Chapter 10 : Good, Clean Hypothetical Fun
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In the owlery Lily looked around for Doc, whistling when she spotted him high in the rafters. He looked at her but didn’t move.
Lily knew it would be ten minutes before he bothered to swoop down and collect her letter like most owls did. Finding a rare portion of the windowsill that wasn’t too covered in bird poop, she took a seat and sat staring at her letter, thinking about everything and nothing in-between.
How much she had come to rely on Lindsay as a friend. How she had always thought that as long as she had her letters and visits home to look forward to. Suddenly she wasn’t so sure.
Lily shifted irritably. “Please Doc?” She asked staring up at the bird. He stared back at her. “You are one stupid bird you know? I didn’t name you. Why be mad at me?”
“That’s called anthropomorphism.” A voice cut through the almost silence.
Lily spun quickly at the same time that Doc finally decided she had been waiting long enough. Lily not being ready for him, jumped back when he landed infront of her.
Emma laughed. “Are you alright?” She asked kindly. She stepped forward and her own owl immediately flew forward and landed on her arm. Lily was almost jealous. Seeing her letter tightly fastened Emma turned back to Lily.
“I just want you to know I had nothing to do with that card.” She informed her in a quiet voice. “It was pretty horrible actually.”
Lily raised her eyebrows in a silent agreement.
“They’re pretty horrible I guess.” Emma conceded. Lily still didn’t say anything. Emma shrugged. “Just wanted you to know.”
Lily shook her head as she started for the door. “I’m sorry, but why are you friends with them then?” She called out before she could stop herself. “If they are so horrible and you know they are why bother?”
Emma shrugged helplessly. “I don’t know.”
“See I thought you were different.”
Emma frowned. “What's so good about being different? We aren’t so different Lily. The only so called difference between us is I decided it was better to have the bitchy friends than none at all. Who’s happier?”
“At least my conscience is clear. I know I didn’t make anyone feel low.”
“So do I!” Emma cried then she paused. “I have never spread a rumour or picked on anyone unmercifully.”
“Isn’t there something about doing nothing is just as bad?”
“You know the rumours aren’t true so why does it matter?”
“That’s not the issue here! I’m not talking about me; I am talking about the others who can't stand their name being shamed like that. You should be the first one to stand up to them.”
Emma shook her head. “Maybe I’m too scared.”
“Scared of what?” Lily asked in a whisper.
“Of maybe getting a card like that.” She sighed. “Look, All I wanted to say was a I am sorry for the way they treat you. And I have it on good authority that James asked Sirius to stay away from you.”
Lily looked up sharply. “Why would you think that?”
“Just another rumour. I don’t know if it’s true or not though.” She said starting towards the stairs again. “Take it easy on him if it is.”
She disappeared and Lily’s shoulders sagged.
“Think you can bring her back for me Doc?” She asked her owl wistfully. He moved his head thoughtfully and she sighed. The stupid owl could barely be trusted with a letter. He took off into the evening air and Lily was left with a feeling of loneliness.
Back in the common room she bumped into James. She wasn’t going to say anything but he called her back.
“What?” She growled, pausing with her hands on hips impatiently.
James looked at his hands. “I told him to stay away from you.”
Lily nodded her head. “I already knew that. Do you want me to get angry or do you want to explain before I get angry?”
“I just... Didn’t like how things were.” He said weakly. “You know how I feel about you,” he said. Lily raised her eyes, as if to say here we go, but he still continued. “I just hated – “
“That I actually had someone to hold a conversation with?” She cut across him.
“No!” he cried. He stared at her, willing her to understand before he said anything. Before he embarrassed himself with the truth. “That you couldn’t talk to me.”
“That is the stupidest thing I have heard all day.” Lily fumed, “And I have heard a few dumb things. I am not yours – I never will be. You have no right to dictate who is allowed to talk to me.”
“And you - “ she said as Sirius appeared behind James with a confused look on his face. “Are pathetic. I’m glad you two found each other.” She then turned and stalked towards her dorm.
