Chapter 22 : Unwelcome Truths
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A/n: I know that it’s been a while, it was really difficult to write this and I had to edit loads. Well I really hope you like it and don’t forget to copy and paste the link in the end note and review!
"There is no man so friendless but what he can find a friend sincere enough to tell him disagreeable truths” -Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Remus decided to stay for the following week, his parents consented and in the Simmons household, when Mary Simmons wasn’t in; Gabrielle was in charge. In charge of everything. Guests, food, cleaning, outings, everything. She had the guest room prepared for Remus immediately and even made a special dinner for him on the first night. Remus had his doubts but four years of practise had done the twelve year old well and his fears were soon eradicated.
Remus spent a lot of time with Spencer. They did lots of things that Spencer had never had the chance to do. Alongside Remus, Spencer rode a broom for the first time and also learnt the rules of Quidditch. A task his sisters had always deemed daunting and had avoided for a year or so now.
Remus stepped into the kitchen and was met with, the now normal, sight of Gabrielle pouring over the stove stirring something that smelled delicious. Remus smiled ‘need any help?’ he said cheerfully, Gabby smiled back and looked relieved. ‘Oh would you? Mind chopping those potatoes up for me? I would but I have to do everything the muggle way and Whinny’s clearing the basement. It was a mess last week’ she chattered, making Remus smile again.
Two days later, Remus was supposed to leave. It was the night before Gabrielle, Kayla and he returned to Hogwarts. It was also the day on which Mrs. Simmons returned. Her arrival was set for the morning and his departure for the evening so they had a few hours overlapping in which they could briefly meet.
‘I’m home!’ cried a voice. Spencer came running downstairs and for once nobody stopped him, Alethea slowly walked down the stairs after him, Kayla and Remus came out from the living room and Gabrielle came out last from her kitchen. Remus observed the woman at the door. She was like the older version of Gabrielle. She had the same intriguing violet eyes, the straight locks of midnight blue, but instead of having an unearthly pale complexion, she possessed a golden one. This was Mary Simmons.
He watched her hug and kiss her children and saw that her eyes bore the same spark that every mother’s eyes did when she spoke to, smiled at or even looked at her children. Prominent as that was, especially combined with the familiarity that home brought to you, something was missing. He saw her stare at Spencer in a peculiar way, but she stopped after a second. The look in her eyes when Gabrielle hugged her was different to ones that were present when the other three did the same.
Once the meetings with the children were over, Mary Simmons sighed and looked at Remus with an unreadable expression. Remus looked right back with neither a defiant nor an unnerved expression, his expression was totally and completely him. A few seconds later she smiled at him and revealed a beautiful smile, beautified by the very fact that there was something decidedly missing in it.
‘I can guess who you are but I’ll let Kayla introduce us’ she said, Kayla smiled, took her mother by the hand over to Remus. ‘Mum, this is my boyfriend, Remus Lupin. Remus, this is my mum’ Remus shook hands with Mrs. Simmons, politely. ‘Hello Remus, lovely to meet you’
‘Pleasure to meet you too, Mrs. Simmons’
‘Mary if you please’ she said mechanically. Her perfunctory tone of voice surprised Remus. She didn’t even look at him when she said it, more about the room and then he realised what it was that her eyes were devoid of.
They contained none of the love that only your soul mate, your true partner in life can provide. Without it, her eyes seemed almost empty, waiting, rather hopeless. However, there was something strong in her demeanour, something persistent, something Remus knew was the one thing the Simmons children could always count on.
A mere hour before Lily and James’ departure to Kings Cross and ultimately Hogwarts, they were rushing around trying to get everything done. Well, not so much James, just Lily really. James was rather cool about the situation and calmly ate his breakfast, knowing Lily was being ridiculous, since the platform wasn’t far away and they could apparate. Adam smiled at watching the two bicker and his approval of James increased.
‘James, hurry up! You’re not eating fast enough. We’re going to be late’ she snapped, glaring at him ‘we’re the Heads, I am not intending to start my last term at Hogwarts by missing the train!’ James rolled his eyes at his girlfriend’s hysteria. ‘Really Lily, darling! Just how am I supposed to enjoy my breakfast and devour every succulent bite if you keep distracting me’ he said in a most infuriating manner, he then speared a large bite of sausage onto his fork and proceeded to chew slowly, irritating Lily even more. She screamed frustratedly.
Rosalind and Adam laughed. The Evans’ were unhappy that their youngest was leaving but they then remembered that it was her last term and after that she’d be theirs for the summer before she planned to move out.
Finally everything was ready and the two seventh years were set to leave. They’d sent their trunks to their compartments only moments before. Lily smiled sadly when she looked at her mother. ‘Mum’ she said simply and hugged her tightly. Mrs. Evans had tears in her eyes. ‘Oh mum, don’t. It’s my last year, look. My last term now. I’ll be living off you in no time’ she joked, Rosalind laughed through her tears and kissed her daughter on the forehead.
Lily then turned to Adam and smiled brightly ‘Daddy!’ Adam smiled back and tried his best to not show his sadness. ‘Lily’ he said simply, Lily hugged her father and he kissed her on the forehead as well and ruffled her red hair fondly. James stepped forward and firmly shook Adam’s hand and hugged Rosalind, who kissed him on his forehead as well. ‘Thanks for having me. It’s been great, I loved meeting you’ James said politely, Rosalind smiled and waved a hand ‘it was nothing on my part but a pleasure to have you’ Rosalind, Adam nodded in agreement and added ‘look after our Lily’ he and James exchanged glances and James replied ‘depend on it, that I will’
James then looked to Lily ‘shall we go?’
‘You go ahead. I’ll be there in a second’ she said, James nodded and waved once again before disappearing. Lily turned to her parents.
‘So? Final verdict?’ Rosalind’s eyes sparkled ‘don’t make your sister’s mistake, will you? Hold onto him, if I find you’ve let him go, I will personally kill you’ Lily laughed and hugged her mother again. She then turned to her father, with hopeful eyes ‘remember one thing, Lily: no one, no one is good enough for my girls’ Lily rolled her eyes ‘Now, Dursley, was a mistake. A large one on Petunia’s part. But, I will say that James is about as close as they get and I’ll admit I’ve grown to rather like him’ Adam said, almost grudgingly. Lily’s eyes lit up and she hugged her dad ‘thank you!’ she squealed, ecstatic that her father had approved of James.
