Chapter 26 : "I Successfully Manipulated A Hundred House-elves!"
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A/N: Missus Padfoot: Hello to all!!! Missus Moony: We finally got ch. 26 up! Again, sorry for the delay - extremely busy college students!! Missus Padfoot: But we have great news!!! You know how last summer we were apart cause we both went home and so there was a serious lackage of updating? Missus Moony: Have no fear, cause we're both staying here at school for the summer!! Missus Padfoot: Yay for summer semester! So yeah, we're going to keep writing all summer long and you'll still get plenty of us! Missus Moony: We know that summer seems a long way off, but our school ends at the end of April, so it's really not that far away. Missus Padfoot: Ok, anyway, about this chapter - we know that things are moving kinda slow in the love department, but trust us, this has to be done! Missus Moony: We know what we're doing, and it's all part of the plan. And plus things'll be moving faster in the next couple of chapters, so never fear! Missus Padfoot: Ok, enough rambling, enjoy the chapter, it's a good one! Missus Moony: And review, please, you guys are awesome!
Chapter 26: “I Successfully Manipulated A Hundred House-elves!”
Lily let out a long, painful sigh as she headed down an empty corridor in the direction of the Gryffindor common room. It wasn't like she hadn't been expecting James to treat her like garbage after what she had done to him, but that didn't mean that James' harsh words didn't hurt.
'It's ironic really,' Lily thought somewhat bitterly, 'that the moment I actually have feelings for James Potter, he turns around and absolutely hates my guts. This is great. Just great! I blew it! James is never going to like me again because of how awful I've been to him and now I just get to suffer for the rest of this school year pining for him while he's off with Daphne doing god-knows-what. But honestly, what was I expecting? That James would take me into his arms the moment he saw the hurt in my eyes, dump Daphne, and just snog the living daylights out of me?'
“Yeah, very realistic, Lily,” she said aloud. What was wrong with her? Two days ago, all she could think about was how bloody James Potter was the scum of the earth and how she had hated him with every fiber of her being. But wait – did she ever actually hate him? All he ever did was just be annoying and incredibly arrogant. But at the same time he had always been sweet to her and practically everyone in the entire school worshiped him, with the exception of the Slytherins. Not to mention that it really wasn't in Lily's nature to hate anyone – she could get along with almost everyone! Perhaps this whole time Lily's relationship with James Potter had been one of those love/hate kind of things.
Lily suddenly stopped in the middle of the long corridor, her eyes wide with realization.
“Oh my god, I've liked him since 5th year!”
“Ha, I could have told you that!”
Lily gasped and whipped around to come face to face with Sirius Black, who was softly chuckling and looking at her with his dark eyes that were glinting with amusement.
“Sirius! How long have you been following me?” Lily asked apprehensively as she put her hand over her heart to try to alleviate her rapidly beating heart.
“No worries, hon, I've only been here for about -” Sirius looked down at his watch, “oh, two minutes and twenty-three seconds.” He looked up at Lily and gave her a cheeky little grin. “And don't worry, this whole stalking thing is a one time event.”
“Great, so now you think that I'm crazy cause you heard me talking to myself,” Lily rolled her eyes as she started to walk down the hall again, with Sirius beginning to walk by her side.
“Oh, I already knew you were crazy – crazy in love with James Potter!” Sirius said teasingly.
“Okay, wait, how did you know about that?! Did Marissa or Rebecca spill the beans?”
“If I do say so myself, it's pretty obvious that you fancy him. And Marissa might have mentioned it last night when she was drunk off her arse, but I just can't seem to remember...”
“Alright, I get the picture. Jeez, I can't tell her anything anymore!” Lily flung her hands out in frustration.
“That or maybe you should stop giving her Firewhiskey.” Sirius chuckled.
Lily laughed as well. “Yeah, that would solve a lot of problems!”
As the two sobered up, Sirius surprised Lily by doing something that she had never seen him do before – he became very serious and began to give her advice like a good friend.
“Look, Lily, I know that James has been a huge jerk to you lately, (I mean, come on, he's being a jerk to everyone,) but I think that you need to sit him down and talk to him. Tell him how you feel! I know that if he just knew that you had feelings for him, he'd dump Daphne in a second!”