“Lily – “ James called out.
“Leave me alone!” she screamed back at him, drawing the attention of everyone in the common room who hadn’t been listening already.
“What do I do? I did try...” James stuttered. Sirius was too stunned to speak.
Remus sighed. “Why am I always giving advice to you idiots?"
Lily managed to avoid everyone until Monday morning classes, when James sat next to her in potions. She didn’t say anything, didn’t move or acknowledge him in anyway. Together they slowly set to work on their potion.
“I was jealous.” He stated after a while. “I asked him to stay away from you and he did because he is my friend but I shouldn’t have asked, it made you unhappy.”
“Not unhappy. I can survive without friends.” She told him walking away to get another jar of herbs and hopefully end the conversation.
James unfortunately couldn’t take the hint. As soon as she returned he resumed the conversation. “But you shouldn’t have to.”
Lily looked up sharply. She tapped her quill on her book, thinking about what had kept her awake last night. “I have a question. A hypothetical if you will.” She said slowly.
James widened his eyes surprised that she was actually asking his a question at all. “Intrigued, I’m listening.” Lily hesitated. “Go on. Ask me anything.” He said gently.
She licked her lips delicately. “Okay. Hypothetically, is it possible for a muggle to be in Hogsmeade.” She asked him in a slow deliberate voice without making eye contact.
James frowned He had never thought about the possibility... He had never known a muggle who had wanted go to Hogsmeade. He started cutting up the ingredients for the potion while thought about it. “Yeah, why not? It’s just finding it of course. There are all sorts of protective spells and concealment charms – “
Lily cut him off by waving her hand infront of him. “I know that. “ She whined. She bought her hands back down, wringing them nervously. She watched him cut the tiny jade leaves. “Not so thick!”
He nodded impatiently but changed his technique anyway. “In particular do you mean, is it possible to bring a certain someone to Hogsmeade?” he asked knowingly, waving the knife around.
“No.” Lily said quickly, taking the knife from him and then taking over his job. “It’s a hypothetical question.”
“Fine.” He agreed, pushing her out of the way again. She scowled until he stopped and looked at her. “In a hypo-thet-ical situation it would be possible to bring a muggle into Hogsmeade.”
“And how would one do that?” Lily pressed when he didn’t say anymore.
“Apparation is the easiest way.” James said with a shrug. He dumped the leaves he had been so carefully cutting into their caldron and Lily began to stir. “Hypothetically, of course. If you are of age its undetectable and doesn’t require any permits from the ministry like floo or port keys do.”
Lily nodded thoughtfully. “And if one, hypothetically, didn’t have their apparition licence is there any other way?”
“You don’t have you licence?” James couldn’t help but ask in surprise.
“Hypothetically.” Lily hissed to remind him.
James smirked at her. “Right. If I hypothetically didn’t have my apparation licence and didn’t have clearance from the ministry and wanted to smuggle a muggle into Hogsmeade I would be smiling pretty like at someone who did and would be willing to assist in breaking the law.”
“It’s not breaking the law!” Lily cried, forgetting for a moment it wasn’t supposed to be real. James inclined his head to indicate that he thought it was borderline. Lily sighed. “There is no other way?”
“Are we still talking hypothetically?”
“Yes.” Lily hissed drawing out her s’s in annoyance.
“Then no. I don’t do hypothetical.”
“Then hypothetically you are a jerk!” she flared flinging the spoon she had been stirring with. She flinched as some of the green goo of a potion landed on his collar but didn’t say anything.
James smirked as he wiped it away, glad it wasn’t too harmful. “Was there a compliment hidden in there somewhere?”
She shook her head stubbornly, returning to the potion. “Not today.”
“Only hypothetically?” he guessed smugly. She growled in frustration and turned back to her work and he turned back to his. At one point Lily looked up and saw Emma watching her. Hazel noticed the exchange and leant closer and said something to her.
Emma in turn, spun and hissed something back. Hazel was stunned. She licked her lips delicately and raised her eyebrows in Lily’s direction before looking away. Lily sighed. Maybe she had been wrong about Emma.
