‘When you hold one chance,
And you break your hands.
When the secrets safe,
And you call my name,
Then I am gone.’
~ Date Line (I Am Gone), Yellowcard
Chapter Nineteen: Secrets Revealed
That night I was curled up on the common room lounge, scribbling down notes for an essay that was due the following week, Buttons curled comfortably on my lap. The tiny kitten purred contently as my free hand absent mindedly petted her softly.
‘Hey, cutie,’ cooed Marissa as she approached us, though to me or the cat I couldn’t quite tell. I gave her a small smile as she sat in the armchair next to us. Buttons, obviously sensing she could receive more attention from this newcomer, softly padded her way up the lounge before lightly jumping onto Marissa.
‘Aww, you’re too cute,’ Marissa smiled as she patted the kitten. I threw the cat a mock betrayed look before commenting.
‘Her name is Buttons,’ I said, sharply reminded of what we missed during our split over the summer. ‘My great Aunt gave her to me as a belated birthday present. My parent had told her we were allowed pets at my “boarding school”.’
Marissa nodded softly as she petted the kitten. Buttons purred softly and curled up on her lap.
Just then the common room opened and Ella came in accompanied by Lupin. She was laughing at something he’d said but as soon as she saw Marissa and I on the lounge, her smile faded and she bid Lupin goodbye and fled up to the dormitories.
Lupin, having seen the whole ordeal, sighed despairingly, approaching me and Marissa. I sighed and put down my quill.
‘Just give her a little time,’ Remus said, avoiding the subject we all wanted to talk about. ‘She’s got a lot to figure out.’
Marissa took an imploring tone. ‘Remus, please, we just want to help her...’
He shook his head. ‘I’m sorry, it’s not my place to tell.’
I was fed up. I had had enough of secrets and silence. I wanted the truth. ‘Dammit, Remus, we know Ella! We’ve -’ I indicted to myself and Marissa ‘- been her best friend for six years!’ I looked at him, begging him to understand. ‘She’s not going to tell us... please, Remus...’
Remus looked torn. ‘Please don’t make me choose, Lily. I can't tell you!’
I felt tears well up. ‘Please, Remus...’
He ran a hand through his hair. ‘Ask James...tell him...tell him I told you to.’
The following day, we did not try and confront Ella again in the morning, or at any other time during the day. This seemed to perplex her a lot seeing as she wouldn’t stop throwing us suspicious looks throughout the day.
However in Potions that afternoon, our real plan was set into motion.
‘Good afternoon,’ boomed Professor Slughorn, beaming around the class, winking at his favorite students. ‘Now, without further ado, I have prepared your pairs for your Potions team this year.’
A lot of groaning and moaning later, the professor settled the class. ‘Now, I know you all thought you were going to have a choice in the matter, but in all honesty, what work gets produced in a class full of noise? None. Besides, this will be a great opportunity to make a new friend.’ He beamed at the class who scowled their disapproval.
‘Now,’ he started, taking out a long roll of parchment. ‘Here they are. Miss Slughorn you will be with Mr. Black, Mr. Snape with Mr. Longbottom, Miss Parks with Mr. Lupin, Miss Sprout with Mr. Ingantus, Miss Evans with Mr. Potter...’
Ignoring the res of the list and pretending to grumble, but secretly elated the plan was forming without my help at all, I began to pack up my books and moved over James’s table, giving Marissa a subtle high-five on my way over.
I slammed my books the table and slouched into my chair, pretending to be angry as Slughorn began writing the day’s potion on the board – an invisibility potion.
‘Okay,’ I began, pushing the chopping board in James’s direction. ‘Cut up that root as finely as you can and I’ll start on the actual potion.’
Surprisingly, he did not argue by merely nodded and began chopping.
After a few minutes of silent pouring, chopping and sifting, I asked the question we both knew was coming.
‘Remus told me to ask you,’ I said, keeping my eyes on pouring the powdered dragon scales in front of me, ‘what happened to Ella? He said you would know.’
I heard James sigh resignedly and put down his knife before pouring the lily root into the potion. I passed him the next ingredient in silence, stirring the potion as directed.
‘You’re sure he said that? That he told you to ask me?’ he asked finally, a note of anguish in his voice.
‘Yeah,’ I said my voice suddenly strained. I could fell the tears in my eyes again. If there was this much secrecy around the whole thing, Ella’s situation must not be good.
He sighed heavily. ‘Well, I don’t really know... but if she’s hanging around with Remus more...’ he hesitated slightly as I held my breath. ‘Remus is a werewolf.’ I gasped, feeling tears slip and fall down my face. ‘If she is looking to him for support, she probably has been bitten. Maybe by him, I don’t know...’ Suddenly my head felt light as the world took a dream like state and I couldn’t breathe.
‘Lily?’ asked James’s concerned voice floated through my ears, sounding distant.
And then everything went black.
When I woke up, a dozen figures were surrounding me.
‘Mr. Potter, take her to the hospital wing,’ a voice said, sounding vaguely familiar.
Potter? Who was he?
A figure separated from the crowd, reaching his hands under my arms, his hands light scraping my boobs.
‘Don’t touch me, Potter,’ I grunted, shrugging him off me.
James ginned, letting me go.
Slughorn regarded me with concern. ‘Take her to the hospital wing, Mr. Potter,’ he repeated, nodding at James.
James led me out of the classroom, dragging me by the arm. I let him, feeling vague and disorientated.
‘Lily, please, don’t tell anyone about Remus’s... problem?’ James said, looking uncomfortable. I felt tears well up in my eyes and my throat tighten, but I didn’t bother to stop the tears from falling freely.
‘Ella i-is a w-w-werewolf?’ I asked, wanting to make sure I had heard right. I couldn’t believe it.
James didn’t answer, but instead stopped walking. I hiccupped softly, looking down at the floor, practically drowning in my own misery.
‘Lily,’ he said, sadness seeping into his voice, ‘please, don’t cry. It’ll be alright. Don’t cry. Ella will be fine. She has Remus, he’s been through this.’ He brushed the tears off my face with his thumb. I closed my eyes tightly, trying to compose myself. Keeping my eyes closed, I sniffed, feeling rather pathetic.
Then suddenly, lips hit my own. Stunned for a moment, my eyes shot open, only to see James’s face.
That sneaky little bastard.
But, as much as I hated to admit it, the kiss smoothened away my problems, if only for a moment. As I closed my eyes, I remember why I liked – okay, loved - him so much, and gave myself into the kiss before wrapping my arms around his neck and snuggling my face into the crook of his neck. He seemed rather baffled by the sudden show of affection, though didn’t protest, but I was too wrapped up in my own emotions too care.
‘I love you,’ I whispered, softly into his ear, my emotions controlling in what would have been a hostile takeover of my speech ability.
‘I love you, too,’ he murmured softly, kissing into my hair.
Then both he and I realized what we’d said.
Oh my God.
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