Lily shook her head. “I can't, Sirius. I've said too many terrible things to him for the past two years that he probably will never forgive me and never want to be with me. I've screwed things up too much! My pride and blindness have just gotten too much in the way.” She looked down at her feet as she walked.
Sirius looked at her with pity in his eyes. “Okay, well, what if I talked to him?”
Lily laughed bitterly. “You think he'd believe you, let alone listen to you?”
“Hmm. You've got a point.”
“Listen, Sirius, I appreciate you trying to help me and all, but I really think that it's too late.” Lily looked up at him and smiled sadly. “But hey, I've excepted it. I'll get over it... someday.”
'Wow,' thought Sirius, 'she really has fallen for James!'
They continued down the corridor with a calm silence between them. Lily suddenly turned her head toward Sirius and gave him a true grin.
“So what about you and Marissa? I don't mean to pry, but do you still have feelings for her?”
Sirius let out a bark of laughter. “Ha, that girl. Since we're being all buddy buddy for once, I'll tell you – I just can't stop thinking about her. But all she ever gives me is two weeks every time and then she dumps me like a sack of flour.”
“Maybe she's just scared,” Lily suggested. “I know that she doesn't hold on to any guy for very long, but look at it this way – you're the only guy that she dated more than twice. You guys have dated so many times, I know she has more feelings for you than any other guy she's been with. If she didn't, she wouldn't have dated you so many times!”
Sirius shrugged. “I guess you're right.”
“I think that what she just needs right now is for you to be her friend more than anything. She still definitely needs you in her life and you need her! And if you're friends, that's better than nothing at all, right?”
Sirius slowly nodded his head in understanding. “Yeah, I think I'll give friendship a try!” Sirius' debonair smile crept across his face. “And if we happen to have the occasional non-committal snog, so be it!”
Lily laughed and shook her head.
“Hey, thanks for talking to me, Sirius,” Lily suddenly said as they neared the Fat Lady. “You're a good friend, you know that?” She then surprised them both by giving him a quick hug.
“Only when you let me be one, Evans!” Sirius chuckled, somewhat awkwardly patting her head. Lily blushed as she let go of Sirius, realizing that she had just become friends with the one guy in Hogwarts who she thought she would never in a million years get close to. She then muttered a quick goodbye and scurried into the Gryffindor common room. Sirius smiled as he started to climb through the portrait hole himself.
'That girl deserves to be the happiest girl in the world,' thought Sirius. 'So, sorry, Prongs, but Daphne has got to go.'
James wandered the halls after his talk with Lily, deep in thought about what they had discussed. He wanted to believe his sister was still innocent and hadn’t been used by Remus, but he couldn’t get his mind past the conversation he’d overheard in the Great Hall that morning at breakfast.
His first warning should have been seeing his sister rushing out of the great hall, blushing and not meeting anyone’s eyes, but he was further thrown off kilter when even after asking if he was going to get a morning hug from her, Rebecca mumbled some excuse about the library and ran off down the corridor, not even remotely heading towards the library. He had merely shrugged and headed toward the Gryffindor table , angling towards his friends despite the fact they were on strained terms right now. James could remember vaguely hearing a commotion from his group of friends as he approached them.
“You shagged Rebecca?!”
James’ s view was suddenly attuned with that of his werewolf friend, who was sitting there blushing as if he hadn’t revealed the night before that he was in love with James’ current girlfriend, and then proceeded to take advantage of Rebecca’s weakness for him and use her. Making her no better than a whore that had been bought for services because of Remus’ inability to approach a different girl and because Rebecca just so happened to be the twin of the boy he had cursed the night before.
James barely noticed passing students in the hallway, or even which direction he was heading as he continued to remember the sight of his sister’s downcast eyes and Remus’ blush at Marissa’s announcement.
James was abruptly torn out of his thoughts when he suddenly ran right into the subject of his musing, almost knocking the two of them down the stairs.
“Ouch, James! Why don’t you watch where you’re going?” James’ gaze quickly snapped towards his sister’s face and let his gaze sweep over her. She looked no different than she had the day before, and calmer than she had this morning, but he couldn’t resist probing, just to make sure.
“Rebecca! Where’d you run off to this morning? You looked… uh, upset about something.”
Rebecca just laughed nervously. “Oh, it was nothing, I was just really tired and went and took a nap, just woke up actually.”