She looked up at James who was busy bopping his head to some unheard song while mashing more ingredients. For some reason she found herself smiling.
“I am not interested in Sirius in that way. I never have been – if that is what you were worried about.” She told him. He didn’t say anything but she knew he had heard. And she left Potions a little bit lighter.
During lunch she rushed up to her dorm to locate her tattered copy of ‘to kill and mockingbird’. Bravely she stood before Emma at lunch and handed her the book.
Emma smiled and Lily walked away, the lifting feeling rising.
James couldn’t help but noticed this little exchange from where he sat just down the table. “Hey Padfoot,” he said nudging Sirius in the side. “How would you feel about breaking some rules?”
“What kind, when and why?” Sirius asked immediately.
“Operation LAG.” James said not taking his eyes off Lily as she settled down to lunch with another book to read.
Sirius’ grin couldn’t have gotten bigger. “I’m in.”
Lily had found herself in Hogsmeade under protest once again. The only reason she was there was to fulfil her duties as head girl. Not bothering with any of the shops she headed straight to three broomsticks to sit with a hot chocolate and ‘A little princess’. She figured most of the younger students were in here anyway so there was little point strolling the streets and suffering in the cold. She would have been quite content sitting there but unbeknownst to her James and Sirius had other plans for her.
So as it was she didn’t even notice Sirius Black enter until he was standing right next to her. Without a word he grabbed her coat and scarf and ushered her outside.
“What are you doing?” She cried trying to slap his hands away.
“Stop hitting me!” he said hitting back at her hands. “James has a surprise for you.”
She stopped. “Usually I don’t like James Potter’s surprises.”
“He told me you would hypothetically like this one.”
Lily’s eyes widened. “He didn’t.” She said at the same time she spotted Lindsay standing at the end of the street. In true Lindsay fashion she let out a scream and took off running towards Lily, flinging her arms around her on impact.
Lily hugged her back, almost ashamed at the tears that sprang to her eyes. But it was Lindsay. Her Lindsay.
“Aren’t you cold?” She laughed.
“Just shell shocked.“ Lily mumbled. She then turned to James and hit him. Hard. “You apparated with her?” She screeched hitting him repeatedly.
“A simple thankyou will suffice.” James laughed, trying to shield himself from her tiny perpetual blows. She only glared at him. “You’re welcome.” He said with a mocking bow. Lily glared at him in before she turned her attention back to Lindsay.
“You aren’t missing anything are you? You have all your fingers? Both eyebrows and ears?” she said checking herself.
“Eight, two and two.” Lindsay said proudly.
“Eight?” Lily grabbed her hands. Lindsay pulled them away to waggle them proudly.
“And two happy thumbs.”
“I hate you.” Lily joked pulling her back into a hug. Behind them James laughed. She smacked him across the head one final time for good measure.
His laughter stopped as he rolled his eyes but the smile never left his face. Taking Lily’s coat from Sirius, he handed it to her. “Remember this is only a hypothetical day. It may have never happened.”
Sirius grinned. “Enjoy it ladies. Meet back here at four, we’ll take you back home.” He said and he and James left.
She turned on the spot so she was facing the street. “So Madam Min, what do you want to do with our hypothetical day of magic? Where are you going to take me?”
Lily shook her head in amazement. “I can't believe you are here. Where does your dad think you are?”
Lindsay shrugged. “Rachel’s. Studying for a math quiz.”
Lily cocked her head to the side. “How are things back home?” She asked as together they began to stroll the street. “Did you get my last letter?”
Lindsay nodded. “And James explained some things while Sirius went to get you. You aren’t really still mad at them are you?”
Lily shook her head and waved her arms impatiently. “I don’t care about that. I was worried about you!”
“I’m sorry!” Lindsay said weakly. “Everything thing is okay now. Mum is still in town but I am okay with it. Your mum made me go home the next morning and we had a little chat. I truthfully don’t know if we will ever become shopping buddies but at least she knows I don’t like coffee now.”