‘Okay mum, dad I have to be off. Say hi to Petunia for me and tell her I’m sorry I couldn’t see her before I left and, and take care and…I love you and-’
‘Lily darling, I love you too but, they’re expecting you!’ Rosalind said laughingly, Lily nodded, waved and left.
In less than a second she found herself within the surroundings of Kings Cross station, Platform 9 ¾. She looked around to see a familiar yet nameless group of fourth years, giggling at something or the other and a handsome red train standing before her. She glanced at clock behind; it indicated that it was currently half past ten. Lily grinned; she was back in the wizarding world. Lily glanced around further and saw James standing further on with Sirius, Remus and Peter.
‘Boo’ said a voice, Lily turned around to find Adea staring back at her. ‘Dee!’ Lily cried, Adea laughed ‘doesn’t this feel weird?’ she asked, Lily nodded ‘feels like the first day and yet we’re leaving to start our last term at Hogwarts’
‘Let’s not talk about that’ came another familiar voice, belonging to Kayla Simmons alongside whom, stood Jane Swales.
Lily directed her friends to the Head’s Compartment but Adea declined, promising that she would join them in half an hour at the least but she had fiancé duties. The girls laughed and rolled their eyes accordingly. Lily had to detach from them as well to perform duties of another kind, Head Girl’s to be more precise but she intended to have it done within ten minutes.
There was ten minutes left until the train departed and Lily and James had to make sure that no students lingered on the platform. When she steeped out of the Head Compartment, she found James waiting for her patiently for them to begin their “battle” so to speak.
‘Please board now, the train leaves in ten minutes, that’s ten minutes. The train leaves in ten minutes, please board now!’ Lily’s voice called out tediously. A nearby Hufflepuff girl gave her a dirty look. ‘Can’t you give it a rest?’ Lily’s eyes flashed dangerously and the girl immediately regretted it. ‘You think I want to do this?’ the girl shook her head, a part of Lily felt rather satisfied ‘get on the train sweetheart’ she jabbed her thumb in the direction of the train. The girl and her boyfriend promptly boarded the train quietly.
The whistle sounded and after checking no one was left behind, Lily and James hopped into their compartment where they were met with Sirius, Remus, Peter, Jane and Kayla. By the looks of it, Peter seemed to be emanating newfound confidence. He looked at Lily and smiled ‘Hey Lily, how was your holiday?’ he said politely, Lily smiled back cautiously. ‘Great thanks and yours?’ there was still something there that Lily didn’t like but he was being nice and seemed slightly more bearable.
Adea and Waqar were in their own compartment and were enjoying themselves, talking about anything and everything.
‘Adea, it’s your last term with them’ Waqar started, Adea avoided his glance and said uncomfortably ‘yes I’m quite aware, what about it?’
‘You know what I’m talking about’ he said. Adea couldn’t hide the guilt from her face, with anyone else she could keep a blank face with ease but with Waqar it seemed as though all her guards came crashing down.
‘I know it’s not right of me, but every time I come close, I don’t know, something stops me at the last second’ Adea explained, Waqar adamantly shook his head. ‘No, it’s not right. You’re going to have to do it. You've been friends for seven years. This is your last term in which you’ll all be together, in one place. You’ve dodged it for long enough. You will have to tell them’ he said, making her feel, if possible, even worse.
‘I know, I know, okay? I just- I’ she trailed off, knowing he was absolutely right ‘I’m sorry to have to make such an issue of this but I know that, if you leave without having told them, you’ll regret it. It’s better you telling them, than them finding out…another way’ he finished with difficulty. Adea looked at him, her dark eyes widened and clouded with disquietude.
‘What do you mean?’ she asked him. They held each other’s gaze for a fraction of a second. Waqar turned to look out of the window for a moment, before turning back, once again their eyes met. ‘I mean’ he started with deliberation ‘exams are coming up and everyone’s going to be upset, tense, irate…even you’ his soft green eyes conveyed quite simply the hidden meaning in his words
Adea’s mind was reeling. –I completely forgot. Of course. Especially this year…oh lord, it’s going to be even more of a hell- She fell into a seat. Her face was blank and yet the imaginings of the future weeks seemed to make the forest green in her irises, more prominent. She turned to look at her oldest friend once more. ‘You- you don’t think- something will happen to me?’ she asked.
Waqar looked back at her ‘you know I don’t lie to you. I really don’t know. It’s possible. They said if it gets too much you may-’
‘-be out for short periods of time’ Adea filled in quietly. Waqar looked uneasy ‘if it’s happened once’ was all he said. Adea thought back to that dreadful experience.
‘If I’m out, at all…then you will tell them for me, won’t you?’ she asked
‘What if you’re only out for a few seconds?’ he asked, not wanting to imagine it more than that. Adea shook her head ‘no, even then. I’d feel awful having to tell them, like I’d betrayed them, how would I look them in the eye. No, but they’d have to know so…’
‘I’ll tell them’ Waqar assured, Adea smiled gratefully.
‘It’s not painful, is it? Well obviously it is, but you know I meant when you pass out, or as you pass out rather’ he asked, Adea thought back again ‘Not really. It’s only when you wake up…It’s not so much painful as it is unpleasant. Your skin feels like it’s on fire’ she murmured.
Adea thought of her three friends. They were probably sitting up in the comfortable Head’s Compartment, laughing together, occasionally wondering as to when she would return. Unknowing to her condition, at least they were happy for the time being.
‘If you want to join them, go ahead’ Waqar said
‘If I was to go, you’d come with me and I don’t feel like going. One of them will come in here after me, I expect’ Adea predicted. Waqar frowned ‘don’t feel too guilty’ he said, in hopes of raising her spirits, but to no avail. ‘Hm. I just don’t feel like it anymore, I feel sick actually’ she replied. Adea then, took to staring out of the window, watching the countryside fly past in a green blur occasionally accompanied by white supplied by the wild daisies.
That night, it took Adea a while to rid herself of her thoughts, for they disturbed her attempts to try and sleep. She knew Waqar’s words would hold her until she finally told them. As she listened to the soft breathing of two of her friends and thought of the third in her room, her doubt and fears increased. When she did finally sleep, it was an unsettled slumber.
