Chapter 7 : Behind The Mask
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Thursday night came quickly and James sat at a table in the library. Tutoring Lily had been about the only good thing in his life, besides his entire mask charade, and he always enjoyed it. He felt that the two of them were relating on a closer level now.
For some odd reason he felt as though someone was staring at him. He quickly snapped his head behind him, to see if maybe Lily was looking for him, but only saw shadowed bookcases. He shrugged and continued doodling on a scrap piece of parchment.
Lily rushed in, flushed, and disordered. She set her books on the table and sat down, catching her breath.
“Sorry,” she told him. “I almost forgot about our session tonight. I guess my mind was just wandering elsewhere..”
“It happens,” James said understandably, although inside he was feeling a bit differently.
Hm, I guess she hasn’t forgotten about the mask, he thought to himself. I really hoped she would have. It would have made this so much easier.
He turned his head quickly again as the feeling that someone was watching him still lingered. Yet, no one was there. He sadly turned back to Lily and tried teaching her the basic principles of human transfiguration.
Later that night, after Lily had long since returned from her tutoring session with James, she sat upon her bed, listening to Alice chat merrily with Sydney about the fluttery feeling she got whenever she saw Frank.
Lily smiled a bit as she remembered the accomplished and proud look on James’ face as she had successfully changed her eyebrow to yellow and then back to it’s original auburn color.
A tap at her window made her forget. She opened it and revealed an owl. She smiled as she untied the letter from the owl’s leg. Sydney watched on disapprovingly.
I’m sorry I haven’t been in touch. Don’t you think for a moment that I’d forgotten about you. You’re far too unforgettable. Meet me by the lake tonight in five minutes time. Be sure to bring a sweater.
She rushed off of her bed, grabbed a jacket and nearly sprinted down the stairs.
“What was that about?” Alice inquired, brushing her blonde hair.
“It was love, Alice,” Sydney explained quietly. “She’s in love with a stranger.”
Severus Snape slipped out of the castle quietly, James Potter walking hurriedly in front of him. He saw that Potter was fumbling with something in his pocket and wondered why on Earth they were out on the grounds at this time of night.
Snape found a comfortable bush and hid behind it stealthily. He watched as James ruffled his hair as the wind shifted through it. The nights were cold, but Potter was only wearing a sweatshirt.
The answer to his previous question was soon answered. James took a red mask from his pocket and slipped it on his face. Snape watched in curiosity and then, hearing movement from the castle entrance, shifted his gaze.
Lily Evans was walking down the castle steps merrily, smiling at Potter. Snape couldn’t believe his eyes. Evans and Potter were seeing each other? Hell had indeed frozen over.
He was about to leave Evans and Potter to their kinky games involving a red mask when he heard Lily say, “Why don’t you just tell me who you are?”
Snape, pleased with this acquired information, grinned and slipped out of the bush and back into the castle. Lucius Malfoy would indeed love to hear this information.
“A red mask, you say?” Malfoy inquired, his sleek blonde hair reflecting off the moonlight peering through the window. “That’s interesting.”
He darted a look over at Narcissa, who was sitting on the couch with her arms folded and her lips pursed, and said to her, “Narcissa, leave. I need a word with Severus.”
Reluctantly, Narcissa Black got up and walked up the steps leading to her dorm room.
“Severus,” Lucius addressed calmly. “We must use this.”
“I felt the same way,” Snape agreed. “I feel that torture could be in the works.”
“Yes, yes,” Malfoy pondered. “Yet, I asked Narcissa to leave because I have a confession. While I was at that masquerade, I came upon a girl at the punch bowl. Well, let’s just say I overdid myself and someone tore me off of her. This someone must have been James Potter. The nasty brute, he is. I imagine Evans was the girl I was dancing with.”
He made a face of sheer disgust at the thought of dancing with a mudblood.
“That would explain a lot,” Snape reasoned. “Potter would do anything to protect Evans.”
“Anything?” Lucius quipped, a warped smile appearing on his already twisted face.
James sat upon the hard Earth, the cold night breeze sending chills up his spine. Yet, he couldn’t find the inspiration to move. Lily Evans had her head in his lap and he was stroking her soft, red curls.
He leaned down and kissed her forehead. His hand brushed by her ear and he realized they were freezing. He frowned and tried lifting her head off of him. She only shifted slightly and snuggled her arm around his.