Lily smiled. “That’s good. I am glad things are sorted out now. I was beginning to feel useless unable to make things better.”
“Sirius Black appearing at my front door did it for me... How long have they been planning this? Are you worried that James Potter has been in contact with your mum?”
Lily almost choked in surprise. “What? Why?”
“Think about it now. Strange boys appearing in my room as if by magic when it is in fact actually magic? Don’t know how well that would go down with dad. At least your mother is prepared for a little freakiness.”
Lily smiled. “Was Petunia home?”
“Actually she is rarely home. Her and Vernon are getting quite serious.”
“You mean I could be related to that?”
“Technically.” Lindsay said distractedly. “I think it is now your duty to give your mother a son in law she can actually talk to.” She smiled coyly. “She likes James you know.”
Lily didn’t say anything on that well-exhausted topic.
Lindsay rolled her eyes but didn’t say anymore. She fumbled around in her bag and pulled out a Polaroid camera. “You mother said if I didn’t take photos I would never be allowed here again.” She said with a shrug. “Do you think Sirius will let me take a photo of him?
By three Lindsay had been in every single shop, marvelled over every single object and taken what seemed like thousands of photos. And her and Lily and discussed everything from Amber Danes to ice cream.
Then they headed to three broomsticks so Lily could introduce Lindsay to butterbeer where she preferred to be introduced again to Sirius Black. She had grabbed Lily’s hand and led her over to their table and made herself comfortable without invitation – not that she needed one.
“Did you know that they have blood flavoured lollypops?” She asked pulling one from her pocket. They all looked at her. She nodded eagerly. “Amazing huh?”
That was when they cracked up laughing. Lily was grinning ear to ear as she offered to get drinks for everyone. Sirius jumped up to help.
“Having a good time then?” James asked, leaning back in his seat.
Lindsay nodded again. She held the lollypop out to him. “For bringing me here.”
He shook his head and pushed it back at her. “Thanks but I’m trying to cut back.” He said craning his neck to watch Lily and Sirius joking at the bar.
Remus cleared his throat and James turned back, his grin sheepish. “Sorry. Baked potato right?”
“What?” Lindsay said in confusion. “Am I missing something?”
“Finally someone else who doesn’t get the joke.” Peter mused.
Lindsay turned to look at the two at the bar. “Who are you calling a potato?”
“Lily.” Remus and James said together.
Lindsay frowned. She opened and closed her mouth and was practically biting her lip to stop from speaking. James noticed this.
“Say what you think, you may as well.” He said with a resigned sigh.
“I can't. But I do think you are all idiots, for different reasons because I have heard three different sides of this story so far.”
James leant forward. “So you would be the most objective person. And you still haven’t told me what you think.”
“Ah I don’t think so. Me being the most objective, that is.” She leant forward too, pointing her lollypop at him. “I will say though her anger was fully justified.”
“Cue to leave.” Remus murmured rising from his seat and dragging Peter too.
“I don’t disagree.”
“He is your best friend right? Do you wish everyone had a friend like that? Coz I sure wish everyone had a friend like Lily.”
He stopped for a moment and looked back over to the bar. “Heres the deal, Halloween? She screamed at saying that I didn’t know her and maybe I don’t but I want to. And there is my best friend getting the chance to.”
“And you know that both of them would never ever, ever cross that line of friendship on account of you right?”
“Doesn’t make it easier to watch. Things matter to her and I want to be one of them.”
Lindsay sighed, studying him closely. “You would have to be the most patient person I have ever met. And I know that bullshit aside she is – “
“Hey!” Lily called from behind them. Lindsay barely paused.
“- And then I said who would want a blood flavoured lollypop? I wonder what this tastes like...” she mused; turning it around like it would answer her. James ducked his head to hide his laughter.
“Blood?” Sirius asked putting a drink infront of each of them. “Where did the others go?
“Well duh.” Lindsay agreed. “What's this?” She asked peering at the drink.
“Butterbeer.” They all said together.
