Chapter 8 : Of Tryouts & Teasing
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James began to explain basics of Quidditch to Lily, who listened attentively. He noticed how she had a habit of twirling her hair over and over again, and how her hair shone in the sunlight. Her green eyes were glued onto him, and were like pools of liquid green, and sparkled with their own light. *Whoa, James* said the voice in his head. *This is LILY we�re talking about! Get real!* He mentally shook himself and looked at Lily, whose hair was still radiant and eyes were still shimmering. *Snap out of it James! What�s the matter with you?* He looked at Lily, who looked him in the eye, blissfully unaware of the thoughts he was thinking.
"Do you get it?" he asked her. Lily nodded. She recited the rules of the game, the positions, and what their jobs were for him. "Ok. Let�s see how well you can hit these." He handed her a bat, and put a charm on the golf balls, making them act like bludgers that didn�t hurt too much when one was hit with them. They kicked off, and James watched Lily fight the bludgers. She was a very good flyer, as it turned out to be, and she had a lot of strength, which he knew from experience. She could whack the bludgers far away every time. *She�d probably do well in the sack,* James was horrified at the thought. *Where in the name of Quidditch did THAT come from?* After a while, he muttered the counter charm on the golf balls, and they dropped out of the air. Lily flew over to him.
"How did I do?" she asked anxiously. "Am I going to be able to try out?" James looked at her as if she had gone insane.
"Are you kidding? Narcissa Adams can beat better than you!" he said. Lily's mouth hung open in shock. James burst out laughing. "I'm kidding Lils! You did fine! I think you're going to be our next beater!" Lily scowled.
"Oh you're hilarious Scrubbing-Brush Head. That was so funny I forgot to laugh."
"Fireball, that's the oldest saying in the book," James smirked.
"You're the oldest saying in the book!" she exclaimed. He looked at her strangely, and she burst out laughing. *She has such a nice laugh. And smile. Not crooked, not toothy, just per-OH GOD! STOP!*
"I bet you can't catch me!" she said, flying in circles around him. He gave her another strange look.
"Lily, do you know what you�re riding? It�s a Shooting Star. I�m riding a Silver Arrow. Have you any idea on how much faster a Silver Arrow is than a Shooting Star?" Lily flew past him and stuck her tongue out. James laughed. "Oh, that�s it." He chased her around the field, weaving in and out of the goalposts. Lily saw that he was catching up to her.
"Impedimenta!" she yelled. James moved in slow motion for a while. She laughed as he tried in vain to keep up with her, but it was as if someone had pressed a slow motion button and he couldn't get out of it. When he was back in normal speed, he put the Jelly-Legs hex on her. She felt her legs become as useless as rubber. They flew lower and lower with their feet skimming the grass, and he came closer and closer.
"Come on, Broomsie, you can do it," she said in a patronizing tone as she stroked the broom lovingly. "I know you can. Come on, let's beat that stuck up Silver Arrow! You hate it don't you! It's taken away all the hot brooms and left you with crap!" James laughed.
"Broomsie?" he asked. "Broomsie. God, Lils, you're insane." She stuck her tongue out at him once more, and he leaped from his broom, tackling her onto the ground. A second later, he wished he hadn't.
He was on top of her, holding her down by her wrists, with his face an inch away from hers, so close he could feel her warm, sweet breath on his face. Both were breathing hard, and both weren�t sure what to do. Lily cast her eyes downward, still gasping for breath, and not looking at James. He gazed at her, red hair strewn prettily around her head, green eyes avoiding his. He couldn�t take his eyes off of her. Suddenly she looked like a fallen angel, out of place among the mortals of earth. Her lips looked incredibly soft and lush, and he was feeling the strangest desire to kiss her as hard as he possible could. *Let it go, James, you can't have her if you don't want to hurt her. Besides, you're with Nicole cuz you and Trewyn split up again. And she's one of your best friends for gods sake!* But he couldn't take his eyes off of her, or let go, afraid that if he did she'd vanish.
