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Chapter 42 : Chapter Forty Two
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After several minutes of debating whether or not I should go and get those rubber bands in my bedside cabinet or rather, scissors or something sharp, I decided to go to sleep and rest…so I wouldn’t have to think. I slept with no avail however, because I did not gain relaxation. I dreamed of my grandmother, who had turned her back on me as she went to join her children on the swing set…
“What is it?” I suddenly awoke, feeling my surroundings with my blinded hands. It was rather dark, but not too late due to the fact that the sky outside was still navy blue. I saw that my curtains were open when I could’ve sworn that I had drawn them around me to shut out the world before falling asleep. I squinted in the dark, looking around me, when I heard the floorboard creak. I froze. Someone was in here…but whom?
Then there was a rustle of robes, I saw someone’s outline about five feet in front of me, near Gaby’s bed, and they were holding their wand towards the door. I heard the lock click. I widened my eyes, although I still couldn’t see right. I gasped; if this person was one of my dorm mates, why would they want to lock the door?
“All right. Now…just listen to me.”
I screamed, but it wasn’t very prolonged. Whoever it was had sprinted towards me, putting their hand over my mouth to silence me. I stopped yelling and narrowed my eyes because I had just recognized his voice and rough hand. Without really thinking about it, I opened my mouth wide and bit hard. He yelped and leapt aside.
“James, what are you doing here?” I hissed in the dark. I reached towards my wand and lighted it near my face, so he could see my angry expression. James, lighting his own wand, let me see his face too, which despite my anger and shock, made my stomach do a little flip. I suddenly realized where we were and raised my eyebrow at him, suddenly suspicious. “How did you get up? Boys aren’t allowed here.”
“I just want to talk to you,” James said, ignoring my questioning. He frowned slightly so that a crease dented between his eyebrows. “You’ve been avoiding me.”
I now knew what he wanted to do with me, and I was very peeved. “Get out.”
Somehow I knew what he was going to say before he said it, “No.”
I glared at him and mustered all my strength to put my most murderous look. It probably wasn’t so threatening because James chuckled, sitting on my bed and leaning against the banister, already feeling at ease even though he was in a dormitory that he wasn’t even allowed in. He then looked at me, taking something out of his pocket. It turned out to be a bag of Sugar Quills, which he had somehow taken from Honeydukes. He raised an eyebrow at me and handed it over.
“Here,” he said. “I got them for you.”
Despite myself, I took the bag reluctantly, although I wouldn’t allow him to see me eat them. I put them aside and didn’t look at the candy, and instead continued to glare at him. James sighed. “Lily, what is this all about?” When I continued to say nothing, he added, “I know you’re mad at me, although I’m not sure why. I can’t exactly perform Legilimency here.”
I smirked. “You can try.”
James, who looked completely serious, said, “All right.” He then scrunched up his face in deep concentration and faced me, moving his hands towards my head. “Let me see in your mind!” he said jubilantly, grinning and opening his eyes at me. I turned my head quickly so he wouldn’t see me smile. “Ah…I see. I guess you aren’t so cold after all.”
“Shut up.” I said, giggling.
“No. I don’t think so,” James said, reaching out towards me. I slapped his hand away and he slumped limply on top of me, his voice muffled and pained. “Lily…c’mon...”
I merely huffed, crossing my arms as James sat up straight again, looking at me. “Can you please tell me why you’re angry?”
“Why should I, Potter?” I asked, sounding childish even to my own ears but not caring. Well, not caring too much, anyway.
James winced at me for referring to him by his last name but stood up anyway. He exhaled loudly, as if he was readying himself to do something. “Because I don’t hide things from you.”
And in a blink of an eye, he had turned into a stag.
I screamed. “What! I—” James transformed quickly and muffled my scream again, hushing me to be quiet. History repeated itself as I bit on his thumb again. He howled in pain and staggered backwards, grimacing.
“Lily, don’t freak out.” James said, putting his hands up defensively as I stared at him in horror. “Look…I’m an Animagus.”
“You!” I hissed, standing up and glaring at him. “You’re that stag I saw that night that everyone thought I was hallucinating!”
I was very furious at the moment, and I could not understand why James chuckled. I glared at him and he cleared his throat, quickly mumbling, “Yeah. That was me.”
“And that’s how you got in here!” I said, pointing an accusing finger at him as if he was a child who had been caught stealing from the cookie jar. Of course…boys weren’t allowed in the dorm, but I doubt the Founders ever thought about animals, now did they? No, probably not. They couldn’t have imagined that one day a boy like James Potter would enter their school.
