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Chapter 10 : Friends With Those Boys
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Friends With Those Boys
It seemed to James that Lily had quickly regained her academic skill, coming back strong the following day with an impressive performance in Defense Against the Dark Arts. She had been asked to demonstrate defense spells in a duel against their professor, with awe-inspiring results. Professor Toscanini was renowned for her unequaled dueling skills, but Lily managed to block every spell, even a few nonverbal ones, and nearly knock her teacher out with a forceful Disarming spell.
That evening on patrol, she was just as radiant and witty, a complete turnaround from the exhausted, dead beat person she had been the day before.
“Seriously, it’s amazing what a few hours of sleep can do to you, Lily,” James joked as they walked, Lily desperately trying to explain to him the principles of truth potions.
She grinned and shrugged, saying, “Well, it’s a fact proven by muggles that the less sleep you get, the fatter you get, and I didn’t want to take that risk.” James shook his head. “What?” she asked, stopping and turning to him.
“You’re so—“ he began.
“I don’t know,” James faltered, searching for the word. “You’re so bizarre.”
“Should I take that as a compliment?”
“You could, yeah.” He colored slightly at her raised eyebrows.
“You didn’t mean it that way.”
“Of course I di—“
“Liar,” she teased.
“Trust me, I—“
“How can I trust you if you’re a liar?” She spoke with an unexpectedly playful and non-accusing tone.
“How can you trust me if you won’t let me finish my sentences?”
“Okay. I think you’re bizarre in the nicest, most flattering way possible. Happy?”
She nodded, and they began walking again. James and Lily talked the rest of the time they patrolled, of detention, the muggle world, aurors, and adulthood, James revealing that he wanted kids and fully surprising Lily.
“You didn’t think I was the type, did you?” James asked.
Lily faltered, at first trying to piece her words together in a non-offensive way, but failing miserably. “I don’t know, you’re just the kind of person I always imagined would be…well, a swinger who really never settles down throughout his whole life, and lives in one of those hip, fancy London apartments that he can only afford because he has rich parents. And he makes money playing quidditch, but spends it all on really irrational investments, like firewhiskey and really strong cologne and prostitutes.”
James was taken aback. He walked dead silently, baffled by her idea of his future, and how carefully she had thought it through. After what seemed like an age, he spoke uncertainly, “So…is that…that’s what you…you thought I’d…really, a swinger?”
“Sorry, that was mean. I apologize, I’m sure you’ll be absolutely nothing like that in any way whatsoever.” But James wasn’t listening.
“Do I really come off as a swinger-to-be?”
“Well, a bit, yeah,” Lily replied uneasily.
“Because people think I can count the girls I’ve been with on two hands?”
“That could be part of—“
“I can’t, you know,” James informed her. His mouth curved into a smile, “I need to employ the help of a few toes.”
Lily looked somewhat disturbed. “Thank you for sharing, James.”
“Mind you that was a joke.”
Lily appeared to be thinking something through, perhaps whether she could believe him or not. She glanced at James quickly, her brow furrowed, and then whipped her head forward again, exhaling sharply.
“For the record,” James disclosed, “I’m a virgin.”
The awkward silence that always seemed to find the pair, no matter what they were doing, threatened to creep over them once again, but Lily broke it. “I think that might be one of the best kept secrets at Hogwarts.”
James smiled devilishly. “Trust me, I’ve seen much better here.”
“Care to reveal any of them?” Lily asked. They were now standing in front of the Fat Lady.
“Oy! Lily!” Lily heard as she left double Potions on Friday afternoon with Corinne. She spun around to see Sirius coming towards her. “We’re having a snowball fight on the pitch in half an hour, you two want to come?”
“No, Corinne and I were just heading up to the Hospital Wing now,” Lily replied, and began to walk away.
“Well, it is a volunteer position,” Corinne said, smiling at Sirius, “so I guess being there is voluntary, isn’t it?” Lily stopped and turned around, shocked by Corinne’s out of character behavior.
“See Lily? This one’s got it right.” Sirius praised. The other three marauders had walked over and were shoving beanies over their heads. “Besides,” he continued, “this is the perfect opportunity to hurl things at James, and I bet you’ve been longing to do that for a really long time.”
“And,” Peter put in, “it’s not like there’s anything better to do.”
“Cor, the bloke speaks some sense for once in his life!” Sirius exclaimed, making Peter beam.
“All right, I’ll come.” Lily gave in.
“You too then, Corinne?” Sirius asked, turning back to the other girl.
“Of course,” she replied. Lily noticed Sirius’ eyes linger keenly as Corinne walked away.
“Enjoying the view then, Sirius?” Lily asked.
“Bloody well,” Sirius replied, his face glazed over and mouth hanging slightly open.
“Padfoot, we’ll be going now,” James said, tugging on Sirius’ arm as the rest of them walked back to Gryffindor tower to change into their battle clothes.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that girl is bloody fit. Really excellent arse right there.”
“Girl presently in the area, thank you,” Lily proclaimed. Peter giggled and put a hand over his mouth.
“Ah Lily, but you’re like a brother to me,” Sirius said, putting an arm around Lily, “except with knockers.”
“And you’re like a sister with bollocks, Sirius,” Lily retorted, shoving Sirius’ arm off her.
“Stop it, Lil, you’re making me feel all warm and happy!”
“No, love, I believe you’ve only pissed yourself,” Lily replied. At this point, Peter was shaking uncontrollably with laughter and James had found himself chuckling as well.
After seven flights of stairs and what seemed an age of jokes about Sirius losing control of his bowels, the five of them reached the Gryffindor common room and split off to their respective dormitories.
When everyone arrived at the snow-covered quidditch pitch, it appeared that Corinne had told the majority of the seventh year Ravenclaws about the fight, and Sirius had alerted all of the Gryffindors.