Slowly, Lily looked at him. They were both still breathing hard, and she felt his soft, sweet breath on her face. He was holding her down by her wrists, gently but firmly so she could wriggle them, but not break free. His hair was (as usual) untidy, but it looked perfect on him. His deep brown eyes were locked on her green ones, and she found she couldn't tear her eyes away from his. Lily, what are you doing? Get up now! Shove him off! He can look cute at times. Lily, this is JAMES we�re talking about! James! Get up! James let go of her wrists, but before she could get away, he had interlocked his fingers with hers. Lily still panted, even though she should�ve had her breath back by that time. She didn�t know what was happening, and she didn�t even know what she was feeling. Part of her was terrified, and part of her was content. Unfortunately, the terrified portion was larger than the content portion. Suddenly, he moved his face closer to hers, ever so slowly, and she stopped breathing, scared and exhilarated to find out what he'd do next. Their noses touched, and he nuzzled against her. Yes. No! Yes! No! YES! NO!
"No," she moaned softly. The spell was broken, and James drew back abruptly, as red as her hair. He jumped up as if he had been sitting on hot coals, and she sat up, hugging her knees to her chest like she had so often when she had been younger, scared, and alone. *Smooth move, genius! Look what you've done! What were you thinking? Now she'll probably never talk to you again!* He ran his hand through his hair distractedly, completely unsure about what to do next. Lily buried her head into her knees.
"I-um-I better go," he finally muttered. She looked up and nodded. James squatted next to her. "Lils? I'm really sorry. I-I don't know-I mean-" She looked at him and tried to smile.
"I know." He gave her a weak smile back, and hurried off. As soon as he was gone, she moaned and flopped backwards onto the grass, covering her face with her hands. Why hadn't she knocked him off of her? She knew she could have easily done it. But, for some reason, which she couldn't understand, she had frozen, she had let it happen. What was wrong with her? Lily had little time to ponder, for a few minutes later, Ashley appeared.
"Hey Lils," she said, lying down next to her friend. "What�s wrong?" Lily looked sideways at her.
"Oh, um, nothing�s wrong. I was just enjoying the sunset."
"Riiight," said Ashley, obviously seeing through the lie. "You can tell me, you know."
"Seriously, Ash, I was just sitting out here to catch my breath," she said.
"Speaking of that, how was your date with James?" Ashley asked mischievously. At first Lily was terrified. Could Ashley have seen? What would she do? You'll probably have to kill her. Shut up, did anyone ever tell you that you give REALLY bad advice? It's probably just Ash being a moron, as usual. She's just teasing.
"Come on, Ash, not you too. You know I don�t like James that way."
"Ever heard of denial, missy?" asked Ashley, as if she was asking if Lily had heard a new song on the radio.
"Of course I have. It�s a river in Egypt, Africa," said Lily airily, pulling grass out of the ground and throwing it up in the air. Ashley gave her a weird look, and then both girls burst out laughing.
"Come on," said Ashley, offering Lily a hand. "I�ll help you re-arrange your stuffed animals."
The next day, Ashley and Aria awoke Lily early in the morning in the usual way of stealing her blanket and pillows. As usual, Lily yelled a series of threats to no avail, and grudgingly got out of bed. Once awake, she realized what the day was, and tried to go back to sleep, but was stopped. Lily groaned, but brushed her teeth and took a shower. Still not fully awake, her friends led her to breakfast.
"Lemme go," she groaned disoriented, struggling to unlink her elbows from her friends'. "I can walk, you know."
"Lily, dahling, would you rather have us or James escort you to breakfast?" asked Aria innocently. That made Lily stop struggling and walk quicker to the Great Hall.