Weeks flew, the remnants of spring evolved to plant the buds of summer. The sun shone brighter as the clouds reluctantly moved away to reveal it. NEWTs were only a month away and the Seventh Years had all spiralled into a revising frenzy. The common rooms were no longer a place for friends to meet and students to socialise; instead it had become a place of tension and nerves. If a word was uttered slightly above a whisper, you were thrown out.
Lily considered herself very lucky, she had her very own space, unable to be invaded by anyone else and where she could be completely alone unless she wished not to. She only ever left for lessons, rounds and gave five minutes for meals. James had expected this but still he found it irritating. He was for some reason finding it harder and harder to stay focused when not in her company. It wasn’t as if he had become that smitten little third year or the “infatuated” being he had been eight months ago. It wasn’t as if he was lost without her there, it was more.
Sirius provided entertainment and brotherhood, Adea and Remus provided the very essence of friendship, loyalty and understanding. Peter provided hopeless reliability, that no matter what happened, even if they forgot him time to time, Pete would always be there. Even Jane and Kayla had their purposes in his mind. Kayla provided truth, a dose of reality, beautifully worded and full of verve, even if what she had to say were not so pleasing. Jane, provided mystery and hope? Sometimes when you talked to her, she could make you forget select things, like a child.
But Lily, Lily provided something else. And for some inexplicable reason James couldn’t say exactly what. She breathed life into the tiniest thing. James admitted that yes, Kayla did that too. They both possessed a certain vivacity. That was probably why people made them out to be more similar than they really were. Remus always said that when Lily and Kayla stepped into a room, it made all other girls common and undistinguished. Though there was something different, rather more special (in James’ opinion, of course) about the way in which Lily did things, though he suspected that Remus thought the same of Kayla. If he had to sum it up somehow, she provided the essence of life.
She made him think of things in ways he hadn’t dreamt possible. Lily could turn the most pointless topic into an intellectual debate just by tossing in a few sarcastic remarks, where they were needed. Her beauty was incomparable. She was enigmatic. Though not as enigmatic as Jane or even Adea. Lily was not as compassionate as Adea either. Lily was kind hearted but her famed temper didn’t fail her flaming locks, James didn’t care, it made her even more gorgeous. James was content with his Lily, she might not have been perfect but she was perfect for him. He couldn’t see himself withstanding Adea and all her angelic goodness in a relationship for too long. No, he had Lily and she was all he could ever dream of. James was too proud to ever even consider falling for a faultless girl.
‘Adea, why are you so perfect?’ James asked bluntly, Adea looked surprised. Her dark eyes peered at him in perplexity, over her book. After a moment, she set it down and looked at Waqar who was grinning, she knew he would enjoy and this conversation and would most definitely not help her out.
‘Excuse me?’ she asked in her gentle whisper. James persisted onwards. ‘Everyone has a fault; it’s an unwritten law. And yet, Adea Qureshi you seem to have quite simply disregarded it?’ he turned to Waqar ‘you’ve been her friend, for how long?’
‘All her life, seventeen years’ he replied proudly, James replied ‘so you tell me. What’s wrong with her? I mean she’s beautiful, smart, funny at times, kind and understanding. All of these can’t possibly go together without there being something wrong. What is it?’ Waqar shrugged and looked towards Adea, grinning again. She threw him a look of contempt.
‘I should think, that my faults were glaringly obvious, James’ she said sagely. Her audience marvelled at how, even when the matter concerned herself, she sounded like she was sharing a piece of her coveted wisdom.
‘You should think wrong, then’ James retorted sharply. Adea rolled her eyes ‘James, almost all of this blessed school doesn’t know my godforsaken name, what does that tell you?’ Waqar coughed pointedly, another look of contempt came darting his way. ‘Uh…you’re paranoid?’ James said unsurely. Waqar would’ve laughed, had Adea eyes not so threateningly flashed at him.
‘I’m a coward. I’m mentally unable to trust people and as far as appearance goes, I’m freakily skinny’ she listed. James raised his eyebrows. ‘The first one’s crap and you know it; you’re in Gryffindor, woman! The second, you might be onto something. And, the third one I’ll grant you. You, my friend are what I believe is called extremely svelte. That’s not a good thing. ‘ With that, he took Adea’s fragile wrist in between his index and thumb and delicately, as if were to snap (it did look like it rather intended to) and held it up. There wasn’t an ounce of flesh, well there must’ve been but it didn’t feel like it.
Holding her pathetic excuse of a wrist was almost painful. The sides of her wrists jutted sharply outwards and it felt as if they were trying to cut through his skin. He then slowly placed her wrist back at her side and said simply ‘you need to eat more’ Waqar said nothing and Adea sighed –if I had a sickle for every time someone said that…-
‘Well, well, well’ sneered Lucius Malfoy. He leered at Jane. She had been randomly roaming the corridors and had had the misfortune to cross paths with the blonde Slytherin. ‘What have we here?’ if he thought he was intimidating Jane in the slightest, he was sorely mistaken. The girl rolled her eyes. ‘Jane Swales’ he said patronisingly. Jane sighed ‘yes, yes. Jane Swales a.k.a. the retarded mudblood. You know Malfoy, it really is getting rather tiresome, this little…routine shall we call it? The height of tedium!’ she glanced at his cronies.
‘That’s tedium, spelt T-E-D-I-U- M. It means…’ Malfoy cut her off with a glare ‘they know what it means’ he said impatiently. Jane raised her eyebrows ‘are you sure?’ Malfoy looked behind to find his “cronies” sporting blank and confused faces. Jane snorted.
‘Think you’re clever do you? Won’t be feeling that way for long, Swales’ Malfoy threatened, Jane cast another glance at the small group behind him and looked back smiling ‘no, I’m quite confident that I will’
‘You always were a bold one’ Malfoy said with distaste. Jane nodded understandingly ‘I can see why that would be a hindrance, makes it harder for you to bully me I suppose, I sincerely apologise’ Jane replied with a straight face.
Malfoy withdrew his wand but Jane drew hers quicker. The cronies guffawed, Malfoy smirked ‘oh is the mudblood going to duel me now?’ Jane rolled her eyes yet again ‘well let’s see. I’m holding out my wand, you’re holding out yours and we’re pointing them at each other. Yes. It does rather look that way doesn’t it?’
