attention and enough energy to first rid the mind of any drifting thoughts.
Gwen had never truly done anything right in that class. Most of her answers were just made up. She could tell Professor Opaline that in a month’s time, all would perish from the face of the earth and she would still get credit. Lily, on the other hand, did try her best. She found the ancient art quite fascinating, if one could grasp it. Sometimes, though, it was necessary to make up the answers just so she wouldn’t fail terribly.
Lily sat Indian-style on her pouf, either hand resting on the side of her knee with the palms facing up. They had already been in the class for an hour and, still, nothing crossed her mind. Sighing, she opened her eyes slowly, glancing about the room. Gwen had fallen just on the edge of sleep and the other students looked as if they were only pretending to be in a deep trance. Professor Opaline seemed dazed as well and she was mumbling some chant under her breath, her eyes staring unseeing in front of her.
Though her eyes were open, her world went black and her mind fogged up… James was there, but what was he saying? She couldn’t make it out… Now she was running up unfamiliar stairs and down a dark hallway. There was a door slightly ajar, light seeping through the tiny crack. Lily watched as her hand reached out to grab the brass doorknob. Her legs carried her over to a baby’s crib… Her heart was beating fast inside her chest now as she heard someone advancing towards the room. Lily found herself wrapping her arms around a child and her voice began to whisper a soft lullaby. Then, everything skipped forward… She never knew if that someone had made it to where she was, holding the small child… For all she saw was a flash of green light and then she screamed…
“Lily!” Gwen was by her side, tapping her on the side of her face. Lily’s body was shaking as she slowly opened her eyes. “Oh, thank goodness!” Gwen pulled her friend into a tight embrace, as tears filled her eyes.
Lily glanced around the room. It seemed the whole class had formed a circle around where she had collapsed on the floor. Professor Opaline pulled Gwen off of Lily and sat down beside her.
“What did you see?! Tell us! What was it?” The professor grasped at Lily, eager to hear of her vision.
But Lily was still frightened and a bit shocked. All she wanted was to leave this class and hide under her covers. Quickly, she stood up and grabbed her schoolbag, swinging it around her shoulder. Her head felt extremely dizzy, her stomach a bit nauseous, and the heavy smell of perfume didn’t help much either.
She fled from the North Tower, running all the way to the Gryffindor Common Room and up the stairs to her dormitory. Once there, she chucked her things on the floor and jumped up on her four-poster bed, not planning to leave all too soon.
Meanwhile, Gwen had rushed out of the trapdoor and down the silver ladder. The passing bell had just rung only a few minutes after Lily had left. Turning a corner, Gwen slammed right into Sirius. James, Remus and Peter were following behind, discussing something.
“Why, Gwen, love, fancy meeting you here…” Sirius smiled attractively at her, kissing her lightly on the lips. He meant to go further, but could sense a cloud of nervousness surrounding her. He held her at arms lengths, staring down at her with concern. “What is it, Gwen? What’s wrong?”
Gwen bit her lip, glancing down at the floor. “It’s Lily.”
Suddenly, James ears perked up, looking at her with wide eyes. His face had turned a pale white and his lips, a thin line. “Where is she?”
All it took was one small shrug and a shake of Gwen’s head to send James into a frenzy. He had refused to go to his next class and, instead, he went in search for Lily. His friends offered to help, but he had said no because he didn’t want them to miss their lesson. Besides, he had an idea of where she’d be… or where he hoped she’d be…
The halls emptied as students filed into their classes. James decided to check the girl’s bathroom since no one would be wandering the halls. All he could think about was his precious Lily in the colds hands of Lucius Malfoy. He reluctantly recalled the time that Lucius almost stole her innocence. Please… Please let her be okay…
When he discovered that she wasn’t in the bathroom, he ran back up to Gryffindor Tower, nearly falling through the portrait hole.
“Lily?!” James threw his schoolbag on the nearest sofa and jogged to the bottom of the girl’s dormitory stairs. There was no response, so he decided that he’d attempt the stairs.
He knew, of course, that once a boy set foot on them, it turned into a slide, making it impossible to reach the door. So, he was going to play on his strengths. And his strength was obviously Quidditch.
“Accio Broomstick!” James flicked his wand and, within a few seconds, his Comet 180 came zooming. This broom was one of the newest models out there. He just had to make it through that door…
With a loud bang, he had zoomed up the stairs and had kicked open the door. He flew over to the bed with its curtains closed, frightened of what he might see. But, there she lay, unharmed except for the fact that her face was a pale white and her green eyes wide with shock.
“Lily!” James yelled, relieved, and he chucked his broomstick on the floor, sitting down on her bed and pulling her into a deep embrace. “Gwen, she said something happened to you—I thought you—Lily, what happened? You scared the shit out of me.”
Suddenly, she burst into tears, collapsing into James’ arm. “Oh, James. It was awful… I was so scared.”
He pressed his lips against her forehead, running his fingers through her hair. “Tell me, Lily, what is it?”
“I—I was in Divination… Then, I had this—premonition.” She looked up at him.
As he stared back at her, James saw that her eyes were in fact glazed over. Well, it seemed that Lily was looking at him, but when he tried to talk to her, she didn’t budge.
As soon as it had come upon her, Lily’s eyes came back in to focus and she let out a scream. James calmed her down, holding her close and kissing her.
“I saw it again, James—” And she told him everything that she could remember in her vision. James sat there, taking in every detail and comforting her when he felt necessary.
“But, you can’t be too sure, Lily…” He was rubbing her back with his left hand after she had finished.
“I don’t know, James… It felt so real…” Lily sighed, looking over at the clock. She had already missed her second lesson and part way through her third. “James, you should head back to class. I wouldn’t want you to miss anything because of me.”
James glanced at her as if she was crazy. “I’m not leaving you, Lily. Not for one second.” She gave him a small smile before he pulled her into a tight embrace. “How about we just hang around here until lunch? Then, if you feel any better we’ll go off to the rest of our classes.”
Lily nodded her head, kissing him gently on the cheek. “Thank you, James. You’ve been so wonderful to me.”
James grinned, ruffling his jet black hair with his right hand. “Well, what can I say? I’m—” But, he was cut short for Lily had pounced on him.
“Oh James, you’re so cocky. Can’t you ever have a conversation with someone without mentioning how great you are?”
“Oh, you think I’m great do you? Well—” Lily placed her lips on his just to shut him up.
“I think it’s time we teach you some manner on how to be a gentleman.” She said when they at last separated.
James propped himself up on his elbow. Staring down at her, a look of confusion on his face, he asked, “We?”
“Er, who’s the other?” James questioned her again, running his fingers through her long, red hair.
Lily smiled up at him. “Why, the one and only Remus Lupin, of course.”
A/N: Sorry it took so long! But, I hope it was worth the wait! Please, take the time to review! I'd love to hear from you!