After breakfast, she walked out to the Quidditch pitch, along with Aria, Remus, Sirius, Ashley, and James, who were coming along to cheer her on. She saw her fellow competitors already there, and that they were mostly male. Many girls were sitting in the stands, waiting for James, Sirius, and Remus, who, to Ashley�s, Lily's, and Aria�s disapproval, flirted shamelessly with their admirers. She felt a knot form in her stomach, the reason she did not understand or know. All she knew was that if Nicole Holmes knew what her beloved boyfriend was doing with Trewyn Li at that moment, all hell would have broken loose.
Davy Gudgeon led the tryouts, even though he wasn't on the Quidditch team. Although James was Captain, he was not allowed to lead tryouts, and McGonagall was in a meeting, so Davy was assigned the task. He explained the practice schedule and the responsibility of a player, while Lily�s thoughts drifted to the day before, when James had been on top of her. She shivered, and wished it had never happened, and yet�and yet, a part of her (a very small part, mind you) was happy that it had. It�s the Scottish air again, she told herself. It�s messing with your thoughts. You know that you wanted him off of you. Lily wondered why on earth she had even let him stay one her, once again, when she knew she could have easily knocked him off. Could it possibly be that she liked him? Dahling, have you gone insane? Shut up! I'm trying to figure things out, unlike you who jumps to conclusions like a frog jumps to lilly pads! She glanced over to the stands where her friends were sitting, and saw James Sirius, and Remus flirting with their admirers, and smiled wryly. See? You definitely don't want that. The way he handles girls is disgusting. Why would you want to be treated like that? Led on and on, having your heart toyed and teased with, believing that he loves you and that you'll be together forever until he finds a new heart, and shatters yours? Lily watched as Trewyn laughed in a high, fake voice and tousled his hair flirtatiously, as he leaned over to kiss her. Either he doesn�t see how mean she is or he doesn�t care. But they must see it, especially Remus. And the girls at this school are completely blind. How can they fall for him? How can they believe that they'll be special, that he'll spend at least a week on them? And since they must see how they treat other girls, they must not care either. See? At that time, Davy finished explaining whatever he had been explaining, and then actually began the tryouts.
"All right, we have Joseph Thomas, Tobias Patterson, Matthew Lynn, and Lily Evans trying out for the position of beater." When Davy announced her name, the three other boys smirked.
"Lily Evans? I thought she was just here to watch! Are you sure you�re reading right, I mean, with your eye and all?" jeered Matthew. Just the week before, Davy had tried to get close enough to the knot that stopped the Whomping Willow�s branches from thrashing, and had nearly lost his eye in the process. Davy glared at Matthew.
"I�m reading just fine, Matt, but thanks for the concern."
"But it�s for the position of beater, Davy! Girls can�t be beaters!" explained Joseph, as if Davy was a bit slow in the head. Lily was furious. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. Girls couldn't beat? What the frick was up with that?
"I�ll beat YOU if you don�t take that back!" she yelled angrily. The stands quieted, and settled to watch the argument.
"She'll beat you, Joe," Tobias warned. "She practically killed Trewyn on the first night, and-" Angry looks from Trewyn and Lily silenced him. Joseph smirked at her.
"I still stand by what I said: girls can�t be beaters."
"She�s a hell of a better beater than you are, Thomas," said James, suddenly on the Quidditch field with Sirius, Remus, Ashley, and Aria. Joseph laughed.
"Yea, right. How would you know? Did she give you a couple kisses to stand up for her?" That was it for Lily. Being degraded about sports because she was a girl was one thing, but being called a whore was another. A very big other. She lunged at him, but was held back by her friends.
"LET ME GO! I said I�d beat him and I will! I'm not a whore! LET ME GO!" Joseph laughed harder.
"Yea, let her go. I want to see this."
"You won�t be seeing anything when I�m done!" said Lily furiously. The anger that had been boiling up in her when she had met Glenn that night was back, and it was just bursting to be let out. Lily, no! you've got to learn how to settle things in a better way! Fighting isn't worth it! HE'S not worth it! Don't listen! That son of a bitch just called you a whore and said that you were lower than he is because you're a girl! Teach him a lesson he won't forget! The anger won over her sense. She wriggled free of everyone�s grasp, and hit Joseph in the face and just below the belt before anyone could say or do anything. Joseph stopped laughing, and began to whimper and gasp for breath.
