A/N: It took me about four tries to get this chapter up; HPFF kept logging me out. :(
Really annoying but.. c'est la vie.
Going back to classes was harder for Lily than she had expected. Having to wake up earlier than normal and getting dressed properly and within a certain time limit did not make Lily very happy come Monday morning. So when James popped out at her to wish her a good morning she snapped at him.
“Lily, what the hell?”
“Just. Not. Right. Now. Please,” she said taking a deep breath.
James pressed his lips together.
“I’m sorry,” she said, “I’m just in a fucking bad mood. It’s too goddamn early and I don’t want to go to class today
“Hmm…,” James said, “me neither. Well, I suppose you’ll get mad at me but I must comment on how colorful your language is today.”
Lily just walked away to grab her book bag.
“Transfiguration, first period,” Lily grumbled as she picked up her bag and stormed off to breakfast.
At breakfast she snapped at a couple of first years who were giggling too loudly and got mad at Mercedes when she asked where Lily had been the day before.
“What is up with you?” Lisette rolled her eyes.
“Why? What were you doing? Shagging James all night? It’s about time,” Lisette snorted.
“What is your problem?” Lily shot back. “Get off my case about this bullshit, nonexistent, fairy-fucking-tale relationship, okay?”
When Lily was done talking she realized how quiet it had gotten around the Gryffindor table. James was looking away from her deliberately and his cheeks were pink and he was biting his bottom lip- hard.
Lily stood up, slammed her fork down, and marched out of the dining hall fuming.
She did not know how she was feeling or why she was even in such a bad mood. She knew being tired always made her day all the harder to get through. Perhaps it was just how she did not know how to feel about James or how to feel about everyone thinking that she knew exactly how she felt about James.
Shut up Lily, you are over thinking this, Lily scolded herself as her head throbbed painfully. Maybe I’ll go to Madame Pomfrey and she’ll let me lie down; that would be so nice.
Lily did just that: she practically flew to the Hospital Wing and cried to Madame Pomfrey about her headache and how stressful life was and all of her classes were and well, she just had to do well in school or she would not pass her exams and then where would she be? No where, that’s where, Madame Pomfrey, and this is all I ever think about, I am so stressed out, may I just sleep? Oh, but I cannot miss my next class; it’s Transfiguration and I’m so bad at it and I don’t know what to do.
Madame Pomfrey smiled kindly at Lily and told her to lie down, under the blankets if she liked, and she gave her a Calming Draught.
Of course Lily had flat out lied about why she was feeling stressful but had she told the nurse that boys were causing her all of this trouble, she would have completely understood had Madame Pomfrey laughed her right out of the wing.
After having downed the Calming Draught, a warm, fuzzy tingling spread from her throat throughout her body and she immediately felt much more relaxed. She thanked the nurse and went to stand outside her Transfiguration classroom.
No one was there and she was thrilled: a whole class of just sitting with her two best friends. They were no longer pissing her off; the Calming Draught had made her relaxed.
When she got to class there was no one waiting outside- the bell had not yet rung- and so she flopped down and closed her eyes, just to relax all the more.
Lily opened her eyes slowly. James was there. His shirt tails were not tucked in and his tie was crooked and his sweater was draped over one shoulder as opposed to actually being worn and his hair was sticking straight up as it always did; Lily thought he looked quite cute today.
“Hey James,” she smiled up at him. “Sit with me.”
“Sorry, you go first,” she said.
“After you,” he said, “please.”
“I just wanted to say,” she started, “I’m sorry I snapped at you this morning and I’m
sorry I yelled like that in the Dining Hall.”
She could feel herself turning pink as James said, kindly, “Not a prob-”
And the bell rang and Lily suggested they stand up so they did and then the Marauders appeared followed closely by the rest of the class and so James and Lily separated and went to partake in conversation with their own friends.
Professor McGonagall soon rounded the corner, opened the door, and let the students through. The mass of them began to make their way to their seats, dropping their books on top of their desks and sitting behind them when Professor McGonagall shouted, “Stay standing if you please!”
