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Chapter 1 : Clockwork
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Had today run like clockwork then maybe Lily would have been happy with her routine, with who she was, and who she wanted to be. But today hadn’t run smoothly, and Lily counted down the hours by watching the sun make its way across the sky outside the window.
The afternoon light shone through the window to reveal Lily pacing in front of the common room fire, her green eyes ablaze. Luckily, there was no one else in the Gryffindor Tower for her to unleash her anger to, or else they would have been dearly sorry. The firelight danced on her red hair, and her small hands were clenched into fists so that her short, stubby nails dug into her palms. She felt humiliated… It was not often that Lily Evans was not in control, and this time it had caused her to get hurt. She had only been trying to help a friend… and stupid Potter had possibly ruined her relationship with one of her best friends.
How dare he! Lily thought, clenching her fists harder as a vision of James Potter swam into her head. He’s no better than Sev. It’s as bad as calling me a… that word, the way he carries on. It’s as if he owns me. He doesn’t, and never will!
As her thoughts turned to Severus Snape, Lily felt tears prick at her eyelids. His words had stung even though she had heard him use that word dozens of times before. “Mudblood”. Was that word really necessary? It’s not as if she could help her blood, so it just isn’t right to persecute her because of it. Could she ever forgive him? Lily doubted it. She had only been trying to help, but that seemed to have done her no good so far. Now that she thought of it, all she ever did was try and help. Maybe Lily Evans didn’t want to help anymore.
Don’t be ridiculous, she thought crossly. Of course she wanted to help, it’s what she did best. And helping people wasn’t about her… it was about being a good person. And possibly about distracting her attention from one person. The one person she wanted to help the most.
Sirius Black never admitted he needed Lily’s help. To be fair, nobody knew they needed her help until she gave it. She could see into people’s souls as quickly as a dementor could suck it out. Lily knew that Sirius wasn’t as brave as the face he put on, and he resisted any attempt she made to get to know him better. That was probably due to James Potter.
Her anger flared again as her thoughts turned to Potter and Black. No matter how much she was fascinated by Sirius, she was hurt and embarrassed by their behaviour down by the lake. They had no right to act that way to Sev, and she couldn’t just stand by and watch it happen. Potter was arrogant enough to think that she would find him amusing…
As people started to filter into the common room from elsewhere in the castle, Lily reined in her uncontrollable emotions, and sat down in an armchair. She had taken for granted the empty common room, and now she found it harder to release the bad feelings. She was content enough to watch people pass her by so she didn’t have to think.
Just as she had calmed down, Potter and his friends barged their way into the now busy common room, making more noise than the other Gryffindors combined. Lily, finding it hard to contain her anger whilst Potter was in the vicinity, exited through the portrait and stalked off in search of some quiet.
She had been so busy muttering insults under her breath that she didn’t hear the portrait door slam again. She also didn’t notice that someone was catching up with her until their footsteps interrupted her musings.
“Evans,” Sirius’ voice echoed off the cold stone walls.
Lily turned around sharply and looked the stocky boy up and down. “What do you want?”
He looked awkward for a moment and ran his fingers through is black hair. “James sent me,” he muttered.
“Oh good,” Lily said dryly and walked on at a slower pace, as if inviting Sirius to walk with her.
“He says he’s sorry,” Sirius tried again, as if he could soften her temper.
“Can’t he speak for himself?” Lily said stonily, her green eyes catching his light greys ones. “Or does he have to have you running around for him like a dog?”
Sirius coloured and looked away uncomfortably. “He means well.”
“I’m sure he does,” Lily sighed, feeling slightly less interested in James Potter for a moment and more interested in the boy who was so eager to make peace. They lapsed into an uneasy silence and Lily slowed down her pace until she wasn’t walking anymore. Sirius came to a standstill beside her and lowered his gaze to his hands.
“I’m sorry about earlier,” Sirius mumbled at the floor, though Lily could hear every note in his voice that was amplified by the stone walls that surrounded them.
“I’d rather forget about it,” Lily said more assuredly than she felt.
