When we got back to Hogwarts everyone settled back into their normal routines. Most days I found I could put on a brave face and settle into a routine in which I just got through the day. Sometimes it became too much and I would quietly go and cry in the girls toilets. I refrained from breaking anymore mirrors though. Lily and I got onto the quidditch team. The weather got colder and ice descended. September and October passed into wintry November.
“Hey,” said Lily flopping down on the sofa beside me and picking up my copy of COSMOWITCH. She flicked through it as I finished my transfiguration essay.
“So how was Charms club?” I asked as I put down my quill and settled more comfortably on the sofa. Lily grinned.
“It was cool; I was teaching summoning charms to first years! It’s quite fun really. Flitwick says I could teach when I get my NEWTS done. Isn’t that great?”
“Yeah,” I agreed amicably and fished a few chocolate frogs out of my bag, “But would you? Teach I mean?”
Lily considered it a moment before shaking her head.
“Nah, too much stick.”
We were interrupted suddenly by James who appeared out of nowhere over the back of the sofa and landed painfully on my legs.
“OWWWW!” I screeched playfully and writhed so we all toppled over on the floor. I landed with a painful thump on my backside but James ended up on top of Lily.
She didn’t slap him either but just laughed at him.
“Are you going to get off me at any point?” she asked playfully.
“Well…..” He murmured appearing to think about it, “No.”
They both giggled and I raised my eyebrows. I heard a snort to my left and turned to see Sirius grinning mischievously.
“Guys get a room,” he said and pulled me to my feet. I laughed and turned to find James glaring at us.
“What?” asked Sirius noticing the glare, “I was just stating what everyone else is thinking!”
Lily shoved James from behind and giggled as he flopped on the floor. She stood up and brushed off her robes.
“That reminds me James, we’re going to have a Christmas ball and as head boy and girl we need to go and plan it.”
I spluttered with laughter and Sirius grinned like the cat that’s got the cream.
“Getting told to go get a room reminds you of you’re head duties? Whatever do you and Prongs here get up to I wonder?
Lily blushed furiously and aimed a smack at Sirius’ head.
“Shut up!” she said laughingly and Sirius hoisted her over his shoulders. James and I collapsed with the giggles as Lily attempted to beat Sirius while hanging upside down. She ended up with her head hanging by his arse.
“You know, “she said in an amused voice from behind her hair looking at Sirius’ behind, “the quidditch practise really does show."
James spluttered indignantly and Sirius turned around, making Lily vanish from view.
“Don’t take it personally Prongs; my buttocks are just naturally irresistible. Lily can’t help it if she’s not blind enough to realize that there is absolutely no competition.”
“Gosh Sirius and that didn’t sound at all conceited,” I said and Lily snorted. Sirius got the familiar manic look in his eye and James glanced at me.
“You’d best run for it Glory,” he said as Sirius carefully placed Lily back on her own two feet and advanced towards us.
“Oh shit,” I ran towards the portrait hole dragging James with me, hearing Sirius’ heavy footfalls behind us as we burst past the portrait of the fat lady, giggling inanely.
Our laughter echoed all around the corridors and people glanced at us in amusement and exasperation as the four of us sprinted through the castle. Lily was shouting at Sirius and James and I were running hand in hand anywhere, determined to outrun our two friends. We saw Remus with Peter looking confused as he saw us racing past him gasping with laughter.
“Hurry up James!” I screamed looking back at Sirius who was gaining on us looking triumphant.
We ran down the marble staircase, three at a time, stumbling slightly, hearing Lily’s laughter behind us as she and Sirius followed. It was an entertaining chase and I felt high as a kite as James and I forced the front doors open and raced out into the rain. It was tipping it down and we were drenched within five feet of the castle but we ran on, slipping and sliding on the soaked grass.
“Boll-“ James tumbled to the ground in a spectacular skid, almost pulling me down with him as he slid through the mud. I heard Lily pounce on him and I threw a handful of mud at her, hearing James’ agonised shouts as she tickled him.
It hit Lily on the side of the face and Sirius glared at me evilly.
“You shouldn’t muck around with mud Gloria,” he growled edging closer, “unless you want to play dirty.”
I fought hard to keep a straight face as I replied.
“Oh I think I do,” I said coolly and Sirius just about managed to hold back his laughter.
“Really?” he asked and quick as a flash of lightening he stooped and drew a handful of mud from a lake of it at his feet. It hit me hard.
“Alright Mr Perfectly chiselled arse! You want a piece of me-Come get it!”