James nodded, smiling embarrassedly. We were silent for a few moments, until I finally said in an extremely stern voice, “Are you even registered?”
James laughed loudly at this. “You sound like McGonagall.”
“Oh shut up,” I said, although despite myself, I did blush. “This isn’t funny. You made me think I was crazy or something the day I saw you in this room.”
“I’m sorry.” James said, and he looked it too. “It’s that…you were supposedly sick that day and I wanted to see if you were all right…I heard Grace and Henn talking about how you were acting very strange.”
I opened my mouth, and then closed it, contemplating my answer. Finally, I said slowly, “That still doesn’t give you the right.”
“Yeah, I guess.” James said shrugging. He stared at me for a long moment, and then said, “But don’t you see? I told you my biggest secret. Can’t you tell me now why you’re mad at me?”
I ignored the last part. “Are Sirius, Remus, and Peter also Animagi?” I asked suspiciously.
James seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Yes,” he said finally. He winced slightly.
“And why on earth would you want to transform yourselves into animals?”
“For fun.” James said in an extremely offhand voice, looking strangely uncomfortable.
“For fun,” I repeated slowly. I raised my eyebrow at him, not quite believing him. James sighed.
“Well, think about it, Lily! With us, transformed into animals, we can go anywhere we want! We can leave the school without anyone knowing…go to Hogsmeade…”
I sat on my bed, giving him a questioning look. I was suddenly curious. “How did you accomplish this?”
“Well, it took a while.” James said, ruffling his hair and trying to look at least a little bit modest. I raised my eyebrow and he grinned at me, sitting down again. “Okay, then. Now…tell me why you’re furious.” I opened my mouth to retort and he said, “Don’t even bother to deny it. It’s obvious.”
“I wasn’t going to,” I huffed, although I most definitely was. “Fine. I’ll tell you, but it’s really stupid.”
James’s expression didn’t change; he just merely looked at me, wanting me to continue. I exhaled loudly, my face burning. “I was just…slightly—” I paused, thinking of an appropriate word that would hide my true intentions. “—confused…” I paused again; feeling even more humiliated than ever, and avoided his eyes. “…because you didn’t exactly tell me you wanted to break up once the school year is over.” I had rushed at the last part, and I was pretty sure I was sending maximum heat waves from my face. I made a little choking sound and waited, not daring to look at him and wishing I could make myself invisible.
“You want to break up?” His voice sounded faint.
“Well, if you do, I don’t see why not—” I began, but he interrupted me immediately. He sounded angry.
“I don’t understand you! I’ve been so great with you—I’ve been a good boyfriend…” His voice lowered, as if he wasn’t quite sure. “…haven’t I?”
I finally mustered the strength to look at him. “Yes. You are.”
James furrowed his eyebrows. “Then why do you want to break up…?”
“You’re the one who wants to!” I blurted out, suddenly furious. “You’re going to be an Auror! You’re going to live with Sirius! I—I…I understand that you don’t want to be attached.”
“I don’t care! I don’t mind being attached.” He said, moving closer and gripping my arms. He looked very lost and somewhat hurt. “We’ve hardly even started…and you want to end it?”
“James, I don’t want to!” I yelled, feeling my eyes burn with tears. “I really don’t!”
James pulled away, confused. “But you just said…”
“Only because you want to!” I said, feeling the tears coming up. James scowled at me, but he didn’t look angry. No…he more looked like he had no idea what I was talking about. “Don’t you?” I asked uncertainly.
“No.” James said flatly. I stared at him.
“But you were so surprised when we were in the library when I said—”
“Because I didn’t understand why you were talking about the summer!” James interrupted loudly, although he was now grinning and obviously relieved. “Honestly, you are so confusing sometimes.”
I was deeply embarrassed, but relieved at the same time. “So you don’t want to break up?” I asked, sounding extremely hopeful and pathetic, but not caring.
James held my face, giving me a look that I absolutely loved. “No way in hell, Evans.”
I was still feeling uncertain. “Are you sure?”
“Of course. And I really hope that you’re sure too.”
“Of course I am.” I said softly. “I don’t want to break up.”
“I don’t want to break up.” James said, and he said it with such sincerity that I could practically feel my heart break. I couldn’t help but beam and throw my arms around him.
I was never so happy. And Merlin, I never wanted to leave him either.