"You-you-you-" Lily grabbed him by his shirt.
"Say it again," she whispered dangerously, challenging him. "Tell me that girls can�t be beaters. Tell me I'm a whore." Joseph�s nose started bleeding, so Lily dropped him onto the ground. He half ran and half bunny-hopped to the castle. Everyone was silent and some were looking terrified, as if they had seen Lord Voldemort.
"Um, on with the tryouts," Davy said feebly. The other two boys looked at him as if he were crazy.
"Are you out of your mind?" asked Tobias. "She just killed Joe! Someone go call McGonagall!"
"No need," said Davy. "She�s heading this way." Lily�s heart sank faster than a stone dropped into water, but her anger wasn't gone yet.
"MISS EVANS!" screamed a furious professor. "What in the name of Merlin�s beard made you attack Mr. Thomas?"
"He provoked her, professor-"
"He was saying that she couldn�t do it-"
"He was being sexist-"
"He judged her without even knowing her-"
"He deserved it, Professor-" were the flurry of answers from her friends. McGonagall gave them a silencing look.
"I believe I asked Miss Evans, and not the whole stadium," she said icily, and turned to Lily. Great, she couldn't tell McGonagall that he had called her a whore. She probably wouldn't care. Make it up! Just tell her what happened, but delicately! GI-DELICATELY? He wasn't being delicate! Listen, just tell her the truth! Lily took a deep breath.
"My temper got the better of me. He said I couldn�t do it. When people tell me I can�t do something without letting me try it, it ticks me off, simply stated. And he called me a whore, just because I'm a girl. I can't stand when people judge other people without at least talking to them or knowing them first, and I know that I do it sometimes, but I get ticked off at myself too. Tell me something, Professor, have you ever been degraded simply because you're a woman?" McGonagall didn�t know what to say or think. What an extraordinary person. "Anyway, I�m sorry. I know I need to control my temper. I-I�ll go pack my things. Should I send West the owl telling him that I'm being expelled or will you?" McGonagall was temporarily stunned for a few moments, but then shook herself mentally.
"Miss Evans, I assure you that you are not expelled, but you will need to see Professor Dumbledore-" Lily nodded and turned towards the castle. "-Right after the tryouts." Lily was speechless, as were her friends. McGonagall was letting her tryout. She was letting Lily off. Lily nodded, and smiled a small smile. She was getting the hang of people being nice. McGonagall gave her a rare, real smile.
The tryouts were held. By the end, it looked as if it was a tie between Tobias and Lily. The results would be posted after dinner. McGonagall came for Lily, and her friends gave her reassuring looks, which calmed her a bit. Once again, she found herself in Dumbledore�s office, for the second time that week.
"Ah, Miss Evans. So nice to see you again!" said Dumbledore when she and McGonagall entered the office. "To what do I owe the pleasure of this visit?" Lily felt nervous and even frightened again, a rare feeling for her.
"She had a fight with Joseph Thomas, Professor," McGonagall explained. "Apparently, Mr. Thomas thought it highly amusing that a girl was trying out for the position of beater, and he also accused her of prostitution, so Miss Evans decided to teach him how well she could, well, beat." Dumbledore�s eyes flashed with-well-almost anger when McGonagall told him what Joseph had said, and twinkled with amusement at the last part, which seemed like a good sign to Lily.
"Thank you, Professor," said Dumbledore. McGonagall nodded and left the office. The smiling man turned back to Lily. "So Miss Evans. I must tell you that although I understand that you were angry that you were being discriminated just because of what you are and what you are not, but fighting is against the rules of Hogwarts. I�m afraid that I must give you a detention, and I can assure you that I will have a word with Mr. Thomas." Lily sighed in relief. She was glad that she was only getting a detention. She had had many of those at Hogwarts, for pulling various tricks on Snape, Malfoy, and Lestrange. However�
"Um, just detention, sir?" she asked timidly. "I mean, its not that I want points taken away or anything like that, but aren�t you going to lecture me about fighting? Not that I want you to, but I was just wondering." Dumbledore chuckled.