Sirius pounced and I collapsed under his weight shrieking as I fell face first into mud. There was a short scuffle in which Sirius got a slightly bruised nose and my hips were severely squashed by his heavy weight.
“Give up Middleton?” He whispered devilishly in my ear but then there was a loud thump as James came plying into us, glasses askew, mud-bespattered and tackled Sirius, wrenching him off me. And then Lily appeared out of nowhere and suddenly we were all fighting each other, mud flying everywhere, going in our hair and eyes and mouths and we were all laughing. It turned out as Sirius and I against Lily and James but at the very end we all turned on Sirius.
Lightening flashed in the sky and we lay panting for breath in the mud looking up at the clouds, at the rain which was still pouring heavily onto us. I opened my mouth and let the water fall into it, remembering when Giselle and I used to do so as little girls. I blinked heavily, willing myself not to go to pieces over a mere memory when I’d just had so much fun, for the first time in months.
Eventually we got up when the storm’s intensity increased until it was dangerous to be outside any longer. We traipsed up to the castle, filthy and dripping. Mrs Norris was onto us in an instant, mewing at us and Sirius grabbed my hand as we started running again.
“Hurry up!” he barked at me and I gasped with laughter again, which in turn set of Lily and James, who were slightly behind us. Sirius shook his head snorting as we pounded down the charms corridor. I heard Filch’s familiar wheezing getting closer and suddenly Sirius wrenched me behind a tapestry and I got a glimpse of James and Lily passing us, dripping everywhere as they skidded round a corridor. We waited, squished together in the incredibly confined space listening to Filch wheeze his arthritic way past us. I started to giggle again and Sirius clamped a hand around my mouth and an arm round my waist from behind; holding me still as I was racked with a fit of entirely silent laughter. Filch’s footsteps had halted however and it was a tense but extremely funny moment of hardly daring to breathe before they suddenly started up again. As soon as he was out of ear shot Sirius started laughing too and we poked out heads round from the tapestry, before climbing out of our hidey-hole and dashing away from the spot in the opposite direction still hooting with laughter.
“Where’ve Lily and James gone?” I panted as we sneaked our way up to the third floor.
“Prefects bathroom?” he suggested, drawing to a stop behind a large suit of armour.
“Nah, that’s all the way down on the ground floor, off near the kitchens isn’t it? Near the Hufflepuff common room.”
Sirius shrugged and took my wrist, edging down the corridor. We were almost round the corner when we heard footsteps and I yanked him back in a crevice behind a statue. He yelped and that was it, we both started snorting loudly. But it was only Lily and James, breathless and still dripping.
On meeting our gaze we all got the giggles and Lily, despite being soaked to the skin and having mud on her face looked prettier than ever.
“Well ladies,” said Sirius, “I think we could do with a bit of a wash don’t you?”
James snorted and I felt the corners of my mouth twitch into a smile. The others were filthy and I realized I probably didn’t look much better. Somehow though, instead of being disgusting, it was rather funny. We all started walking and it was then that I realized I had no idea where we were. Neither apparently, did James.
“Oi where are we going?”
Sirius grinned at us and I felt myself beaming back despite the fact that I was now starting to shiver.
“For a bath,” he answered and Lily glanced at me before we both burst into quiet giggles.
James was now looking excited and rather white under all the mud, he too was trembling; he wrapped an arm around Lily and Sirius, catching sight of me shivering, draped his arm around my shoulders.
“Courtesy of the Prefects bathroom?” James asked to no one in particular.
I felt rather than saw Sirius grin and with my friends, I felt truly, blissfully happy.
Then we rounded the corner and the torches went out. I felt Sirius’ grip on me tighten and his shoulders tense. I half glanced over my shoulder and saw James fumble for his wand and then I remembered with a jolt we’d left them abandoned in the common room.
“Well well,” said a silky voice, “Whatever do we have here?”
A bright light was suddenly illuminated and it stung my eyes as I squinted beyond it into the darkness.
Severus Snape was stood before us, smirking maliciously, a large group of thickset Slytherin’s behind him. But that wasn’t what made my heart sink.
They all had their wands drawn and each looked ready to curse us into oblivion.
A/n: well here it finally is, as promised. A chapter full of fun, flirtation and a little hint of danger.
I wonder how its going to end ;P
No seriously, I haven't even started the next chapter yet. And perhaps now all the depressive stuff is kind of out of the way...perhaps I can finally set the James/Lily ball rolling.