Malfoy laughed again ‘you honestly think you can fight me? I could do away with you in a second Swales’ Jane snorted again ‘yes because your performance that day on the platform was spectacular Malfoy’ the boy looked murderous. Jane was succeeding in distracting him.
‘Your boyfriend won’t always be there to protect you Swales, especially now that…’ he continued but Jane tuned him out, focusing on something else –oh the idiot’s gone and fallen into the trap. He always has loved the sound of his voice, can’t imagine why. Focus, Jane! Oh right yes, his defences are low…EXPELLIARMUS! - Jane pointed her wand at Malfoy and his wand came flying into her hand. The “cronies” stood there with dumbstruck expressions and Malfoy looked shocked.
‘Tut tut, Malfoy, forgotten the art of non-verbal spells already have we? Don’t we sit our NEWTs in a month, better brush up’ Jane teased. Malfoy advanced upon her but was stopped when he saw who was coming up behind. ‘Oh no please continue Malfoy. It’s been a while since I’ve given you a deserved black eye, don’t deny me the pleasure’ came Remus’ voice, Jane looked behind her and saw the pale face of Remus, challenging Malfoy with his aquamarine eyes.
Jane held up his wand tauntingly. ‘Be as physical as you want Malfoy but it’s three wands to those IQ’s’ Jane said glancing once again at the “cronies”, she smiled back at him ‘I’m sure even they could work out who’s at an advantage here’ Malfoy sneered once more and backed off, his eyes never left the wand that now nestled in Jane’s left hand.
Remus smiled slightly as he and Jane began to walk away. When they reached the end of the corridor, Jane threw Malfoy’s wand behind her carelessly and when she turned the corner, she could be heard saying ‘do you think it’d be alright for me to burn my skin, it’s just that, well… I was holding Malfoy’s wand’
After walking a little further, Remus said ‘very well done back there by the way. I commend you and I’m a marauder’ Remus said, Jane smiled a little and said ‘thank you and they said you were modest one’ Remus laughed and they both walked into the great hall for their lunch, where Jane took a seat by Sirius and Remus proceeded to tell him what had just happened.
After hearing what had happened, Sirius had laughed triumphantly and kissed Jane and then remembered to look concerned. ‘Oh, you are okay aren’t you? Did they do anything’ Jane shook her fondly and said ‘like I would’ve let them?’ Sirius kissed her again and then looked to Remus ‘is she perfect or what?’
The following Saturday morning Lily, Kayla, Jane, Adea and the Marauders were enjoying breakfast. A flurry of wings could be heard overhead. The girls searched for their own owls but only saw Adea’s owl, Mehak, who was holding quite a long but floppy package. Several other students were watching Mehak as well, as she carefully descended. Adea got up quickly and whispered ‘it’s the dress, bring it down to your room and give Mehak a small piece of toast’ before leaving.
Lily looked with anticipation at the package, now that she knew what it contained. When Mehak finally reached the table, instead of perching on the table, she landed on Lily’s lap. Lily marvelled at the intelligence of the owl, she had probably been sent orders to be careful with the package. Lily liberated Mehak of her package and then fed the Surnia owl a piece of toast. Once Mehak had flown off in pursuit of the Owlery, Lily rose and left with Jane and Kayla.
They briskly walked towards the Head’s Chamber and ran into Lily’s room, to find Adea sitting patiently on the white bed. Lily laid down the package in front of her. Adea read the note attached to it out loud.
We decided on pink. It’s not exactly what we agreed on but I know you’ll love it. And I know you’ll look incredibly breathtaking in it. I’m not your mother but I’m almost there and I know what makes my girl’s beauty even more noticeable than it is already.
Adea waited a moment. Lily had to abstain from ripping it open herself. ‘What are you waiting for, Dee? Open it!’ Adea glanced at her sharply ‘I’m just ridding myself of expectations, just in case’ Lily sighed and had to wait a couple more seconds before her friend finally started to tear the packaging.
Once the dress was out, the girls collectively sighed. Adea stared, open mouthed, Jane looked on dreamily and Lily and Kayla squealed. ‘Oh my god, it’s amazing!’
‘Adea, that is the most beautiful dress, I’ve ever laid my eyes on’
Adea stared some more before she finally cried ‘I’m getting married in this! I love you aunty!’ The dress was light pink with shades of orange and red combined as well. It was made with (as Adea noted, when she ran her fingers over it) a mixture of katan and raw silk (a/n: if you feel you don’t like the sound of it, click on the link at the end author’s note and see what you think).
‘So, what do you think, Jane?’ Adea asked, after noticing that one of her friends had not said anything. Jane thought before she answered ‘I think this dress is perfect, we couldn’t possibly find a better one for you’
‘Would someone mind calling Waqar for me?’ the black haired girl asked, Lily got up ‘I’ll do it, I know the Ravenclaw password. The Ravenclaw tower was not far from the Head’s Chamber, she said the password (‘Baruffio’) clearly to the tapestry and entered. She had always loved the Ravenclaw common room since she’d found out what it looked like in September.
It had cream carpeting and beautiful chenille sofas. Large mahogany bookcases in one corner, filled with leather bound books and lined up against the wood panelled walls. The grand looking stairs for the dormitories were of spiralling mahogany as well. It didn’t have the cosiness of Hufflepuff common room, the warmth of the Gryffindor common room and it definitely didn’t have the harshness of the Slytherin common room but it had sophistication and it just looked like an intellectual’s space, with it’s tasteful furniture and majestic fireplaces and staircases.
Lily looked around and saw Waqar talking with some of his friends. She walked up to the group of seventh year boys and cleared her throat quietly, Waqar looked up at her and his eyes widened in surprise. ‘Lily! What are you doing here?’
‘Hey Waqar’ she said brightly and then looked at his friends ‘Gibson, Walters, Goldstein’ she nodded politely at each of his friends an offered them small smiles.
‘I need to talk to you about the Graduation Ball’ Lily lied smoothly ‘over there’ she gestured to a corner near the bookcases. Waqar nodded and they moved away from his friends. When they got to the bookcases, Waqar went into prefect mode ‘what is it? Do you want me to get the decorations?’ Lily rolled her eyes at how gullible he was sometimes ‘no, Adea’s dress just came in she wants you to see it’ Waqar nodded and Lily cast a glance towards his friends who were watching the pair curiously.