They both stood awkwardly until James couldn’t reign himself in any longer.
“Don’t you want to tell me something?”
Rebecca looked startled and stared at her brother. “No… is there a reason you’re asking?”
“Didn’t something happen between you and Remus last night?” Rebecca was now blushing, but still trying to figure out where this was heading. “He didn’t … er, take you did he?”
Rebecca's mouth dropped open in shock.
“James Potter!!! I can’t believe you’d ask me that!!!” Rebecca scolded her brother. James quickly tried to defend himself.
“I just need to know what happened between the two of you, to know if he used you or not.”
Rebecca’s jaw dropped, if possible, farther.
“James, nothing happened between us!! I was drunk off my arse last night in the middle of the corridor and he brought me back to the common room!! I can’t believe you would think something like that about your best friend!!!”
James sputtered incoherently for a moment before he could digest Rebecca’s vehement denial of any involvement between her and the werewolf.
“So you're sure? Nothing happened at all?”
Rebecca growled and proceeded to cuff her brother’s head. “Damn it, James, is this why the whole group has been giving me nervous looks ever since I got up? Nothing happened between the two of us! Remus didn’t ‘use’ me, especially since he doesn’t know anything about how I feel about him.” Leveling a murderous glare at James, Rebecca continued. “And he’s going to stay in the dark about any existing feelings for him, correct?”
James swiftly nodded and tried to subtly cower away from his twin - last time he’d teased her when she looked like this he’d ended up in the infirmary with hairy spots growing all over him.
“James,” Rebecca sighed, “Remus has been your friend for seven years, so I suggest you go and apologize for whatever you’ve said to him. It’s not worth seeing that many years of close companionship end just because you jumped to conclusions.”
Sputtering, it was James’ turn for his jaw to drop. “How in the blazes did you know I’d said something to him if you’ve been asleep all afternoon?!?”
Rebecca just smirked and folded her arms smugly. “Because, being the hot-headed idiot you are, you probably rushed in and valiantly defended my virtue against the perpetrator.”
James couldn’t help laughing with Rebecca as the two stood in the corridor, and for the first time since his major argument with his friends, he was able to feel the suffocating weight of his problems melt away.
He was surprised, then, when Rebecca glanced at her watch and then muttered “Shit!” before giving James a quick hug and tearing down the corridor.
Befuddled, James called out to his rapidly disappearing sister. “Where the hell are you going?” Rebecca merely shouted out “The Great Hall!!” before turning a corner and out of James’ sight.
“But that’s the wrong way to … oh, never mind, it’s probably hormones or something of the like,” James mumbled before heading off towards the direction of Great Hall.
The Great Hall buzzed with excitement as the students settled into their seats for the start of the Halloween Feast. The Hall looked magnificent. Hagrid had really outdone himself this year with the giant jack-o-lanterns that were floating over the heads of the students. Orange and black magical streamers were tangled in a delicate, intricate design that covered all the walls and glitter was gently falling from the ceiling but ceased to touch any of the tables.
Lily and Marissa were just sitting down at the huge Gryffindor table when the Halloween Feast magically appeared before their eyes.
“I hope Rebecca got down to the kitchens in time,” Marissa whispered to Lily, looking slightly anxious.
Lily rolled her eyes. “Well, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if she didn’t. Personally, I’d be so happy if she didn’t get down there in time and your whole plan was ruined. This prank is not a good idea.”
“Oh, stuff it, Lily!” Marissa retorted as she helped herself to some apple dumplings. “We didn’t actually tell you what we’re doing so no one can pin it on you, so don’t you fret your little head. Besides, what we do for fun is our business.”
“Yes, but the Marauders will think that I had something to do with it, so the next time they pull a prank on you, it’ll be on me too!” Lily whined. “Not to mention that the odds of you getting caught and expelled are extremely high and I don't want Dumbledore to have any inclination to think that I had done anything to help you guys!”
Just then, Rebecca came running down the Hall and plopped herself down next to Marissa.
Marissa wheeled around in her chair with excitement and asked in a hushed tone, “So, did you do it?”
Still breathing heavily from her sprint, Rebecca nodded with a satisfied grin. “Yep! I just successfully manipulated a hundred house-elves!”