James stayed until about midnight, when Grace and Gaby came in, looking confused as James grinned and said good night. They raised an eyebrow at me, asking me how he had gotten in, but I merely said that we were all right now and that he didn’t want to break up after all. I left them to guess the rest.
I woke up on Saturday with sunshine on my face and smiled. It was a beautiful day with a clear blue sky and I could see from our window the giant squid rising onto the surface of the lake to get a bit of sun. I changed quickly and brushed my teeth, rushing past Grace with a quick ‘good morning’ and bounded down the stairs to meet James, who was waiting for me on the couch of the common room. I squealed, sounding girly but not caring, and jumped on top of him, kissing him madly and ecstatically while a few second years nearby blushed and moved to a different table.
Since we had done all our homework yesterday, we had the whole day to ourselves like we had planned. We headed down to the lake, but were shortly interrupted by Henn and Sirius, who had unfortunately spotted us on the other side.
“’Morning lovebirds,” Sirius said cheerfully. I tried not to look too disappointed as Henn sat next to me. She was avoiding my gaze and her smile was a bit too wide. I scowled at her.
“Good morning.” I said loudly, so that Henn had to look at me. She nodded her head, and then replied to something Sirius had just said, completely ignoring me again.
“Been awake long?” Sirius asked me, grinning. “Prongs here has been up for a while waiting for you. How early was it, Prongs? Hm…six o’ clock?”
“Shut up.” James muttered, shoving him slightly. He blushed.
“Well, he knows I wake up early.” I said, beaming. “But not that early, James.”
“Oh, really?” Henn said irritably. “Hm…did you see that article in the Daily Prophet? About You-Know-Who?”
I glared at her. She was purposefully changing the subject to a dreadful one. “No.” I said coldly. “I can’t say I have.”
Either because James could see my burning face as a warning sign or that he wanted us to be alone, he suddenly held my hand and gave Sirius a pointed look. “Erm…right. Listen, we’re going off to—”
“Eat breakfast.” I said quickly, just as James said, “To study.” We looked at each other and gave embarrassed smiles, which made Sirius give a bark of laughter and Henn look like she just swallowed something rather nasty.
“Oh, okay. I get you.” Sirius said, winking. “C’mon, Henn. Let’s leave these two alone.”
They brushed the grass off their clothes and strode away from us, snorting. I was still glaring intensely at the back of Henn’s head, as if I could burn a hole right through it.
“What is wrong with her?” I spat as soon as she was out of earshot.
“Yes, I know what you mean.” James said, ruffling his hair uncertainly as he glanced back at Henn and Sirius. “She looked like she was about to kill me.”
“And me.” I snapped, crossing my arms and huffing. “Honestly, why does she have to be such a git?”
James smiled slightly at my language. I raised my eyebrow. “I was just remembering old times,” he said reminiscently. When I gave him a confused look, he said, “When you called me names all the time.”
“When I used to call you a git?” I said, although I laughed a little myself.
“And prat,” James added.
“Don’t forget snob. Oh, and big headed. There was also conceited, irritable, emotionless…”
“Whoa, wait.” James said, widening his eyes. “Emotionless? Did you really call me that?”
“Yep.” I said, grinning. “All the time.”
James scowled. “That’s not fair.”
“I know it isn’t,” I said earnestly. “Hm, actually—I think I was the emotionless one.”
“Yes, I think so too.”
“James!” I exclaimed, laughing.
“All right. I guess you were…okay.” James said, snaking his hand around my waist and touching my nose with his.
I smiled. “Is that all?”
“No. You can be a bit of a prat too sometimes.”
I rolled my eyes. “Well, that’s why we get along so well, right?”
“True.” James said, smiling.
“Well, Potter,” I said, taking my own arms and encircling his neck. “I think you’re okay too.”
He answered me by kissing me deeply; taking his fingers and hooking them underneath the elastic of my skirt, so that the skin he touched went all tingly with goose bumps. I went through his hair and then stroked his smooth jaw line, rubbing my swollen lips against his pulse point on his neck. James exhaled slowly and moved his hands in little circles on my back, whispering something that I couldn’t quite hear….
“What is it?” I asked, pulling away. He blushed, ruffling his hair and mumbling an apology.
“It’s nothing.” He said. “Do you want to go inside?”
“No.” I said, raising my eyebrow. That was the second time he had said something while we were close to one another that I couldn’t really hear. “I want to know what you said.”
“I didn’t say anything.” James muttered. Why wasn’t he looking at me?
“Yes, you did.”
“No, I didn’t.” James said, still not looking at me.