Everyone looked around confused. Peter, who had sat down already, squeaked awkwardly, seemed to be torn between getting up and staying seated that he slid off of his chair, caught his foot in one of legs and landed flat on his face.
“Mister Pettigrew! Your behavior is always abysmal but I would have assumed that by your seventh year of magical education you would have learned somehow how to get up from a chair properly.”
The class laughed right along with Peter.
“Right,” said Professor McGonagall, “Now that we are back from break we must all really get back into shape so none of you fail your N.E.W.T.s. I have taken the liberty of changing your seats.”
There was a collective groan.
“I have placed you each into groups of three with one group of two and hope all of you understand that you each shall balance the others out in your group. That is, at least, what I hope to accomplish.”
She began listing names. James glanced over at Lily and mouthed, “You are probably with me,” just as the teacher cried out, “Pettigrew, Potter, and Hunter! This table here please!”
Lily laughed and mouthed back, “I guess not,” as James went to go sit with Peter and Alice.
Professor McGonagall seated Lisette and Mercedes together with a Ravenclaw girl Lily only knew through friends and finally the only two people left standing were her and Dye. Lily only had time to think, “Well, this will be awkward,” when Professor McGonagall shouted, “Evans and Paxton! That table all the way in the back if you don’t mind!”
Lily smiled to her teacher and she knew that had she not taken a Calming Draught, inwardly she would have been screaming. But she was not. She was instead thinking that maybe it would not be too uncomfortable for the both of them.
They sat and Professor McGonagall waved her wand and put instructions on the board.
“Help each other!” she shrieked and then began to stroll among the tables corrected the students and moving some pupils’ seats.
Lily smiled at Dye and pulled out her wand and a quill and a bottle of ink.
“So, how was your break?” Dye asked.
“Good, good,” she smiled, “slightly depressing but not too bad.”
“Depressing how?” he asked kindly, pretending to wave his wand so the teacher would not feel the need to walk all the way to the back of the room.
“Well,” Lily started. Shit, she thought, can I tell him about going to James’s? Does he know?
“Well,” she said again, “I went with James and helped him sort out the funeral and all that for his parents. Sirius came to and Celosia was there half the time- she’s his neighbor, you see? I never really liked her before that.”
Dye raised an eyebrow and Lily blushed- she had been rambling.
“Well, that does sound depressing,” he grimaced. “But, hey, you made a new friend. That’s something.”
“And how was your break?” she asked as she waved her wand and shouted, “Melanesca!” and her bottle of ink did not turn into a Toucan as she had hoped it would but instead it tipped over and spilled ink all over Dye’s shoes.
Dye laughed and cleaned the ink with a wave of his wand.
“You’re doing it wrong,” he said, “try flicking your wrist inward at the very end of your jab. You’re doing something funny where you flick before you jab, I really don’t know.”
Lily tried it and her spilled ink bottle turned into half a Toucan; it had legs and a beak and two feathers but its orbital glass middle had not changed.
“Better,” Dye said encouragingly.
“So how was your break?” Lily asked. “I’m dying to know, you have made me wait so long for a response.”
“What the five seconds it took to tell you that you were wrong and were knocking things over onto others’ shoes?”
“Yes,” she laughed.
“Well, I went home and then my family decided randomly that we would go to the South of France and stay in Montpellier, I believe it’s called. It’s a Muggle village. It was so bizarre. But you know, Rebecca Vane was there too, it was weird. And we- ahem- got together… kind of… once….”
Dye mumbled his last sentence and then Lily looked at him. Why was he telling her this?
“Why are you telling me this?” she asked flat out.
“I don’t know, I feel a little badly or guilty or something,” he said before flicking his tan wrist perfectly and producing a gorgeous squawking Toucan.
“But we aren’t together or anything,” Lily pointed out.
“Yeah, Lily, I know.”