“Excellent!” Marissa whispered, looking relieved. “Now all we have to do is wait for the opportune moment!” She glanced down the table to where Sirius, Remus, and Peter were sitting and rubbed her hands together in a sort of evil way.
“Great! Well, while we wait, I’m going to stuff my face with some of this fantastic food – I’m starving!” Rebecca said as she looked hungrily around the table, wondering where she should start.
Lily looked between the two girls with anxiety written all over her face. “Oh, honestly! Do you really think this prank will work? Have you really worked out every kink and thought this through thoroughly? Do you honestly think that you won’t get caught?” She hissed, keeping her head low, and looking from side to side, paranoid that someone was eavesdropping.
Rebecca looked up from her plate at Marissa and asked with her mouth full of food, “Huh? What did she say?”
“Hell if I know,” Marissa replied, looking back and forth between her food and the Marauders. “I stopped listening to her the moment she said, ‘Oh, honestly!’ She probably just lectured us on how the prank isn’t going to work.”
Lily looked shocked that she had been so rudely ignored. “Hello? Still here! You’re talking as if I can’t hear you! Please, you guys, don’t go through with this! If you’re caught…” Lily drowned on as Marissa and Rebecca ceased to listen to her and concentrated on their food, waiting for the right moment to unleash the prank.
Meanwhile, James Potter was having trouble concentrating on his food, as well as his babbling girlfriend.
'Maybe Rebecca and Lily are right,' he thought as picked at his pumpkin soup. 'I’ve been acting like a jerk to Remus. I mean, he’s my best friend, right? Would he really take advantage of my sister just to get back at me? I mean, it’s Remus! He’s never even kissed a girl, let alone slept with one! He would have been scared to death!'
James let out a little chuckle.
“… which, if you ask me, the girl was totally and completely insane – oh, I’m sorry, Jamsie, did you say something?” Daphne cut into James’ thoughts.
“Huh?” James said dumbly. “Oh, uh, no. Please, continue with your story!”
Daphne smiled widely at him. “Oh, okay! So, like I was saying, this girl was totally off her rocker and I said to her…”
'Jeez, now I feel like such a prick! Remus has always been there for me and I treated him like crap! Some friend I am! I steal his girl (who I still say that I had every right to because he never told me) and then I tell him rotten lies and then believe that he slept with my sister just for spite! I think I should go apologize to him… and to Sirius.'
With a new resolve and all his anger completely washed away, James set down his spoon and got up.
Daphne looked up at him in surprise. “Jamsie, where are you going? I’m not finished with my story!”
“Don’t worry, love,” James replied, kind of talking to her like she was a little first-year. “I’ll be back. I’m just going to go sit over with my friends for a little bit, okay? You can tell me the rest of your story when I get back.” He then leaned over and gave her a quick peck.
“Oh, okay!” Daphne said happily and then turned to her friend next to her and continued to talk like crazy.
James raised his eyebrows and breathed in deeply as he turned around to walk towards the Gryffindor table where Sirius, Remus, and Peter were sitting.
Lily, who had been shamelessly lecturing Marissa and Rebecca this whole time, stopped dead in her ranting when she saw James walking over towards Remus. “Okay, if you’re waiting for the opportune moment – it’s now. James is walking towards Remus and it’s probably not going to be pretty.”
Marissa and Rebecca’s heads both whipped around to see James just reaching Remus.
“Oh, shit,” whispered Marissa as she pulled out her wand. “Er, yeah, let’s do it now!”
Rebecca pulled out her wand too and with an evil grin said, “Oh, this is going to be priceless.”
Marissa and Rebecca huddled together with their heads down and their wands’ tips almost touching. “Okay, ready?” whispered Marissa. “One, two, three.” The tips of their wands touched as they both at the same time thought the non-verbal modified spell, ‘Sonorous acroamicite ingressusio populus!’
A/N: Both Missus: OMG, CLIFFIE!!!!! *Evil, manic laughter* Missus Padfoot: We're sorry, it was too good to pass up. Missus Moony: Psh, I'm not sorry!!! Mwahaha! Missus Padfoot: So yeah, please tell us what you think! And just to tell you, next chapter is hilarious, so yeah, have fun stewing in your anxiety to find out what happens next! Missus Moony: Hee... I love being evil.
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