Sirius looked up, and smiled slightly, the corners of his lips turning upwards. How soft those lips were, Lily thought. “The thing about James is-”
“I don’t want to talk about Potter,” she said, staring unseeingly at a portrait to her right, which was pretending not to look at the two of them. Lily sighed inwardly, wishing that things would return to normal. She didn’t like all this spontaneity; it made her feel so exposed.
“Who do you want to talk about?” A mischievous grin and curious eyes sought Lily’s attention, which she duly gave.
“How about...” she said with mock concentration. “you?”
“Me?” Sirius said, looking affronted. “I’m fine.”
“I don’t think so. Nobody’s completely fine,” she said, giving him a calculating look.
“I don’t want to talk about me,” he said evenly, making it clear that Lily was not to ask any more.
Normally, Lily would have heeded this obvious warning, but today she felt different. “I do.”
Sirius scowled. “There’s nothing to tell.” Their eyes locked, green on grey, grey on green. Lily felt like time was standing still, as if it somehow had been frozen just so that she and Sirius could gaze at each other. Sirius broke the spell by saying cheekily, “Don’t be so nosy.”
Lily gave him a look of feigned indignity. “Nosy?”
Sirius nodded and raised a finger. “You’re sticking this-” he tapped her nose, sending tingles to her throat, “-where it doesn’t belong.”
“And where would that be, Mr. Black? I don’t think there’s anywhere I haven’t been allowed to go before,” Lily blushed, imagining how ridiculous she must sound. She could hear her blood pumping around her body; regular and rhythmic like the chiming of a clock.
“Well,” Sirius considered. “It’s definitely not allowed here.” He touched her nose with his own, making her forget to breathe. “And,” he said, whilst Lily’s cheeks gradually became hotter, “It’s most certainly not allowed here.” This time, Sirius pressed his lips to the tip of her nose, and Lily shivered, even though it was a warm summer’s afternoon.
His lips were so soft that she couldn’t resist but to put her finger on his lips as he drew away from her nose. As soon as she felt the squashy flesh she began to have doubts.
“I don’t think this is a good idea,” Lily murmured, scared to raise her voice in case the silence around them shattered. Sirius smiled against her fingertip and hushed her. Slowly, she withdrew her finger and her worried eyes met his. “What about Potter?”
A shadow of doubt passed across his face, and a darkness flickered across his fathomless eyes. Sirius blinked, and the doubt was gone. He said softly, “I don’t want to talk about James.”
Then he kissed her. Indeed, time stood still as they clung to each other, desperate for closeness; each wishing they were anywhere else but in each other’s arms, their hearts beating together like clockwork. Lily deepened the kiss, knowing that when it ended reality would return. She distracted herself from the thoughts rattling around in her head by tracing Sirius’ jaw line, which seemed to melt at her touch. Nothing else made sense but to forget her anger at Severus and Potter and just be with him. He smelt so good, like fruit she couldn’t taste.
Time started again when Sirius drew back with flushed cheeks. He looked embarrassed and confused. Lily could hardly blame him; his best friend was the irritating git who obsessed over her. But it was just a kiss, nothing else. They had done nothing wrong; Potter didn’t own her.
“I’m sorry,” she said quietly, trying to alleviate the guilt that was written all over his face. She could almost see the cogs turning behind his eyes as he considered her words.
“I’d rather just forget about it,” Sirius whispered and walked away, leaving Lily feeling stung by her own words as she watched his retreating back. She wished she could find her voice to call him back, but it was like screaming under her breath; there was no one to hear her but herself. She felt like such an idiot; of course Sirius didn’t like her that away, it was just as spur of the moment thing. Lily couldn’t deal with spontaneity and she found the whole situation extremely unnerving. What would Sirius have done if James had found them? Sirius would always blame her. I deserve it, Lily thought. She, after all, did like Sirius. She couldn’t get her head around him but he was the only thing that made sense.
Minutes passed slowly as she stared at the portrait on the wall which had so obviously been listening in throughout the whole affair. Lily checked her watch and decided it was time to return to normality. She couldn’t rewind the clock, so she would have to pretend that she had no feelings for Sirius. She sighed and walked down the corridor, her footsteps beating rhythmically against the cold, stone floor. In the distance the clock struck five, the chiming pierced her soul as it beat in time with her heart.
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