I gave him a hard look. I took his face in my hands and forced him to look me in the eye, and frowned. “James, can’t you trust me?”
“I do.” James said quickly. “But you have to trust me too…I’ll tell you later about it, okay?”
I looked at him for a long moment and then finally let go. “Okay.” I said. “I trust you.”
“Good.” James said, smiling in relief. “You should.”
Later that day, I went to Grace.
“I don’t really understand,” I said, rubbing my temples in frustration. “It’s like he’s hiding something from me.”
Grace merely nodded. She was pallid and was glancing at Remus at the other side of the common room every now and then, and when I mentioned the word “hiding”, she closed her eyes for a moment as if she were remembering something very horrible.
“It’s probably nothing.” Grace said when I continued to look at her. “Knowing James he’ll tell you sooner or later. It could be worse.” Again, she looked at Remus.
She wasn’t being a very good friend at the moment so I left her to sulk alone. She didn’t seem to mind, or even notice, for that matter. I stood in the middle of the common room for a moment, looking for someone else whom would be more pleasurable to be around.
Henn was nowhere to be seen. I looked automatically at Sirius, who I assumed would be with her, but he was actually sitting with Gaby, who seemed to be enjoying herself. I watched as she threw back her head and laughed loudly at something Sirius said, and Sirius stared at her for a moment as if transfixed. I smiled to myself but felt a little sad inside. I was finally noticing that little by little, or in Henn’s case, by a lot, we were all drifting apart.
What’s happening to us? Were we already in seventh year? What happened to all that time that seemed to be left over for us to make our choices and laze about and have fun…not really caring about the future? We were suddenly growing up and it terrified me.
I suddenly wanted to be with James. The only problem was that he was serving a detention tonight for Harrison. I sighed, glancing back at Grace, who was reading a book but not really moving her eyes. Remus had already retreated to his dorm. I didn’t want to disturb Sirius or Gaby, I would never hear the end of it, and Peter was doing his homework in the corner, so I went to him.
“Hey.” I said, sitting down. Peter looked up from his Charms essay, looking alarmed. Seeing that it was only I, however, he seemed to relax.
“Oh, it’s you, Lily.” He squeaked. For some reason he wasn’t looking that healthy either. His eyes darted to the side then rested on me again. “Where’s James?”
“Detention.” I said, rolling my eyes but smiling a bit. “You didn’t know?”
Peter shook his head. “I haven’t really seen him.”
“That’s right.” I said, quirking my eyebrow. “Where have you been? I haven’t seen you around anymore…”
“I’ve been getting some tutoring.” Peter said, although he did not look at me as he said this. “You know, with N.E.W.T.s and all…James and Sirius don’t really have any patience with that kind of stuff, and Remus has been having some problems with Grace so he’s pretty occupied…”
We both glanced at Grace, and I nodded. “Yeah, pretty much. Do you have any idea at all what’s going on with them?”
“No.” he said. Again, he didn’t look at me. “I think I have a pretty good idea though.”
I stared at him for a moment, and then turned my head to look at Grace again. “And what is it?”
Peter cleared his throat, looking nervously. “You should go ask her about it.”
“Fat chance,” I snorted. “She’ll bite anyone who comes near her.”
Peter smiled a little at this. “Well, there you go.”
There was an awkward silence. “Well…I think I’m going up now. I’ll see you…I’m coming later to wait for James.”
“All right. See you, Lily.”
“Bye, Pete.” I smiled. I then passed Grace, who ignored me, and opened the door to the girls’ staircase. Closing it behind me, I climbed up the stairs and went inside to my dorm, only to find Henn coming out of the bathroom in her pajamas. She didn’t see me immediately, she had her toothbrush in her mouth and she was opening her trunk to get out something. She only saw me when I went up to her and stood by the banister, waiting until she could acknowledge me.
“Hi.” I said, once she didn’t say anything. Already the fact that she had not taken the initiative to start a conversation was starting to make me mad. “What’s up?”
“Hi. I didn’t see you come in,” she said. Her smile was forced and strained. She was already walking to the loo again, turning her back on me and putting an end to the barely started conversation.
“There’s a Hogsmeade trip coming up,” I said. I went over to her in the bathroom and leaned against the door, not letting my gaze waver on her reflection even though she was still looking down. I wanted to punish her by forcing her to talk to me when I knew she was getting madder by the second but keeping it inside to prevent me from being satisfied. “I think it’s the last one. Have you gotten your Graduation Ball dress yet?”