‘Yes, James needs to talk about the decorations, we usually put you, Ravenclaws in charge of it’ she said loudly, his friends did not look quite so interested. Lily rolled her eyes again. She led Waqar out of his common room and they headed towards the Head’s chamber.
When they got into Lily’s room, they found Adea and Kayla excitedly discussing something and Jane running her fingers delicately over the garments. Waqar smiled to see Adea so happy, she positively beamed when she saw him. ‘Waqar! Look, look it’s my dress. Isn’t it beautiful’ she asked elatedly. Waqar glanced at the exquisite dress, which spread over Lily’s double bed. He imagined Adea in it and smiled even more. ‘I think it’s great, can’t wait to see you in it’ Waqar sat on the floor and leaned against the bed. His expression became horrified as the girls moved onto his attire in the wedding.
‘What if we have his hair styled?’
‘Yeah I think a deep gold would work well’
‘No he has to wear a hat sort of thing, so let’s forget about the hair’
‘What about shoes, he has to compliment you Adea’ Waqar looked terrified and became even more fearful as he glanced at the dress and horrible images of him turning up in a light pink suit flew into his head. –Oh lord, no. I am a man, I am a man. I am a man. That’s right, you show those girls- a knocking interrupted his thoughts.
James’ head looked into the room and was surprised at the sight, especially at seeing Waqar there. ‘Oh hello! What’s going on in here, then?’ he asked looking around. Waqar sighed relief. ‘Potter, I need your help’ but James’ eyes had caught the dress and he stared at it in a puzzled manner ‘what’s that?’ he asked.
‘It’s Adea’s wedding dress’ Lily replied happily, James looked shocked. ‘Wedding? Wedding with who?’ the other five exchanged glances. ‘Oh you must know! I’m sure…’ Lily looked at Adea ‘didn’t you tell him?’ Adea shook her head ‘not initially, but after a while I thought you must’ve, didn’t you?’ Lily shook her head in the negative. ‘No, I assumed he knew, it never…came up as such’ the conversing two looked at Jane and Kayla enquiringly, Kayla answered for both of them ‘same’ while Jane looked lightly amused.
James, on the other hand was getting impatient. ‘Tell me what? What are you on about? Someone better tell me right now!’ he ordered, Adea sighed resolutely. ‘James, Waqar and I, well we’ she faltered a little, she glanced at Waqar and he was grinning again. Their childish bravery competition had been recommenced and she started with new vigour. ‘Waqar and I are going to be married this November’ she said firmly and looked at Waqar with a “so there” expression and he returned it with a shrug that screamed “It was okay, I suppose”, he knew it wound Adea up when, he didn’t fully commend her acts of bravery.
James looked like he’d been struck ‘married?’ he repeated, dazed. He looked at Adea and Waqar ‘when…when did you…engaged?’ he tried stringing the words together and failed terribly, but they got what he was saying. ‘Well, we’ve…been engaged of sorts since fourth year’ Adea tried to explain the odd relations. Kayla took hold of it ‘they were promised’ she said bluntly. James’ eyes widened even more.
‘Promised? Are you being forced?’ James asked, scandalised. Adea almost laughed at his expression but contented herself with an amused smile. ‘Nothing like that. We had the last say, and if we had wanted we could’ve pulled out at any given time during the past three years, but we made it I guess’ she said simply. James digested this information and said ‘wow, fourth year. Well if you’re okay with it…’ he trailed off and smiled but thought to himself.
‘So what were you saying Waqar?’ he asked, Waqar remembered his predicament prior to James’ entrance. ‘They’re trying to co-ordinate me!’ he stated, James looked suspiciously at the girls, Waqar elaborated ‘styled hair, gold and shoes’ James looked outraged. ‘Have some mercy woman’ he said to Adea.
Waqar felt braver with an ally. ‘Yeah I’m a man, I refuse to have styled hair for starters!’ he cried
‘Styled hair!’ James repeated
‘I’m not wearing gold!’ Waqar continued
‘No sane man wears gold’ James reiterated, the girls looked at the pair with their eyebrows raised. ‘And I will be picking my own shoes thank you!’
‘That’s right, the man wants his own shoes’ James cried.
The girls laughed ‘Waqar, remember what you said on the train that day. “Just pick something out and hand it to me the night before” I’m taking you up on that. But okay, no styled hair’ Adea said, Waqar groaned and James looked on sympathetically.
The bell sounded and it took but a minute for a herd to establish in the previously empty corridor. Every student milled out to become “just another face” in a sea of black. Remus tried to move as fast as was physically possible; he kept his head down and didn’t look around. The corridor was not a place to look around and spot acquaintances, not in between lessons anyway. It was like a train that never stopped, you had to just break the flow and walk out at your stop.
‘Ugh!’ he heard a feminine voice exclaim quietly beside him, he took no notice, even when she was shoved into his shoulder –most probably by some hurried Ravenclaw- It was a perfectly normal occurrence and people’s states of comfort could not be considered in this regular scene. The girl continued quietly to herself. Remus would not have eavesdropped, but it really was useless in their forced position of closeness.
I wish I could tie you up in my shoes
Make you feel unpretty too
I was told I was beautiful
But what does that mean to you
Look into the mirror who’s inside there
The one with the long hair
Same old me again today (yeah)
The sound made his head snap up but the voice was already trailing away and when he turned his head to the right to take a look, she’d already been carried away, he’d seen black hair swing and contact a third year’s face before he lost all possible sight of her. He tried to look around as much as he could but it was futile. She’d gone.
-I know that voice. It was hers. I was this close. I missed her again; I might’ve been able to ask her who she was and everything. How annoying. Fate is so against this meeting, I don’t see anything wrong with it. May I throw in my knut’s worth? If you must. Stop chasing after another girl; you have a girlfriend, forget that girl. Oh shut up-
Remus continued onwards to Care of Magical Creatures. When he got there he sat on a table with the rest of the marauders. He found it hard to concentrate on what Professor Kettleburn was telling them about. Could that girl be Adea Qureshi?