With a shrug she took a sip and nodded, showing she liked it. She then pulled out her camera and took a photo of it. Nobody said anything. She clicked her fingers and fished around in her bag again; pulling out the other photos she had taken. James and Sirius both reached forward and took one to look at. They glanced at each other’s and to compare.
“Wow.” Sirius commented as he put down the picture of a lamppost. “You haven’t missed a thing.” Pictures of rocks, doors and peoples hats were just some of them.
“Almost.” She said snapping a picture of him a close range. He blinked.
She grinned unapologetically and watched as the photo began to appear. As soon as it had James took it from her. “Oh Padfoot, you sure are pretty.” He teased. Sirius picked up the camera and then took a photo of James while he was laughing. It wasn’t much better. “Why the photos?” He asked, tossing the Sirius’ on the pile.
“I need to document the trip for Sue. She is going to tell my dad where I am if I don’t.”
“Would she?” Sirius asked incredulously.
“Oh yeah.” Lindsay and Lily replied.
“In a heart beat.” Lily added taking the camera from James and passing it back to Lindsay. “I don’t know what she would actually say though.”
“Tell him a boy looked at me would be enough.” Lindsay murmured. “Oh my god, you know how I said Amber was bragging about her date with Derek? I never told you, how it went!”
“Yeah?” Lily asked looking sideways at the boys.
“She said something, unsure what, and he ended up leaving with some other girl! Guess who!” she said looking around.
“Who?” James asked with feigned excitement. Lindsay didn’t seem to care.
“Lizzie!” Lindsay cried excitedly. Lily gasped. “Amber is pretending she doesn’t care anymore and Lizzie hasn’t stopped bragging but Derek isn’t allowed to be mentioned in Monday morning who got hotter over the weekend, even though it was only two days, discussions anymore.” She concluded triumphantly.
“Wow. I think my head may explode.” James commented.
“Lily and I grew up with Amber. She has a million different stories concerning her sudden ‘disappearance’ seven years ago.”
Lily nodded. “My favourite would have to be the pursuing my dream of joining a Russian folk band.”
“I liked that one too, it was almost flattering.”
Lily nodded. “It did imply that I actually had talent.”
“And the worst?” Sirius asked.
“Tough call. Being shipped to Switzerland to have a baby in secret?”
Lily almost choked on her drink. “I haven’t heard that one!”
“Yeah it was only the other week. You had an affair with Sanberg.” She stated matter of factly. Then she grinned. “Ribbit.”
‘You sure have had an interesting life.”
“Wonder what would happen if she actually found out where you were.” James mused.
“And I wonder what this would taste like with lollypop.” Lindsay said, considering both the drink and the sweet.
“Give me that.” Lily said as Lindsay looked dangerously close to actually trying it. “And you wonder why I wouldn’t let you have a nose-biting teacup.”
“She treats me like a child.” Lindsay mumbled. “So what else is there to see around here?
“Shrieking shack?” Sirius suggested. Lindsay nodded eagerly.
James’ eyebrows rose. “Most haunted house in Britain.”
Lily shook her head. “Oh, as if.”
It had begun to drizzle by the time four rolled around, it seemed just to suit Lily’s mood it seemed. She hated goodbyes and after a day with someone like Lindsay nothing was worse.
Lindsay had hugged everyone, reminding them of her birthday in three weeks and her wish for a nose-biting teacup. She hugged Lily last.
“Be careful with her.” Lily warned Sirius in a wobbly teary voice that she hated hearing.
Lindsay hugged Sirius tightly. “You sound exactly like your mother.” he muttered before disappearing with her. Lily had been trying hard not to cry but staring at the space where her friend was got her.
“Come on.” James said gently urging her to move out of the rain as she just stood there staring. Instead of moving she turned and hugged him.
“Thankyou.” She mumbled.
James’ look of shock (which thankfully she couldn’t see) turned to a smile. “Does this mean I am forgiven?”
Lily chuckled through her tears and pushed him away playfully. “Not by a long shot.”