“Do we have to leave?” she asked quietly.
He wished the answer were no, but sadly, that was not true. He wished they could stay like that forever, but he knew she would get sick if they did.
“Yes,” he replied. “We do.”
“Will I ever see you again?” she questioned, looking up at him.
“Of course,” he assured her. “This Saturday night, at midnight, meet me by the lake. I’ll be here waiting for you.”
She smiled and tried to get up. Yet, she only fell back into his lap and closed her eyes. She was asleep within minutes.
He sighed and lifted her into his arms. He walked her back into the castle like that. He entered the common room where Sydney Davis was sitting on the couch, obviously waiting for both him and Lily.
“Did you tell her?” she asked. He shook his head. “Good going, James. Why don’t I just tell her?”
“Lower your voice,” he advised. “Here, let me put her on the couch.”
“Fine,” Sydney said, frustrated. “You have to tell her sometime though.”
He nodded, took off his mask and sighed. “Syd, I’m trying, I really am. You have no idea how hard it is though. I think I love her.”
“James, I’ve always known that,” Sydney informed him. “Always. I just don’t understand why you’d hide behind some mask like that. Are you a Gryffindor or not?”
He nodded. “I’m telling her this Saturday.”
“Don’t disappoint me, Potter,” Sydney warned as she made her way up the stairs.
Saturday approached much more quickly than James had hoped for. He was regretting that night, his heart agonizing at the thought of Lily despising him. He didn’t know if he could take it.
He passed her in the hall that morning as he made his way to the Great Hall for breakfast. She seemed positively upbeat. He felt ashamed for having to bring her down so much when she was so happy.
He walked into the hall, trying not to look at her at all. It would only make things harder.
“I’m going with you tonight, Severus,” Lucius Malfoy informed Snape that morning. “I’ve assigned Longbottom to Avery, so that’s all taken care of.”
“May I ask why? Do you feel I am, perhaps, incapable of capturing my own assignment?” Snape asked coldly.
“Not at all, Snape,” Malfoy insisted. “I just want to get my revenge on Potter and his poor little mudblood.”
Snape grinned. That didn’t sound at all bad to him.
“Sirius, do you have to go?” Sydney asked as he got up from the windowsill in the astronomy tower.
“Sadly,” Sirius explained. “I got a note from James this afternoon about meeting him at midnight.”
Sydney looked at him, suspicions forming. “Where?”
“Charms corridor,” Sirius told her. “Got to go, love.”
He kissed her on the cheek and left the tower.
I thought James was telling Lily tonight, she thought.
For a couple moments, she sat there thinking of the entire confusing scenario. She looked down out of the window and onto the grounds. Sure enough, she saw James pacing by the water. She got up and rushed out the door, hoping that Sirius, James, and Lily weren’t in trouble.
As Lily walked cheerfully down the stone steps of the castle and onto the grounds, she smiled contently, the smell of her jasmine perfume filling the air. She saw him standing by the lake and she rushed up to him, kissing him swiftly.
He didn’t look as happy as she did, for some reason. She stood carefully, observing his facial expression.
“Listen Lily,” he started off.
“No,” Lily interrupted. “Don’t say it. You don’t want to see me again?”
“That’s not it,” he insisted. “I just was going to tell you something..”
His hand slowly crept up to his mask and he was about to pull it off when a laugh came from behind Lily. He looked and saw Lucius Malfoy and Severus Snape, their wands out and sinister looks of glee on their faces.
“Isn’t this romantic?” Malfoy taunted, noticing the fact that they didn’t have their wands. “Two lovebirds taking a stroll by the lake.”
“What do you want?” James spoke up nervously. He eyed Lily and remembered that he still had his mask on.
“Join us,” Malfoy offered quietly. “Join us tonight. Become one with us.”
Lily looked from her mystery date to Malfoy and Snape.
“What is going on? Someone explain it to me,” Lily demanded. “Now!”
“You want to know what’s going on my mudblood princess?” Malfoy asked. “You really want to know? The truth may kill you.”
Malfoy grabbed her fast, his arm around her neck, and faced her towards James, who had been prevented from stopping Malfoy.
With a flick, Snape revealed the man behind the mask to Lily Evans, once and for all.
“That’s right, mudblood,” Malfoy whispered into her ear. “That’s James Potter for you.”
A/N: Sorry for the cliffhanger. Please review.
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