"I don�t need to, Miss Evans. I believe you have learned that lesson already." When Lily looked confused, he went on. "I can tell that you have learned what you have done is wrong because you asked me if I was going to lecture you on fighting. You were ashamed, but ready to face the consequences, which is a lesson greater than what we teach here in school. It is a lesson you have to learn by yourself: taking responsibility for your actions, which I can see you are beginning to learn." Lily nodded politely. It�s official. He�s completely insane, she thought. Still, he�s pretty cool for an insane person. Now I guess I see why West likes him so much. Its like he can read your mind.
"Your detention will take place on this Friday night in the trophy room, which is right next to the girl�s bathroom," said Dumbledore. Lily nodded, and then turned to leave. "And Miss Evans?" She turned back to him. "Remember that you are not made by what people say, but what you do. What people have to say has little to do with what you choose to do." With those words to ponder upon, she smiled and left. When she reached the common room, she found her friends waiting expectantly for her. She sighed.
"No, he didn�t yell at me, he said that he saw that I had already learned my lesson, and he gave me a detention for Friday night." Everyone looked satisfied. Lily shook her head. "So, did anyone see Thomas?" The other six laughed, and she scowled. She had been serious.
"Lily, you scared the hell out of him," said Remus, finally done laughing. "He�s sitting in the hospital wing right now, crying for his mum." Lily smacked her forehead. Smooth move, she thought.
"If Tigger had been in my place, I bet he wouldn�t have beaten the crap out of Joseph," she moaned, and then snapped back into reality. Everyone looked at her as if she had just sprouted an extra head. "D-did I just say that out loud?" she asked weakly. Sirius, James, Remus, and Peter broke into identical evil grins.
"Uh-oh Lils," said Aria. "You better get away while you can and hope that they forget that." Lily turned as red as her hair.
"So, Flora, my dear," started Sirius, grinning insanely.
"I think Tigger would be a more appropriate nickname for our dear Miss Evans," said James, joining in. "Don�t you think so, Moony?" Moony? Lily thought, forgetting her embarrassment for a moment. Since when have they called Remus that?
"I think that Tigger would be a perfect nickname for our dear Lily, seeing how she idolizes the animated tiger made of rubber and springs so much," said Remus, trying hard not to laugh again.
"Tell me, do you always ask yourself what Tigger would do in your place? Do you worship him? Is he your dream date? That is, after James," said Sirius, devilishly. A wave of panic crossed Lily�s mind. Did Sirius know about what had happened on the grounds? Had James told him? That would be so like him! To gloat about it! God, and I believed he was sorry! She glanced quickly at James, who, ever so slightly, shook his head. Lily relaxed, and then fluttered her eyelashes at Sirius, sat beside him, and stroked his hair.
"Oh, Sirius," she said sweetly, pretending to be hurt. "How can you be so blind? My dream date isn�t James. Its you and it always has been!" Sirius looked pretty convinced, and so did Remus and James, who was beginning to get a funny feeling in his stomach. Aria was too.
"Really?" he asked. Lily rolled her eyes and slapped him lightly.
"No, you idiot!" Lily got up and sat in an empty chair. "Good lord, someone slap me the day I fall for any of you."
"That day will be here soon, I bet," said Ashley, ducking as Lily reached out for her, though for a moment, she almost hoped that what Ashley had said was right. Just for a moment.
"I�m going to bed," she said, feeling very tired all of a sudden.
"Goodnight Tigger!" Came four voices. Lily groaned. James had a detention, Ashley planned on drawing, and Remus went to the Owlery, which left Sirius and Aria alone.
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