It was harsher than Lily had thought it would be. She took it to mean that Dye wanted to drop it so she asked him to help her some more and by the end of the period she had created a bird equally beautiful to Dye’s.
Lily filed out of Transfiguration with the rest of the class and turned to go towards Arithmancy when she walked straight into James’s chest.
“Easy there, Evans,” Sirius joked.
“Yeah, what’s the rush?” he asked.
James scoffed, “I’m going to take a nap; I’m exhausted.”
“Oh come on James,” Lily said grabbing his arm, “come to Arithmancy. Professor Vector will have a complete heart attack and it’ll make my day. Please?”
“What you don’t want me there because you like me? Just so I can give your teacher a seizure?”
“Fair enough,” James said and turned around and walked to class with Lily.
Lily had been right: when the two of them walked in, Professor Vector looked up to greet Lily and jumped when he saw James.
“’Alo professor,” James said smiling and taking an empty seat next to Lily.
Professor Vector collected himself and his brown robes, inhaled and said, “Hello
Mister Potter. SO glad you could join us.”
“I am too,” he smiled broadly.
Professor Vector scowled and passed around books and began teaching. As if the entire class were in on the joke, none of them raised their hands that day and even when the teacher called on them they pretended they did not know the answer just so that Professor Vector had to call on James who had his hand raised high in the air, ready to answer- correctly- every question bestowed upon the class.
“Yes, Mister Potter?” Professor Vector would sigh each time before James rattled off an impressive answer, usually better than what the textbook gave. Everyone would laugh.
James and Lily walked through the door at the end of the class together and Lily was trying to convince James to come to class more often and James was just laughing.
“If I came every day then it would not be so much fun as when I come once a year,” he pointed out.
“True,” Lily said, “but it would make me very happy.”
James looked at her, “Well in that case, I’ll come every day.”
“And do your homework?”
“You are pushing your luck, Evans, absolutely not.”
Lily laughed so hard she had to double over.
“Hungry?” James asked when she had clamed down.
“Calming Draughts will do that to you.”
“Who told you?”
“No one. How else would you have chilled out so much? You haven’t been this much
fun since before my parents died.”
How he could just come out and say things like that astounded Lily. He accepted the truth completely and totally for what it was; that she found impressive.
“Ah well, I am hungry though,” she said, shrugging.
“Well, let’s go to lunch then,” James turned around. Lily had realized that she had been heading in the wrong direction.
“Oh, well that is quite embarrassing.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
They walked to lunch together and parted ways; Lily sat with Mercedes and Lisette
and James seated himself with the Marauders. Lily was surprised to find that the two groups were not seated together as per usual.
“Hey you guys,” Lily smiled broadly.
“Hi!” They both chorused.
“Why aren’t you huddled around Remus as per usual, Lis?”
“Dunno, actually,” she said looking at Mercedes. “Merce didn’t want to sit with them today.”
“Why not?” Lily asked.
“Oh… just…because, you know… I wanted to see you two,” she smiled showing
almost too many white teeth.
“Merce,” Lily said slowly, “what’s going on?”
“There is something going on!” Lisette cried. “Oh my God!”
“What?” Lily asked.
A complete understanding spread over Lisette’s face.
“Mercedes,” she snapped, “where were you last night when you said you were in the library but I knew you were lying because Madame Pince always kicks people out of the library by ten on Sunday nights and you didn’t get back until about one and I know you don’t sneak around into the library when it’s closed.”
“I was too in the library!” Mercedes cried, wide-eyed.
“No you weren’t!” Lisette said.
Lily analyzed the situation. Mercedes was lying. There was no doubt about it. She ahd always been an awful liar- she never had much practice was why.
“Mercedes,” Lily said slowly again, “where were you?”
“Okay, fine,” Mercedes whispered. “But lower your voices, please?”
Lily and Lisette leaned in.
“Okay,” Mercedes whispered again, “promise you won’t tell?”
“Of course,” the two avid listeners whispered together.
