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Chapter 12 : Chapter Twelve: The "truth"
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He would have no chance with her, now that he would be the laughing stock of the school. After about twenty minutes of standing there contemplating exactly what was going to happen, he strained to try and move some part of his body. The spell had lessened very slightly and he was able to move his right hand a half an inch to the left. He felt the very tip of his pinky graze the very end of his wand through his robes. It wasn’t much, but it was something.
He summoned all his willpower and thought the counter curse as thoroughly and directly as he could. It was as if invisible ropes had finally been cut from him. He was able to move again, but his whole face was sore and bruised, along with his stomach. His leg was sensitive to touch and throbbed whenever he put weight on it. He muttered the password and slowly limped forward.
Lily awoke with a sudden start. She had begun patrolling at ten o’clock until her shift ended at eleven. She had gone back to the head dorm and gone to sleep assuming that James had taken over until his shift ended at midnight. But as she sat up in bed she had a feeling that something wasn’t right. She looked out the window; dawn was approaching.
Lily groaned and tried to go back to sleep. She wanted to get as much rest as possible. Right before she drifted off she heard something come into the common room. Lily was so drowsy that she figured that it must be her imagination. But then the noise came again…but it sounded like the thing was moving very slowly, as if they didn’t want anyone to know that they were there. She realized that she had to do something. Someone could be trying to break in or something. She slowly slid out of bed and picked up her wand from the bedside table. She cautiously opened the door, afraid of what she’d find out there.
“Lumos,” she whispered.
There stood James, covered in dirt and blood.
“Oh my God James, what happened?” she ran over to help him walk.
He unsuccessfully tried to smile, “Go back to bed Lily, I’m fine.”
“Don’t tell me you’re fine. You’re covered in blood!” She ran into the bathroom and began wetting towels.
“It’s not that big of a deal Lily,” he called after her, “I just had a little reunion with Snivellus.” It was half the truth. But he wasn’t going to tell her about Remus…and she wouldn’t have bought that he fell down the stairs.
“Well then why didn’t you start yelling and wake up the whole castle?” asked Lily, coming out with an armload of damp towels and a bottle of peroxide.
She threw one to him and he began gingerly wiping his face, “He paralyzed my entire body. I could barely blink.”
She started soaking cotton balls with peroxide, “Then how did you get out?”
“Nonverbal spells,” he eyed the bottle of peroxide, “Don’t start pouring that muggle medicine on me!”
She looked at him skeptically, “Unless you want to admit to madam Pomphry that you got beaten up by Snape then you’re using this. It prevents you from getting sick.”
He reluctantly rolled up his sleeve and held out his arm. She began dabbing at the cuts and abrasions lining his arms. He sucked in his breath slightly and the unexpected sting and fizzing. Lily conjured some ice out of thin air, wrapped it in a towel and handed it to James to ease the swelling around his face.
He closed his eyes and allowed the ice to relieve the pain. Lily’s voice broke the silence, “Hey James?”
He kept his eyes closed, “Yeah?”
“Did you say Snape did this all to you?”
“Yes,” he said absentmindedly.
“But this is a bite on your ankle. It doesn’t look human…”
James sat up quickly and pretended to look at it curiously, “ Oh yeah…that…well I…In care of magical creatures the other day Professor Kettleburn had these animals that we had to feed. One of them clamped down on my leg. When Snape kicked it, it started bleeding again. No big deal.”
Lily looked at him suspiciously. She didn’t fully believe he was telling her everything, but she didn’t have anything to prove that he was lying, “I see. It looks painful.”
He put on a brave sort of smile, “Nah.”
“Are you going to report Snape?” asked Lily.
“Why? He could get in a lot of trouble for attacking the headboy.”
“I’m not a snitch. Besides I don’t have anything to prove it.”
“Well, what are you going to tell the people who ask you about what happened to your face? That’s a good size bruise,” she smiled, “I could but some makeup on it for you…”
“Uh…no, that won’t be necessary. I’ll just tell them I fell down the stairs.”
Lily smirked, “Like they’ll believe you.”