-No, it can’t be Adea Qureshi. Why not? Nobody’s ever seen her for the seven years we’ve been in this school, that isn’t going to change for me now. So, who could that girl be? She could be anyone. And anyway she couldn’t be Adea Qureshi because Mohsin says he knows her which means she must be in Ravenclaw like we thought. That girl is in Gryffindor. Is there anyone who could know her? -
Remus looked around and his aquamarine eyes caught on Jane, for some reason the back of her head projected him into thoughts of Kayla. He remembered that morning when he asked whose books those had been. All three of them had seemed slightly reserved and nervous, could they know her? He knew there were four beds in that dormitory although there should only be three. Kayla’s, Jane’s and Lily’s old one. Why was that?
A hand was waving in front of him. ‘Moony?’ Remus shook his head and looked to see Sirius staring back at him. ‘Oh sorry’
‘Yeah, yeah fine’ James and Sirius exchanged glances but Remus did not notice, he was still rather lost in his thoughts.
He mutely carried out the tasks Professor Kettleburn had set them, his mind still belonging to another realm. After a while he turned to his friends. ‘Have you two been in the Girl’s dorm?’ they both nodded in response and exchanged confused glances.
‘Have you noticed how there’s an extra bed?’ Remus asked, Sirius frowned ‘what do you mean?’
‘I mean there’s Jane and Kayla and then there’s Lily’s old bed as well but what’s the fourth one for?’ Sirius thought back to the room in question and realisation dawned on his face. ‘Wow. I never spared it a thought really, but you’re right. I don’t see why there should be an extra bed unless…no’ Sirius trailed off, intrigued, Remus nodded as if he understood what his friend had been thinking ‘that’s what I thought as well’
‘It’s not like Dumbledore to put an extra bed in there for no reason’ Sirius commented, Remus agreed but they now looked at James to hear his opinion on the confusing matter. James looked up and inwardly panicked within a second he calmed himself ‘if there’s an extra bed in there, what’s it to us? There’ll be a reason, we don’t have to know’ he said quickly.
‘Calm down, it’s nothing to get stressed about’ Sirius said reassuringly but Remus wasn’t convinced and scrutinised his raven haired friend who quite deliberately averted his gaze.
Once the bell had rung, Remus headed outside to find Kayla for the twenty minute break they spent together. He found his girlfriend resting her back against the trunk of her favourite tree. She looked out upon the other students with an expression of icy indifference. To her right, Lily Evans the Head Girl could just be glimpsed between the curtain of red hair which fell forward as she concentrated on the book she was reading. To Kayla’s left, Jane Swales could be seen lying on the grass reading a Divination book upside down. What Remus hadn’t seen was a pretty Asian girl dart round the back of the tree trunk to sit out of view of the approaching marauder.
Remus sat down in front of Kayla causing her expression to change instantaneously. ‘Hey!’ she cried and leaned forward to give him a small kiss. James and Sirius soon sat down as well, Sirius lay down next to Jane and James put his arm around Lily.
‘So we were just in Care of Magical Creatures and we started to wonder-’ the sound of James clearing his throat cut Remus off mid-sentence. ‘Sirius and I started to wonder’ Remus started again ‘as to why there’s an extra bed in your dorm’ Kayla masked her inner feelings very well, she looked trivially amused and said ‘what a random thing to think about’ Remus persisted onwards, determined to not be distracted.
‘Yes but why?’ Remus asked, Kayla exchanged glances with Lily. Their faces were arranged in very careful amusement and James was rather impressed. ‘I don’t know, it’s just part of our dorm, really’ Kayla said, Remus raised his eyebrows ‘ well I can suggest to have it removed, James-’ but the girls cut him off with a synonymous ‘NO’ Remus looked at them.
‘Why? What’s so special about that bed?’ Sirius asked completely confused. Lily shrugged ‘we just want it to stay’
‘But you don’t even sleep there anymore’ Remus said all he got was a glare from Lily. He ignored it and said ‘you know if we had it taken out, you lot could have a lot more space’
‘We don’t want more space’
‘We just don’t’
‘We’ll be leaving in July, what’s the point? And we’re too used to it’ Lily argued reasonably
‘Exactly, you’re leaving in July so it’ll be good to have your stuff spread out so it’s easier to pack’ Remus said
‘There’s really no point Remus’
‘Why not? I can’t understand why you didn’t have it taken out earlier’
‘We’ve learnt to live with it, we can’t imagine our dorm without our useless spare bed and it’s great for spreading our clothes out when we have dates or parties and stuff’ Kayla said.
‘The bed stays Remus, we don’t have to create a reason to your liking’ said a cool voice that had not spoken yet. Everyone looked at Jane, Lily and Kayla inwardly sighed with relief. When Jane used that tone it meant two things, she was protecting one of her friends and do not argue this any further or you might be bodily harmed’ Remus’ open mouth close immediately and an uneasy sort of silence fell upon them.
Jane rose and headed back to the castle, Lily and Kayla followed her, they both threw dirty looks Remus’ way. James and Sirius stayed sitting, knowing now was not the time to be trailing after their girlfriends. A thought occurred to James. He waited a while until Remus and Sirius had left as well, telling them that he’d meet them later. After they had left, he looked behind the tree trunk and found a face wearing a perfectly angelic smile.
‘You were sitting here the whole time?’ James asked incredulously
‘Yep’ Adea replied brightly. James shook his head despairingly. ‘That was close; Remus is getting seriously suspicious now’
‘Yeah I know but don’t I have the best friends?’ James ignored her question and said ‘what relit the curiosity?’
‘I got squashed against his shoulder and he heard me singing’ she said apologetically
‘Again?’ James groaned
‘You know what you have to do, don’t you?’ James asked
‘Be more careful’
‘No, stop singing’ James quipped, Adea stuck her tongue out. The two of them talked and laughed for a while before they too, got up and left to revise like they knew the others had.
Lily shut the door to her room and walked into the lounge to join James on the sofa. ‘We have to take the prefects’ ideas and turn it into a spectacular graduation ball’ Lily said, James nodded and said ‘yeah we’ll do it later’
‘No way. We are not going to be reaching the frantic state we were in, at Halloween. We plan now; we take the ideas to Dumbledore and we have a wonderfully organised Graduation ball that no one will ever forget, without injuries’ Lily said bossily, James sighed and knew he was fighting a lost battle. ‘Okay so what have they said, I wasn’t listening’ Lily rolled her eyes and took out some parchments.