Henn shook her head and spat into the sink, rinsing her mouth. I frowned and said in a tone that I knew was harassing but didn’t care, “You should come with us.”
Henn froze in wiping her face. “You mean with you and James?” she said in a would-be casual voice if it weren’t for the way she was scowling at me from above her towel. When I didn’t answer, she said dryly, “Well, I don’t fancy being the third wheel.”
I narrowed my eyes at her. “Third wheel?”
“Well, yeah.” Henn said, dropping her towel in the sink and glaring at me with equal rage. “Why should I go to Hogsmeade with you two? To carry the candle and the picnic basket so we could have an oh so lovely day together?” She smiled sarcastically at this. “Thanks but no thanks.”
“What is your problem?” I spat at her. “You’ve been like this ever since James and I started going out—”
“Been like what exactly?” Henn snapped. She was furrowing her eyebrows and had an incredulous look on her face. I had never seen her this angry—or just plain angry at all, for that matter. When I opened my mouth to retort she interrupted me. “Have you even noticed that all this time you’ve been spending with dear James, you’ve been completely and utterly ignoring me?”
“I have not!” I said indignantly.
“You have too! Tell me, when was the last time that we spent time together, hm? Oh yeah, and without your boyfriend?”
I opened my mouth and closed it, probably looking like a goldfish as I stared at her wordlessly. Even though each word stung and I felt like hitting her at the moment, I couldn’t help but feel some truth in what she was saying. Had I really been ignoring her?
“This isn’t just my fault! You’ve been avoiding me all this time when I’ve been trying to talk to you!”
“Oh, and like you’d have any interest in me if I weren’t!” Henn snapped. “And why should you really? I’m only your best friend.”
“Well you’re not acting like it!” I said loudly. “Stop acting like a little kid! You should be happy for me, as I would be for you!”
Henn gave me a very ugly look. “Oh, right. Lily, I know you. If I were dating right now, and you weren’t with James, do you honestly think you’d be happy for me? You, who are the most jealous person I’ve ever met?”
The desire to hit her was very strong at the moment. She seemed to notice this also, because she pushed past me and put some distance between us, fuming. I breathed in, and then exhaled very slowly to clear my thoughts. I tried counting from one to ten. “All right. I do admit that I would be jealous—at first. Probably for a week or so. But if I saw that you really liked this guy…”
I waited for Henn to interrupt me, but she didn’t. She was sitting on her bed with her arms crossed, staring in the opposite direction. “I wouldn’t be bothered so much. And I really, really like James, Henn. Can’t you see that?”
Henn still didn’t say anything. “I just would like things to be as they were before.” I said softly. I waited, not quite sure what else to say. I suddenly felt ashamed, because Henn was right; if we had switched places I would be very peeved too, if not more. At least Henn was bottling it up inside and staying away from me to avoid conflict. Sure, it wasn’t the best thing to do, but it was certainly better than what I would’ve done, which would be yelling and being a very big prat.
“Things can’t be as they were before.” Henn replied quietly, still not looking at me. “They’re changing…I mean, you’re now dating James, and believe me, I’m happy for you since he’s really good to you and you’re good to him.”
“Things are getting out of hand,” I said. I don’t know exactly why I said it, however. Henn finally turned around to look at me, scowling but not from being mad but from being confused. “I know what you mean though. I haven’t really dated before…I mean Zach hardly counts.”
I smiled, and so did she. “You’re right.” I sighed. “On both things.”
Henn motioned for me to come and sit by her. I sat on my own bed across from hers. “Are we good then?” Henn asked uncertainly, twiddling her thumbs.
“Yes.” I said, smiling. “Of course.”
Henn laughed and hugged me tightly, and I hugged her back. “I’m sorry, Henn.” I said as we pulled away.
“Me too.” She said, smiling slightly. I was happy to see her not angry but cheery instead.
“Henn…I know things are, well—different right now. But I just want you to know that you really are my best friend.”
Henn grinned widely at this. “I know. You’re mine too.”
“So now we’re in peace.” I said enthusiastically to a not-so-enthusiastic Grace. “Henn and I, I mean.” I stared at her for a moment, waiting for a reply. When none came, I said, “Grace? Are you even listening to me?”
Grace jerked out of her trance. She had been apparently looking at Remus. “Oh…yes, sorry. That’s truly great.”
She looked down at her textbook and tuned me out again. I suddenly remembered what Peter had said in the common room, something about how he thought he knew what they were fighting about and thought I should ask her. Knowing that Grace liked to be left alone when she was sulking and also the fact that I was steering into troubled waters, I said, “Funny…things don’t seem ‘truly great’ with you or Remus.”