“I was…,” she looked around, everyone was very engaged in their own lives, “…with Sirius.”
“You weren’t!” Lisette shouted.
Lily gasped loudly and knocked her mug of Pumpkin Juice over with her elbow.
“Shhh!” Mercedes hissed flapping her hands wildly.
No one had peeled their eyes away from their friends’ faces for any longer than to see that Lisette was shouting- again. As per usual.
“…A broom cupboard…?” Mercedes winced.
“No!” Lily and Lisette hissed together.
“Oh my goodness,” Lily said.
The three of them were silent for while. Mercedes took a huge swig of Pumpkin Juice, choked and spilled the orange liquid all down her robes. Lily cleaned it before Mercedes had finished coughing.
“I don’t believe you,” Lisette decided.
“I do,” Lily said. “I’m really happy for you Merce.”
Mercedes excused herself and said she had to go….
“What was that Merce?” Lisette called after Mercedes who was mumbling about something….
“Do you think he’ll break her heart again?” Lily asked concernedly.
“Probably,” Lisette said.
“Yeah,” Lily agreed.
“I mean,” Lisette said, “it’s Sirius Black. He’s shagged every attractive girl in our
school. Well, in our year and the one below.”
Lily coughed on her food, “Did you just call me unattractive?”
“Oh shut up,” Lisette said, “you know what I mean. You wouldn’t have let him anywhere near your trouser zipper. But that’s just you.”
“But, I’m a little worried about her. I mean, remember what happened with what’s-his-face? That was bad. Messy break-up, eh?”
“Yeah, git transferred schools in the end, didn’t he? What was his name?” Lisette asked.
“I can’t actually remember. She doesn’t talk about him anymore.”
The two girls sat in silence trying to remember that asshole's name.
“I still can’t believe it,” Lisette said,” she has always said she’d never take a guy I had had before. Ah well, maybe he actually likes her.”
“I sure as hell hope so,” Lily shrugged. “Come on, let’s go to Potions.”
They left and as soon as they began the trek down the treacherous stairs Lily joked that Mercedes had no one’s neck to cling onto while walking down them when she caught sight of a sheet of greasy hair fly around the corner up ahead of her and Lisette.
“Oh no,” she whispered to herself.
“What?” Lisette asked.
“It’s January ninth.”
Lily smiled and shrugged, “I’d thought it was the eight. That’s all.”
“You are so bizarre…,” Lisette said as she walked ahead of Lily to snog Remus.
But Lily had good reason to be awkward on January ninth. It was Snape’s birthday.
Each year, she had managed to avoid him completely and totally but today they had class together. Somehow, miraculously it seemed, they had never had a class together on January ninth since fifth year. But this year the fates were not as kind and Snape did not sit that far away from Lily in class.
She walked in and was very thankful that her Calming Draught had not entirely worn off; she knew she would have been having a minor heart attack otherwise.
Professor Slughorn gave each group their flask from before the Christmas Holidays; the potion they were working on had to sit in eight and two sixteenths degrees Celsius for two weeks exactly before the rest of the ingredients could be added.
James and Lily received their potion.
“Oh good it’s ice blue, just like it should be,” Lily smiled. “I’ll get the rest of the ingredients shall I?”
“Feel free,” James said waving a hand lazily and laying his head on the desk. “I am taking a nap.”
“No, you aren’t,” Lily scolded as she stood up and made her way over to the supply closet. As she grabbed the necessary ingredients she turned around and walked straight into Snape.
Her eyes opened wide as did her mouth for a moment before she choked out, “Happy birthday Severus.”
He curled his lip and raised an eyebrow.
She half smiled and ran off with her ingredients.
“What did you go sprint for the stuff? Why are you all red in the face?” James yawned when she sat back down.
“I am not red in the face,” Lily lied; she could feel her face burning.
“Whatever,” James said as he yawned again and stretched. He shook his head roughly, “Okay, I’m ready.”
They worked diligently the rest of the class- Lily kept her eyes averted from Snape’s direction of the room and when the bell rang she was the first out of the room.