‘Well I gave the prefects more responsibility and I’m rather proud’ James nodded. ‘the Gryffindors want the hall to be lit by fairies, the dance floor to be marble and the walls, now this is complicated: They want it so that it looks like the normal walls but, when you go near them they become like giant windows and you can look outside where there’s going to be rows upon rows of roses, dahlias, baby breath and (how sweet is this?) lilies’ at this comment James coughed and said something which sounded suspiciously like ‘kiss ups’ Lily ignored him.
‘They want one wall to be different though, one wall has to display flashing pictures, memories from our seven years. The Hufflepuffs have once again come up with a fantastic menu, food from all over the world, here take a look at this’ she handed James a rough copy version of the proposed menu and started off again ‘Ravenclaws worked well with Gryffindors, they’ve coincided to make it dress robes. Seventh years only except for prefects who can come but only with a date. The Slytherins want the Hobgoblins, again’ Lily said the last part with a grimace, James groaned. ‘No, not again, I won’t let them’
Lily thought about it. ‘Well we could change it to Manic Manticores’ she suggested
‘And we’ll tell the Slytherins that the Hobgoblins were unavailable’ James said, Lily nodded ‘that’ll work’ and scratched out the offending band from the parchment and wrote ‘Manic Manticores’ instead.
‘Are we done?’ James asked. Lily shook her head ‘almost. We have to make a speech at this one, it’s required, both of us. Individually. Is that okay, you don’t really have a choice’ James shrugged his shoulders moodily. ‘Well that’s it, now off to Dumbledore’s office’ She got up and looked at James expectantly, who sighed resignedly and rose as well.
They ambled to Dumbledore’s office, conversing lightly along the way. James was annoyed that Lily had interrupted his ‘lazing around’ time. ‘A man has needs Lily!’ he cried
‘What? To sit around and do nothing?’ Lily asked sceptically
‘Exactly’ James retorted
‘How productive’ she said. She walked a little further on so that James had to catch her up but it only took a stride.
‘You’re missing the point here’ James said
‘Oh right of course’ Lily smacked her head theatrically and said monotonously ‘I am very sorry James, how awful of me. I shall never stop you from sitting around and doing nothing ever again,’
‘Thank you, I don’t care if you were being sarcastic-’
‘-which for the record, I was’ Lily filled in but James ignored her ‘I shall still accept your apology as if it was real’ Lily walked on again.
James went behind her and put his arms around her waist ‘are you angry?’ he whispered, Lily’s face took on the ‘what the hell’ expression but James couldn’t see that. ‘James, why would I be angry? That’s just stupid’ James let go of her ‘oh you’ve gone and ruined it. You were supposed to say yes and then we could kiss and make up’ Lily took a deep breath. ‘James, how many times, we’ve been over this. I’m not blonde and I’m not in Hufflepuff’ she said patronisingly. James grinned ‘I know, you’re so much better’
Lily smiled grudgingly as well ‘see; now for that you can have a kiss’ she stood on her tiptoes and gave him a small kiss. They continued walking onwards talking about Hogsmeade trips that would have to be set up and Lily fought with James about letting the girls have two Hogsmeade trips but James couldn’t see the point.
‘But Lily, why?’ James asked for the fourth time
‘Do you know how hard it is to shop for the perfect outfit?’ Lily huffed
‘No, I can’t say that I do’
‘Well of course you don’t, so let me clue you in, it’s hell. Fun but hell nevertheless. I mean half of them will want to buy dress robes, then some will want shoes and some will want to top up their make-up supplies…’ Lily listed but James held up a hand ‘okay, stop! That’s enough. Can’t you lot get that done in one Hogmeade trip?’ he asked once again.
‘No! No, we can’t! It takes forever, James. Please, please, please!’ Lily asked and forced her emerald eyes into an adorable expression. James closed his eyes and sighed, a trick he had learnt only recently. ‘If Dumbledore says it’s okay then fine, if not then no’ Lily smiled at half achieving her motive.
When they got to Dumbledore’s office and said the password (pepper imps), they found that the door to office was not as it usually was, entirely shut. Instead, it was open just a crack and voices could be heard inside. There were two, there was a flustered voice and one completely calm and rational one, Dumbledore’s of course.
‘This is the safest place for them to be, Millicent’ Dumbledore’s calm voice cut through, James leant closer to the door. Lily shook her head vehemently ‘James, we can’t’ she mouthed; James waved a hand and continued to eavesdrop. ‘Dumbledore, are you mad? These families need to be put under Ministry security, immediately!’ he cried.
‘The families certainly, but the children will remain here until the summer holidays, where you will put them under your security and then release them again for September 1st. Hogwarts is the safest place for them’ Dumbledore said
‘Did you not hear me? He wants the best of families we have. The richest, the most powerful, the pure blooded, he wants them gone. The Bones, the Prewetts, the Mckinnons, he has designs for the Simmons later on but they’re not as important, oh and of course the Potters, he wants them all dead’ the Minister cried dramatically. James froze, his eyes widened, Lily was at a loss as to what to do.
‘My dear Millicent, I heard you accurately the first time and I still maintain that the children of those families shall remain in Hogwarts under my personal security until such time as I let them go. And, if which I doubt, but if Voldemort (as he prefers now) wants to kill the Simmons, I suggest you send me the remaining two children, Alethea and Spencer I think, for Kayla and Gabrielle are already under my care, though Kayla not for much longer but all the same.
Oh and I should like to have Allegra Potter transported to the castle as of September as well, it’s imperative that she be allowed to do so’ Dumbledore said in an admirable tone.
Lily couldn’t see the other man’s face but she knew that it must be one of shock. At the mention of his sister, James had tensed up further. ‘Dumbledore, you’ve gone insane. We simply cannot let these families be washed out. You don’t seem to be thinking for what’s best for the children’ but Dumbledore cut him off ‘You may call me mad and indeed insane but you will do kindly not to make insinuations of those sort. I have devoted my life to this school and you know there is nothing so important to me as what’s best for my current and future pupils’ he said calmly but a kind of cool calm that she knew Dumbledore’s voice adopted when he was unhappy.