Grace exhaled slowly. “Lily…have you ever—felt like you knew someone…but don’t really anymore?” Even though she was addressing me she didn’t seem to be actually paying attention to anything or anyone at the moment. Her eyes were out of focus and I couldn’t help but think she looked a little mad. What was happening to her?
“Are you saying you don’t know—Remus?” I asked uncertainly, twiddling my thumbs nervously. “Your…boyfriend?”
Grace shook her head. “I’ve got to go…I’ll see you later.”
“Hey, I’ll see you in Hogsmeade, right?” I called out as she was leaving the library. She merely waved her hand in response and closed the door behind her, not even replying to James when he passed by and said hello.
“Don’t ask.” I said as he sat down next to me and opened his mouth.
“Fair enough.” James said, shrugging. “Where were you last night?”
I beamed. “Talking to Henn. She doesn’t hate me anymore.”
James raised his eyebrow. “Well, that’s good. I thought you said you were going to wait until I got out of my detention, though.”
“Oh, are you going to be jealous, too?” I laughed as he frowned a little. I scooted closer and swept a curl of hair away from his forehead, pouting teasingly. “I thought only girls did that?”
“Very funny.” James said, chuckling sarcastically. He scowled; he really was mad wasn’t he?
My stomach flipped and I couldn’t help but give him a goofy grin, which I was glad that he returned. He kissed me deeply and made me lean back into the table, which cut into my back but whatever. Then suddenly I heard someone yelling overhead.
“We’re going!” I yelled as Madam Pince once again chased us out.
It was a beautiful and perfect day for our last trip to Hogsmeade. The sun shined brilliantly in the crystal blue sky, and a slight breeze was blowing so that it wasn’t too musty and hot outside. Even though I was supposed to be enjoying this, I was actually still sleeping when everyone was being sworn into the little village.
When I opened my eyes our dormitory was empty and I was alone, yawning and stretching my arms. I blinked then blinked again, suddenly realizing that day was our Hogsmeade trip and everyone had left without me. That is…almost everyone.
“Good morning.” James said suddenly, making me jump and gasp in alarm. He had been standing by my window and I just hadn’t noticed him. I narrowed my eyes at him, knowing that he had transformed to come up here, which was sweet and everything, but very scary that he was lurking by my bed unnoticed.
“Don’t—do—that.” I said, clutching my chest where my heart was still beating rather loudly. James smiled softly at me.
“I’ve never seen you sleep in so much…it’s already eleven, you know.”
“Eleven?” I winced. “Breakfast is already over…”
“Don’t worry about it.” James said promptly, pointing over to my bedside cabinet, where three blueberry muffins lay. “Your charming and thoughtful boyfriend already took care of it.” He gave me a debonair smile.
“That is charming and thoughtful.” I said, raising my eyebrow a little while taking a muffin and nibbling on it. “Although it is your fault that I slept in so much. Oh, and did you already take a bite out of this?”
James grinned sheepishly. “Yes, actually there were five muffins initially…” he started while I gave him a stern look. “So what? You wouldn’t have eaten all of them anyway. And if I remember correctly…you weren’t so keen in leaving the astronomy tower so early either.”
“You know that I like stargazing.” I said, shrugging. “If it were up to me we would’ve stayed even later than three o’ clock in the morning.”
James chuckled while I searched for my wand, which was in my cabinet. I pointed it at my brush, which immediately started towards my hair while I took another muffin and chewed on it. James sat on my bed and leaned against my banister, giving me a curious look as he saw my nightgown. Suddenly embarrassed, I gulped down my food and went over to my trunk, sliding in my bathrobe and heading towards the loo.
“Hold on a second, will you? Let me just get ready.” I called out to him while the brush set itself down on the counter and a baby blue ribbon was conjured to be put in my hair. I took my toothbrush and put some toothpaste on it, stretching my neck to see James standing up and looking at the last muffin he had brought up. “You can take that by the way.”
“Thanks, love.” He said, grinning as he took the blueberry muffin and headed towards the door. “I’ll wait downstairs, then.”
I waited until he closed the door and started to brush my teeth, washing my face and then debating what I should wear. I settled for a white button-up short sleeve and a pleated blue skirt to match my ribbon, putting on white stockings and my black shoes. I looked myself in the mirror and grabbed some money that I put safely in my front pocket, and then headed downstairs to find James sitting on the common room’s love seat, enjoying the muffin I had left for him. No one but us was in the common room, even the younger than third year students that weren’t allowed in Hogsmeade weren’t around, probably outside enjoying the good weather.