“Well then,” Sirius said as everyone congregated around him, all decked out in somewhat mismatched muggle snow clothing, “there’s only one way to split up the teams at this point, am I right? Lions versus Eagles then. No dueling, no eye gouging, and may the best bitches and wizards prevail, savvy? Excellent, let’s go.”
Snowball fights at Hogwarts were nothing like the throwing games put on by muggle children on snow days. At Hogwarts, one was a fool to throw a snowball. It was a much better idea to bewitch them to double their density and hit certain players in the head or crotch repeatedly before collapsing. Of course, this made snowball fights much more hazardous, especially when played among the smart-but-reckless types like the Marauders.
Sirius was by far the best in the game, at one point cursing Ravenclaw’s snowballs to explode when touched, and later guiding a snowball into Corinne’s shirt, making her writhe and yelp with cold until she could get it out. James also impressed with a remarkably powerful shield charm that surrounded Gryffindor’s whole base and blocked any incoming shots. However, no one could throw anything at Ravenclaw either, so he ceased using it.
It was dusk before Ravenclaw surrendered. The game had drawn a crowd, and it had waned as the smell of dinner washed over the grounds. Everyone staggered into the Great Hall tired, hungry, and rosy cheeked, their once sopping wet clothes magicked dry by some of the more charm-savvy players, Lily included.
“Aren’t you glad you ditched the Hospital Wing?” James asked Lily as he took a seat next to her.
“I guess so, yeah,” Lily replied. “Hey, you’re not bad with a wand.”
“You’re okay yourself.”
A loud clang of metal on glass made every head in the room turn towards the front of the Hall, where Dumbledore was standing and wearing his perpetual oddball grin.
“Now, I always love a good snowball fight, and a few of the professors and I witnessed an exceptional display this afternoon by the seventh years of Gryffindor and Ravenclaw.” A few shouts erupted from the tables, and Dumbledore waited for them to fade before continuing. “There were some especially advanced spells coming from both sides, and for that I award both Ravenclaw and Gryffindor twenty points.” A louder roar burst out. “And for their victory, I award Gryffindor an extra ten points.”
The Gryffindor table exploded in applause, Sirius standing up and cheering obnoxiously, yelling, “That’s fucking right!”
Dumbledore chuckled and cleared his throat. “Mister Black, if you would sit down, please. Now nosh away, my students!”
Lily and Corinne sat idly in the Hospital Wing on Sunday afternoon, picking at their nails and levitating the sickbed pillows. There wasn’t a patient in sight.
“Hey,” Corinne spoke, her words ringing in the stark quiet of the room, “excellent match yesterday. I thought it was really fun.”
“Yeah, me too,” Lily said dully.
“Sirius was really good, wasn’t he?”
“I know how you’re good friends with those boys, and you know, I was wondering if you would happen to know whether or not, you know, Sirius has a girlfriend?” Lily looked up to see Corinne glancing about the room awkwardly, as if to appear casual.
“I don’t believe that he does, no.”
“Oh, okay then.”
“That’s, you know, that’s good...and because, well yes, that’s fine.”
Lily met Sirius and James on her way out of the Hospital Wing. Both had cuts on their faces and gruesome bruises, but acted as if they were perfectly all right.
“What are you two doing?” Lily asked.
“We’re bored,” James replied, scratching his head.
“And so we’ve faked some minor injuries to get ourselves into the Wing,” Sirius continued.
“Because it’s sleeting outside and we have nothing better to do except pretend to be ill,” James added.
“Cor, that’s genius,” Lily said, words dark with sarcasm.
“It was all Padfoot’s idea, to tell you the truth,” James told her.
“Yeah, ‘cept now there’re probably no people in there, so there’s really no use in going. Let’s go nick some food from the kitchens instead. You want to come, Lil?”
“No, I’m all right. I don’t require eight meals a day to survive.”
“Fine then, ciao. Now come along, m’love, lets go gorge ourselves until we throw up our brains, shall we?” Sirius proposed, linking arms jovially with James and attempting to skip down the stairs with him. However, he ended up tripping five steps down and clinging to his friend for dear life. James turned his head back to Lily as he escorted Sirius down the stairs and raised his eyebrows in mock excitement.
She had hardly made it up two more flights of moving staircases before she encountered Alice Winchcombe.
“Lily! I’ve been looking for you! I was just on my way down to check the Wing, but I guess you’re not there, are you? Anyways, I have a message for you,” she said, handing Lily a white piece of paper.
“Thanks Alice,” Lily said, opening the note as Alice continued to descend the stairs.
Please report to my office as soon as possible.
PS: I do like jelly slugs.
The urgency in Dumbledore’s letter was unmistakable, his scrawl messy and nearly indecipherable. After reading it twice, Lily bounded up the stairs two by two, her breathing becoming labored as she scaled. She thought fleetingly that she should probably try to get more exercise, for her lack of breath, before refocusing on the more critical task at hand.
“Jelly slugs,” she gasped, clutching her side as she reached the gargoyle. It politely moved aside, allowing her to trudge up the last, winding flight of stairs to Dumbledore.
He sat at his desk with his hands folded, his eyes staring somberly over his half-moon spectacles. “Sit down,” Dumbledore said, motioning to the chair before him. Lily obliged, still trying to catch her breath as she took a seat. Her fingers tapped on the armrest as she impatiently waited for Dumbledore to reveal her reason for sprinting up the stairs.
The headmaster took a long, deep breath before speaking.
“I’m afraid,” he said, “that I have some grave news.”
A/N The purpose of this chapter was to de-awkward-ize (nice word, yes, I know) James and Lily slightly, give Sirius a bigger role, and hit you all over the head with a cliffhanger.
I'd love to get your opinion on this chapter!
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