‘I’m putting my foot down, I’m the Minister for Magic and I’m inclined-’ but Dumbledore cut the Minister off again ‘as I have reminded you on countless occasions Millicent, you may be in charge of the goings on of the magical country but in Hogwarts you have no such authority, that lies solely in my hands. And now I think, it would be tiresome to continue this’ Dumbledore finished. The two seventh years heard a sigh.
‘I suppose I have no choice but to say “as you wish” Now if you’ll excuse me Dumbledore I have things to attend to elsewhere’ Millicent said curtly
‘Then on no account should you let me delay you further’ Dumbledore replied politely. Lily and James had no time to hide and James didn’t look as if he particularly wanted to. The Minister walked out and noticed the two, James particularly. He looked shocked, as the boy in front of him stared defiantly back. Without a word, the Minister walked away hurriedly without a second look.
Lily looked at James nervously, who still hadn’t moved and looked shell-shocked. One sentence kept running through his head over and over again “and of course the Potters, he wants them all dead” Lily bit her lip.
‘James, I-’ Lily started but James shook his head, mistaking her. ‘Just have the fucking trip, Lily’ he said but Lily looked hurt. ‘No, I didn’t mean…I just wanted…I-’ she put a hand on his shoulder but James shrugged it off. ‘I get it, look just go on without me. I need to-just go’ he said passively. Lily opened her mouth. Her heart ached for him and it hurt even more as she remembered that evening she had spent with his family. But she knew he needed this, and the more she clung onto him the more he would try to push her away. So, she nodded and watched him walk away, feeling for the first time so helpless that it most killed her.
With a reluctant heart, Lily walked into the room before her. Dumbledore didn’t look surprised to see her. ‘Miss Evans! Sit down, sit down. You will want to discuss the graduation ball I presume?’ Lily merely nodded. Dumbledore looked at her for a second. ‘Where’s James, Lily?’ he asked quietly. Lily looked up at the headmaster, not knowing what to say.
‘He, he…er, he’s just-he’s busy, needed to think some things through’ Lily finally managed, Dumbledore nodded understandingly and Lily proceeded to explain, albeit half heartedly, the plans for the Graduation Ball.
All that week, Lily thought about James, and became increasingly upset as he still refused to say more than two words to anybody though only Lily knew why. On top of that, the exams were drawing ever closer and while her mind was stuck on James, her mouth was continually ranting about exams.
‘I don’t think I’m ready. Do you know these are the most important tests, we’ll ever take? They determine almost everything. What if, I get all T’s? Even in Charms! What will I do? Where will I go? I’d have to go to a muggle uni and get a muggle degree and get a muggle job! I don’t want to get a muggle job!’ she cried looking at her friends for reassurance. Kayla looked annoyed, Adea resembled a ghost and Jane kept glancing at Adea.
‘Lily!’ Kayla exclaimed. ‘What is the matter with you? You’re not the only one worrying about exams, we all are. I mean, look at Adea, she looks as if she’s about to die’ the brunette jabbed a thumb over her shoulder ‘but you don’t see her biting our heads off about it, could you please just shut up’ she said
‘Thanks Kayla’ Adea said quietly, Kayla looked at her friend apologetically.
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean- well I did, but you know not in a horrible way’ Lily spared a concerned glance for her best friend as well before returning to her previous state. ‘What do you mean, can I please shut up? How can you be so calm? God, I wish I could be like you! What if I freak out so much that I completely mess up all of my exams?’ she asked despairingly
‘Looking very possible right now’ Kayla said tersely, Lily gasped ‘Oh my god!’ she cried.
‘I need to calm down, I need to calm down, I need to calm down. I can’t do it!’ Lily cried. Kayla abruptly grabbed Lily by the shoulders and started to shake her. ‘Lily, get a grip! You’re losing your mind! You’re Head Girl for Christ’s sake, act like one!’ she shouted at the red haired girl while continually shaking her. Jane intervened and prised Kayla’s hands off.
‘Kayla, please refrain from manhandling Lily, she can give you a detention if she wants. And Lily, take a few deep breaths. Inhale, exhale. Inhale, exhale. Now, put it behind you, let your mind be a mass of white space, fresh and ready to absorb new things. Don’t obsess over old things; remember never dwell on anything so that it begins to consume you. You came this close, to letting it swallow you up’ Jane said in a soothing voice. Lily took a final deep breath and smiled gratefully.
‘Thanks Jane, I’m really sorry Kayla’ she apologised, Kayla nodded ‘it’s okay, sorry I had to get aggressive’
‘I don’t blame you. If I was you, I would’ve slapped me’ the girls laughed and continued to walk onwards to the Gryffindor common room. They got to the portrait of the Fat Lady and went through the portrait hole after saying the password (‘advento’). They were all too wrapped up in silent thoughts of exams (and in Lily’s case, James) that they didn’t look behind them.
It was drawing near the seventh year curfew. As it was a Sunday night, most people had gone upstairs to their beds. James sat in the common room with a few of the older students. He sat by the fire, with that brooding expression that so often clouded his features as of late. On entering the common room, Lily walked straight to him.
‘Hey’ she whispered and sat next to him. James didn’t look at her but replied ‘hey’ Lily felt again as she had that day, that great discomfort you experience when you know you are utterly useless in important situations. ‘Where’s Sirius? And Remus, and Peter? Have you talked to them?’ her boyfriend still didn’t look at her.
‘They’re in our lounge. Not really’ James replied shortly
‘Have you told them about…?’ Lily trailed off
‘Oh’ Lily looked at her feet as an awkward silence came upon them. But the silence was cut short by an enquiry from Kayla ‘Lily, where’s Adea?’ she asked quietly. Lily looked around and remembered that she hadn’t seen Adea come in. ‘Where could she be, she was right behind us the whole time’
Jane was near the portrait hole and heard muffled sounds outside. She stepped out of the portrait hole only to climb back in a second later, wild eyed and frantic. ‘Lily! James! Come quick! I found Adea’ she cried and went back outside.
A/n: Sorry about this everybody,look at the dress and then go straight on . The link to Adea’s dress is: http://gallery.bcentral.com/GID4838317P3391255-Womens-Fashions/Bridals-Bridesmaid-Colorful-Collection/Lite-Pink-Orange-Rd-Bridal-Dress.aspx
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