“Ready to go?” I said which got his attention. James gulped down his last bit of food and grinned at me.
“You look nice.”
“So do you.” I said, eyeing his outfit for the first time. He had a loose bottle green shirt on and some jeans. “I like the shirt.”
“It matches your eyes, see?” he said, coming up and bringing the material a little closer to my face.
I smiled. “Yes, it sort of does.”
James beamed and grabbed my hand, leading me to the portrait hole so we could get out into the hallway. After we turned the corner and we could no longer hear the Fat Lady’s complaints about letting us in last night at three o’ clock in the morning, we headed towards the stairs behind the tapestry and turned right. I gave him a questioning look.
“This isn’t the way to the Great Hall.” I said.
“I know.” James said, grinning mischievously.
“So how exactly are we going to get into Hogsmeade if Filch doesn’t let us in?”
I sighed and followed him silently, wondering what he was up to but knowing it was no use trying to pester it out of him. Finally we reached the third floor and stopped in front of an ugly statue of a humpbacked witch, and James gave me a brief kiss and expectant look, waiting for me to question him as I undoubtedly would.
“James, can you please tell me what we’re doing?”
“Watch,” James said, taking his wand out of his pocket and tapping the hump of the witch. Then, “Dissendium.”
The witch’s humpback slid and a hole emerged. James stepped back and bowed slightly, saying, “Ladies first.”
“I’m not going down there!” I exclaimed incredulously.
“Well, look at it…it’s so dark…I can’t even see where we’re going to end up.” I said, shivering despite myself.
“Lily, trust me.” James said patiently. “I’ve been down there a thousand times. There’s nothing dangerous.”
I gave him a hard look. “You go first then.”
James put up his hands in defense. “All right, okay…I was just trying to be a gentleman.” Then without further ado, he tucked his wand into his pocket and jumped down into the hole, sliding down a tunnel and disappearing from sight. I waited for a moment then followed soon after.
It was a bit like a slide. I saw the statue close once my head was fully inside and I was sliding down. I fell down onto the ground in an earthy passage, grabbing James’s hand as he hoisted me up. He lit his wand and dusted his shoulders off, dusting the dirt away from me too, as if he came down there all the time. Actually, he probably did.
“Ready then?” he asked me; grabbing my hand again and leading me down the tunnel. I raised my eyebrow at him.
“James, where are we?”
“You’ll see,” he repeated, which only irritated me further.
“Is it something stupid?” I asked exasperatedly.
“No. You’ll like it.” He said. “It’s…different.”
We walked for quite some time. The tunnel was kind of scary looking, and I know that if I were alone I’d probably turn back a long time ago. After a while the ground started to ascend and we met a staircase, which I followed James as he climbed. When we had reached the ceiling he felt it a bit, looking for something until he apparently found it and pushed. A door swung on its hinge and he popped his head up, looking around.
“Okay,” he whispered. “The coast is clear.”
“Clear for what?”
“Shh, you’ll see.”
I exhaled loudly but followed him anyway. James swung the door back down, putting it back to place where it blended in with the dust. I looked around; we were in some sort of cellar full of boxes. I could hear voices somewhere.
“This way.” James said, pointing to another staircase. We climbed it and opened the door, where we found ourselves behind the counter in Honeydukes.
I widened my eyes but had no time to react; James had already grabbed my hand and had pulled me to a stand, blending us in with the crowd. He was barely concealing his grin as he said, “So, what do you want?”
“That passage led here?” I hissed. “Do you know how many rules we just broke? For one thing we had to go to Filch—”
“Do you think we should get some of these?” James asked loudly, drowning out my voice. He was holding an Acid Pop. “We can give this one to Peter…ha ha…”
“Or we can get a blood-flavored one.” James said, holding up another pop although it was a deep red. He had a seemingly innocent look, although I could see right through it. “I mean everyone knows Snivellus is a vampire…”
I glared at him, forgetting about rules. “Don’t call him Snivellus.”
“Yeah, yeah…” James said, rolling his eyes. “All right, we can get something normal then. How about a Chocolate Frog? I collected those cards when I was a kid. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re going to say…I still act like a little kid, right? No? Okay…there’s also Licorice Wands, Sugar Quills…. Oh, I know what you want. You look like a Cockroach Cluster kind of girl.” His arms were full of sweets and he was grinning impishly.