“Who are they going to believe? Me, the headboy…or that slimy git, Snivellus.”
She held up her hands and stood up, “I give up. I’m getting dressed. I advise you to take a shower.”
Lily sat on her bed thinking to herself. Why had she helped James? She quickly ruled out the option that she liked him. She was definitely certain of that, although she could not deny that he had changed. He was different. He wasn’t the same person who had chased after her everyday, making snide comments. This year he seemed a lot more collected. He was more mature and finally, after six years, had started treating her like a normal person. It was really something. The realization hit her like a rock. She was tolerating James. She had actually accepting him as an acquaintance, maybe even a friend…no, no, after six years of arrogance, acquaintances was as far as she was willing to accept. But then, why had she helped him? It was because he was hurt. She wasn’t going to walk past someone who was bleeding on the carpet. Satisfied with her answer she began picking out some clothes.
Lily walked out of her room fully dressed with her school bag slung over her shoulder just as James came out of his room rubbing his head with a towel. Although all the traces of dirt and blood were gone from his face, there was still a mass amount of purple bruising.
“Are you sure they’re going to buy your tripping down the stairs story?”
“Of course,” he checked his watch, “It’s getting late. Classes start in fifteen minutes. I want to get something to eat beforehand. Let’s go.”
They were interrupted by a frantic knocking on the portrait hole door.
Lily went over to answer it and Sirius, Remus, and Peter ran in towards James.
Peter gasped, “Merlin, it’s true!”
Lily walked back into the room with her arms crossed, a knowing look on her face, “What’s true?”
Sirius looked at her, and then back at James, “Everyone’s talking about it in the Great Hall! Snape said that you tried to attack him last night and he beat the shit out of you.”
Lily look at him with one eyebrow arched slightly, “I told you falling down the stairs wouldn’t fly…”
“We didn’t believe him,” said Remus quickly, “But we came here to check on you anyways… and well…your face…” he trailed off.
James swore, “Now what am I going to do?” he looked around the room, “I forgot my Transfiguration book,” he muttered before stalking off to his room leaving his friends and Lily behind.
Sirius started to go after him but Remus held out his arm, “Give him a minute.”
They heard footsteps at the doorway and saw Emma, Sarah, and Alice walk it. They hurried over to Lily and started whispering, “Is it true?”
“Snape said James fought like a girl…”
“It was quite offensive actually.”
“Did he really start crying?”
Lily looked up and saw that James’ friends were watching her closely, also wanting to know the answer to these questions.
She sat down on the couch and they all gathered around her. She threw a nervous look at James’ closed door and back to all the eager faces surrounding her.
She lowered her voice, “Okay, here’s what he told me. Apparently he was heading back to the head dorm from spending the early hours of the morning with you guys,” she motioned towards Sirius, Remus, and Peter, “He was right outside here when Snape jumped out of the shadows and paralyzed him with the Petrificus Totalus. So, yes, Snape did beat up James. But he couldn’t even fight back. It wasn’t a fair fight…”
Sarah looked at her in horror, “Oh how horrible. I feel so bad for James…”
Lily agreed, “Yes it was terrible…but tell me,” she directed her gaze towards the three boys in front of her, “What were you guys doing so early in the morning. James didn’t get back until nearly six in the morning…”
The boys looked at each other nervously. Sirius cleared his throat, “Oh, we were just going over old times. Discussing old memories. Before we knew it the clock read five thirty in the morning.”
Lily knew that they weren’t telling the truth, but she also knew that they wouldn’t tell her anything.
James came out again carrying his book, “Okay, I think I know what to do…”
“What?” asked Emma.
“Okay, what if I were just to play it like everything’s normal, like nothing happened?”
“People would still laugh at you…” said Peter.
“Well what else could I do?” asked James irritably.
“I know that there’s this stuff that you can buy that gets rid of bruises,” said Sarah, “But I don’t have any…”
James’ face lit up, “But Madam Pomphry does.”
“How are you going to get across the school without anyone seeing you?”