As she had a free period she headed straight towards the Heads’ Room and flopped down on the couch and lay there a moment before closing her eyes.
“Lily!” Lily jumped.
“Relax, it’s only me,” Lisette said, throwing something heavy on top of Lily.
“Ouch! What is it?”
“You left your whole bag in Potions; why were you in such a rush to get out?”
“I…I was… tired. Look at me, I mean…,” Lily lied. “I was practically passed out on the couch before you came in.”
“Are we taking naps then?” came Mercedes’s voice from behind Lily’s head. Lily looked up and over the back of the couch to find her pretty, curly-haired friend peer over wide-eyed. “I’m exhausted.”
“You are welcome to lay down with me, doll,” Lily said, inching over slightly.
Mercedes lay down next to Lily and Lisette sat on top of the coffee table.
“And look,” Lisette laughed, “I can do a strip tease for you as I don’t get a couch.”
“Why on earth would you conclude that because we don’t want you on our couch means that we want you to strip for us?” Mercedes asked the ceiling.
“What else would you want me to do?” Lisette asked sitting cross legged.
“Sing us to sleep,” Lily said with her eyes closed.
“I only sing on special occasions,” Lisette said. “You know that.”
Surprising as it was, Lisette had a beautiful voice. Mercedes’s voice was not bad at all either; Lily’s was atrocious. But Lisette used to sing the other two girls (and the rest of the girls in their dormitory) to sleep on nights before exams and on nights when everyone seemed to have had a bad day.
“Well, today is the first day back to classes,” Mercedes said.
“And I’m sleepy,” Lily added.
“Why not?” the two girls whined together.
“Because James and Sirius just showed up.”
Mercedes shot up and Lily groaned.
“Go away!” she cried. “I want Lisette to sing me to sleep!”
“You won’t want us to go away after you hear this!” Sirius exclaimed jumping over the couch’s back to land next to Mercedes but on Lily’s kneecaps.
“Shut up alright? Or you won’t hear the story,” he frowned.
“You are on my knees.”
“Well, shut up anyway, I’ll move when I’m done.”
Lily pushed him off of her so he would not break her legs and then sat still so she could listen. James sat next to Lisette on the coffee table.
“Pettigrew has a girlfriend.”
“What?” Lisette shouted.
“Who?” Mercedes squealed.
“So?” Lily asked.
Sirius said, “I know, yeah? I had always thought him gay and here he goes holding hands with some little bird. She ain’t half bad either.”
“Who is it?” Mercedes asked urgently.
“Some Claudia Zingale.”
“Claudia Zingale?” Lily asked. “President of the Gobstones club? And Charms club?”
“The very same.”
“She’d go out with Peter?” Lisette asked.
“Apparently so,” Sirius said.
“But she’s so smart.”
“Not really,” James said, “she’s a Hufflepuff actually. Was almost a Ravenclaw but the
Sorting Hat told her she would feel inferior in Ravenclaw.”
“That’s awful!” Lily exclaimed.
“Sorting Hat gets paid for its honesty, not for giving out ego-boosting messages or whatever,” Sirius said.
“How did you know?” Lisette asked.
“She told me.”
“I actually don’t know,” James said seriously. “I was sitting at the same table last year with her in the library because all of the other tables were full and she just started talking to me- which was very nice and all, don’t get me wrong- but I just wanted to study and she would not shut up.”
“Well, I’m happy for Peter,” Lily said.
“I am too,” James and Mercedes said together.
Lisette and Sirius looked at each other and snorted.
“He’ll never hear the end of this,” Sirius said. “Ever.”
A/N: What did you think? Peter has a new girlfriend! I'm so happy for him! You should be too even if he does turn into a total prat eventually. And I had thought to make him gay at first just because it would explain a lot and make things simpler. But then I didn't.
My stupidity surprises even me some days. Haha.
Well, leave a review? Make me smile? Trust me, I need it, I just got through exams.