“Cockroach Clusters aren’t normal.” I said, crossing my arms and trying to look cross, but couldn’t help but chuckle and smile a bit.
James grinned and dumped the sweets in a bucket full of Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, making a child and his mother nearby scowl. “See? Breaking rules isn’t so bad…we’re still alive and healthy, aren’t we?”
“Oh shut up.” I said, rolling my eyes and peering into a jar full of Chocoballs. “I actually like these a lot. And Cauldron Cakes.”
“Here.” James said, giving me a plastic bag that we were supposed to put the sweets we’d like to buy. “Fill it up, then.”
James was nice enough to pay for all the candy (which was quite a lot, considering the fact that I had a very sweet tooth and James ate a lot already). We chewed Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum and filled nearby shops with so many bluebell-colored bubbles that several owners kicked us out; met up with Henn, Gaby, Sirius, and Peter, who were all hanging around predictably in Zonko’s Joke Shop; went to the Shrieking Shack, which even looked very scary in the day time, although didn’t seem to impress James at all, who said that he didn’t really believe violent ghosts haunted the place at all, and finally, around four o’ clock, James took me to Gladrags Witchwear to meet up with Henn and Gaby, leaving James, Sirius, and Peter to roam by themselves as we looked for some dressrobes to buy. We walked inside where several other witches were inside, mainly in the dressrobes section.
“Grace didn’t even bother to come today,” Gaby said sadly. “She said she already has her dressrobes anyway.”
Henn and I didn’t even bother to reply to this. We merely sighed and looked at the dressrobes on display, looking around and trying not to think of Grace too hard to not spoil our moods.
After a few good hours, we had all bought our dresses and headed out the door, going to Three Broomsticks were we had told the rest of our company where we should meet up. They were sitting in a faraway corner, talking in serious voices and stopping abruptly upon seeing us.
“Hello ladies,” Sirius said, conjuring a few chairs so that we could sit down. “How did shopping go?” He eyed our rather large bags and grinned slightly.
“Excellent.” I said, sitting down next to James and setting my own bag on the table. James started to reach towards it and I slapped his hand away. “Don’t touch that. I want my dress to be a surprise.”
James rolled his eyes. “Okay. They’re only dressrobes, you know.”
“What were you three talking about?” Gaby asked, sitting down to Sirius. Henn sat in between us, setting her own bag down and giving the boys curious looks.
“Yeah, was it anything important?”
“We weren’t talking about anything,” Sirius said smoothly. Even though I knew that he was telling lies his voice sounded convincing anyway. “Do you girls want butterbeer?” And without even waiting for an answer, him, James, and Peter all stood up and went over to the bar.
“‘We weren’t talking about anything,’” Gaby imitated. “Yeah, sure. Do they think we’re stupid or something?”
“Probably.” Henn shrugged.
Later on the boys arrived with our drinks, which we happily drank, despite the fact that Gaby kept on giving Sirius suspicious looks that he promptly ignored. It was nice yet a little sad—after all, this would probably be the last time we’d see the cozy pub.
Even though I thought it was a strange, the boys insisted on saying goodbye to the Madam Rosmerta, the pretty and curvy proprietor of Three Broomsticks. I noticed that when she came around and hugged them they held on quite dearly to her. Peter was blabbering and was very red in the face and Sirius even dared to move his hands to the small of her back, which she promptly slapped away, laughing. She had some tears in her eyes and I distinctly heard her say: “My, oh my…I sure will miss the Marauders creating havoc in my pub.”
“I liked her.” James said when we left, holding my hand. “I’ll miss Madam Rosmerta.”
“Me too.” Peter said wistfully, and Sirius audibly sighed. I laughed with Henn, who was looking just as perplexed as I.
“Goodbye Hogsmeade.” Gaby said softly as we passed the gates and glanced at the little village behind us. I could easily guess what she was thinking about: how the year was almost over and how she would have to leave the continent shortly after that.
I sighed. James looked at me, but I said nothing. All right, so we were still going to be together once the year was over. How, I did not know, but we would find a way and that was certainly reassuring. But how about everything else? Everything would change, and I feared change. I still felt queasy every time that I thought about the prospect of leaving Hogwarts, where I had spent most of my life the past seven years. How could James understand?
“You okay?” he asked me.
“Yes.” I said quietly, glancing at Henn and Gaby, who were laughing at something Sirius had just said. I suddenly missed them already, and we hadn’t even separated yet. “Don’t worry about it.”
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