James immediately thought of his invisibility cloak. Lily didn’t know about the cloak so he couldn’t do it in front of her. He put on a big smile and discreetly winked towards his friends, “Why don’t you guys go to class. I don’t want you to be late on my behalf.”
Lily and her friends gave him weird looks, but then left anyways.
As soon as they left James turned towards his friends, “I’ll go under the invisibility cloak to the Hospital Wing. You guys will go with me and distract Madam Pomphry while I look for the stuff that makes bruises go away.”
“That could work,” said Remus slowly, “But we’ll have to do it fast. We want to get back so that everyone can see your face looking normal…Hurry, let’s go…”
James bolted back into his room and came back a second later holding the silvery cloak in his hand, “Okay, stay close to me. I don’t want us to get separated. But if we do just go to the Hospital Wing and keep Madam Pomphry away from her office.”
He threw the cloak over his shoulders and began walking towards the portrait hole. The other boys hastened to follow him, trying to keep up with where he should be.
They hallways were crowded as students stood around and talked with their friends. James had used the cloak so often that he was able to glide underneath arms and around outstretched fingers. When he reached the Hospital Wing he saw Sirius, Remus, and Peter panting behind him.
Sirius winked towards his friends and then staggered into the room before him. He threw his hand across his forehead dramatically, “Oh, Madam Pomphry, I don’t feel well at all. I think I’m going to…going to—,” he collapsed to the floor.
The startled nurse dropped her papers on her desk and hastily ran over to help Remus support the unconscious Sirius to a bed.
James silently slipped into the office and began frantically looking at the labels on the bottles. There was something for every malady and injury that was possible, but he couldn’t find anything for bruises.
From the other room he heard Madam Pomphry call over her shoulder, “I’ll get a potion that will bring him back. It will just be a minute.”
James was able to close the cabinet doors stand under the cloak just as she came bustling in. She opened the medicine cabinet and began expertly moving bottles around. She pulled out a tall, blue container that was etched with silvery letters, Revivo.
When she left James started breathing again. He walked over to the cabinet and saw to his delight that when Madam Pomphry took out that big bottle it had a smaller container behind it that said Bruise Away. He grabbed it and hurried over to the mirror. He checked over his shoulder and saw that the nurse was busy with measuring out the potion for Sirius, who was lying on the bed with a very convincing ‘knocked out’ look on his face.
James took off the hood of the cloak so that just his face was visible and rechecked the label to make sure it really was for bruises. Then he hastily began applying it all over his face. Before his eyes the bruises began to shrink and the color began to blend in with his normal flesh tones. Within a span of twenty seconds his face looked back to normal.
He walked back out just as Madam Pomphry was trying to force Sirius’s jaw open, “This I one powerful boy. I don’t see how he’s able to keep it shut, seeing as he’s unconscious,” she tried pulling some more but Sirius was putting up a good fight. Around him Peter and Remus were trying to hold in their laughter.
James decided that since his friends did him a favor he’d do them one. He made sure that no one was looking and then pulled off the invisibility cloak.
He strode over to where they were all gathered, “I thought I might find you guys here. Did Sirius eat something funny for breakfast?” he tipped a large wink towards Remus and Peter. Madam Pomphry didn’t notice.
At these words Sirius twitched and wearily opened his eyes. He put on a groggy voice and said, “What happened?”
“You fainted dear,” answered Madam Pomphry kindly, “I think you’d better stay a while—,”
“No!” said Sirius, looking faintly alarmed, “I…I just stayed up late last night. It won’t happen again.”
The nurse looked at him doubtfully, “Be sure it doesn’t. Well, off you go.”
They hid their smiles as they walked out of the Hospital Wing.
“I nearly had a heart attack when she said that she was going to the back room,” said Peter quickly.
“Yeah, I know,” said James, “I’m glad I heard her say it, otherwise, I don’t know what would have happened.
“Your face looks perfectly normal James,” said Remus, “Everyone is noticing.”
It was true. As the four of them walked through the hallways on their way to potions people were stopping in the middle of their conversations and looking at his bruise-free face. Nearly every person had the same reaction. They would turn and stare at him. Then their eyebrows would furrow and it would take about a second for it to click into place. And then finally they would turn to whomever they were speaking with and start whispering.
“That Snape guy must’ve been lying—,”
“Where are all the bruises?”
“If Snape kicked his ass then why can’t we see it?”
“His face looks perfectly normal. That idiot Slytherin with the greasy hair planted some fairytale in our head. What kind of loser does that?”
James couldn’t help but smile as he heard the whispers raging around him. He had outwitted old Snivellus…and all it had taken was a cloak and a few loyal friends.”
Lily and her friends sat down in the dungeon with their cauldrons set up in front of them. Class was going to start in a few minutes. Lily caught Sarah’s eye and rolled her eyes towards Snape. He was sitting across the room talking very animatedly to the people sitting around him. He was repeating his version of the story yet again.
“So I was walking back to the common room, just minding my own business, when Potter jumps out of the shadows and tries to hex me. His aim was way off and it went above my head. Then he disarmed me. So I went up to him and before he could react I knocked the wand out of his hand and hit him in the side of the face. Then he tried to hit me back but he missed again. So I kept hitting him and he began crying. I think he might have actually called for his mum at one point. But either way, it was pathetic.”
The people around Snape began to laugh.
“He must have looked really messed up,” said one Slytherin boy, called Crabbe.
Snape smirked, “Oh he was. Wait until you see him. After this he doesn’t deserve the title as head boy.”
Everyone nodded in agreement.
Lily shook her head in disgust, turned towards her friends and mouthed, “Can you believe him?”
They rolled their eyes and nodded their head in unison.
Lily stopped short. Was she feeling sorry for James? The arrogant, bullying, over ego James? In their fourth year James had replaced Snape’s cereal with hamster droppings, making him the laughing stock of the school. He had covered the entire spectrum when it came to humiliating Snape. Surely James deserved to be humiliated back at least once? But then why did she feel terrible when she thought about him walking around the school with his face smashed up? Why did she feel sick whenever she saw the triumphant look on Snape’s face? She closed her eyes. Am I seeing James as a normal person? This was bad. The person she had sworn to hate for all of eternity was finally starting to get to her. She sighed and rubbed her eyes, this was not going well at all.
Just then Remus and Peter walking into the room and took their seats. The Slytherins surveyed them with smirks on their faces.
“Where’s your friend?” asked Snape, twirling his wand between his fingers, “Hiding out in his common room? Too cowardly to show his face?”
“No,” came a voice from the doorway, “See, I wanted to give you time to spread your story. That way you’d look even more pathetic.”
Snape’s wand clattered to the floor when he saw James walk in through the doors with a clean face, Sirius walking behind him with a smug look on his face.
The people in the room looked incredulously at James. They had gone through the whole morning listening about how he was beaten bloody. Now when they saw him looking perfectly normal they realized that Snape had made it up.
The comprehension hit the entire class at around the same time. They all turned their head slowly and looked at Snape, who was staring at him in disbelief.
Lily raised her eyebrows and settled back to watch the show that was about to unfold.
Snape tried to sneer, “What’d you do? Get some girl to put some makeup on it for you?
James rubbed his face and then showed his clean hands to him, “Nope. I didn’t have any bruises to begin with. You’re just an old fraud Snivellus…”
Snape started sputtering. He looked around at the students watching him, “It did happen. He probably just did something to make it go away.”
James smiled and shook his head, “No. I woke up this morning looking perfectly normal. Wish I could say the same for you Snivellus, but then, you’ll never look normal.”
The students began laughing. The other Slytherins looked at Snape in horror. Crabbe nudged Snape and muttered, “Why’d you say you beat him up when you didn’t?”
Snape looked outraged, “I did! That bastard just did something to heal himself.”
The people at his table began edging away from him, muttering under their breath to the students sitting next to them.
Snape looked around with a fallen look on his face and then turned to face James and gave him a look of pure hatred.
James grinned back at him and took a seat with his friends.
Wow, this is long. Well, it's three chapters all morphed into one, so that would explain it. I hoped you liked it...and I would appreciate feedback!! Thanks
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