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Chapter 2 : The Beginning
 
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Class ended as Black and I made our way back through the hallways from the hospital wing. As I had predicted, I was already beginning to feel uncomfortable. The students around us, well, the girls around us all gaped unbelievingly or glared at me, and I made a mental note to learn how to sleep with my eyes open.

“Geeze, Evans. You’d think we’d sprouted orange antlers and gotten green and pink polka dots the way everyone’s ogling at us,” Black commented in disgust. “This is exactly why I don’t date.”

“I’m not sure how fond I am of it anymore either,” I agreed as I watched a girl who looked to be a third year burst into tears. I distinctly saw another, very large girl crack her knuckles with a menacing growl. I gripped my bag more tightly.

“Oy! Padfoot!” I jumped at the shout and glanced around to find James Potter standing with two bags. As I watched, he beckoned us over, and out of pure habit, I rolled my eyes and attempted to stalk of in the opposite direction. Black, however, had other ideas.

I nearly lost my balance as Black forcibly jerked me in Potter’s direction. I attempted to dig my heels into the ground to stop him, but I only accomplished nearly toppling to the floor again. So I accepted my fate and let him tow me over to his waiting best mate.

“Hey, Prongs,” Black greeted Potter nervously, but Potter didn’t responded. He was staring at our still-clasped hands with wide eyes and a peculiar expression that looked oddly like devastation. “Er, Bronski was out of the potion she needed to help us, so it looks like Evans and I are gonna be stuck to each other for a few hours yet,” Black explained hastily.

“Oh.” Potter sighed in relief. Flashing a grin at me, he said, “Well, that’s unfortunate.”

“No kidding,” I agreed grouchily.

Potter’s smile grew. “Not just for you, either. Here, Padfoot. You left your bag in Defense. How long did you say the two of you will be stuck together? A few hours?” he verified.

“Er, actually, it’ll be just infinitesimally longer than that,” Black admitted, kicking at the ground.

Potter sighed. “How long, Padfoot?”

“Oh, just…six hours…”

”Six hours?!” Potter hissed, leaning forward in outraged disbelief.

“Actually, it’ll be closer to seven, according to Madame Bronski,” I corrected him unwillingly.

Potter made a ”tsss” sound as he inhaled sharply through his teeth and cringed. “You do realize what this means, don’t you?” he shot at Black.

“Er…both of us are at risk of suffering from kidney failure?” he guessed.

Potter took off his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose, shutting his eyes. "No, you dolt…Well, I suppose it’s a possibility, but that’s not what I’m referring to! We have to take her with us now!” he told Black, nodding sideways at me.

Black’s eyes widened in horrific realization while mine narrowed in suspicion. Apparently, I was complicating some epic plan of theirs. “Yes, that could present a problem, couldn’t it?”

Potter nodded wearily, his glasses back on his face.

“Take me where?” I demanded loudly.

Black and Potter both turned their heads to look incredulously at me. “Say it louder, why don’t you, Evans?” said Potter. He looked shiftily both ways. “Come on.”

Black dragged me after he and Potter (as I protested all the while) until we reached a deserted corridor that I was certain was a secret passageway. Potter clamped one of his long hands over my mouth. “Shut up, Evans,” he commanded. I bit his hand. He stifled a yelp and glared at me as he quickly removed his offending appendage.

”Don’t touch me again,” I spat. Black was doubled over with silent laughter, his arms folded across his stomach…It wasn’t a very comfortable position for me, seeing as he had my left arm weaving through his; as he laughed, my arm jerked all around with him. I gave him a good whack to the back of his head, and he sobered up quickly enough.

“Well, aren’t you just the violent little banshee today?” said Black, miffed. “It had to be her I got glued to,” he complained to Potter. “Any other girl wouldn’t give us on hundredth of the trouble she will!”

Potter nodded gravely in agreement. “She probably won’t come quietly, either,” he added.

“Go where?” I demanded again impatiently.

“Hogsmeade,” they both informed me shortly and dismissively.

“Whoa, wait. You can’t just go strolling around Hogsmeade on a whim whenever you want!” I protested. “Particularly you, Potter. You’re Head Boy, and you have to set a good example! Plus, we’d have to skip class to go now, so we can’t!”

Potter and Black both rolled their eyes. “And yet, we’ll go anyway,” Black contradicted.

“No, you won’t!” I insisted stubbornly.

“Oh, yeah? Watch us!” said Potter, raising his eyebrows quickly in a challenge.

“I won’t stand for it!” I cried in outrage.

“You may not have to,” Black told me in a bone chilling, dark, menacing way that had me cringing as far away from him as our hands would let me. “I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult for me to cart you around unconscious. In fact, that might be a helpful diversion,” he mused. My mouth fell open in horror.

“You wouldn’t” I said.

“Looks like you have two choices, Evans,” Potter told me stiffly. “Either you come quietly and aware, or you come quietly and knocked out. Take your pick.”

I had the distinct feeling that they were serious, so I sighed. “Very well, then. But you’ll understand that it’s my obligation as Head Girl to take five points each from all three of us for this…along with however many points get docked when we get caught,” I warned.

Both boys were grinning at me again. What? Do these boys have multiple personality disorder? I thought. “You’re taking points from yourself, Evans? Very admirable,” Black teased. I rolled my eyes.

“Besides, we won’t get caught…as long as you cooperate,” Potter assured me with a wink. “You forget that we’re the Marauders…with a…” He trailed off and looked me over, searching for a word to sum up my role. “The Marauders with a twist,” he finally decided. I cocked an eyebrow. “And Marauders don’t get caught.”

“Come on. Let’s go,” said Black, pulling me out of our hiding place. We were in the dungeons.

We’d hardly walked five yards when I heard someone call out to me. “Lily!” I turned to see Marlene running to catch up with us. I stopped, forcing Black and Potter to stop as well, and waited for her. “Lily, where are you go…What is this?” she demanded at Black and my hands.

I sighed. “Madame Bronski has to make a potion to separate our hands. I won’t be Black-less until later tonight,” I explained grimly.

“Oh. Well, where are you going?” she inquired.

I bit m lip and glanced quickly at my unlikely companions. They were waiting impatiently for me. “Look, Marlene. I need you to cover for me in Potions, okay?”

”You’re cutting class to go galivantering around with a couple of Marauders?” she hissed as though certain that this was a sure sign of the apocalypse.

“Yes, well, I’ve been unavoidably detained,” I argued in my defense. “Just…tell Slughorn what happened in Defense and that I’m still in the infirmary with Black.”

Marlene sighed. “Alright, but honestly, I don’t think Slughorn would care if I told him you were by the Great Lake feeding the ducks.”

“Thanks, Marlene. I’ll explain later,” I promised, and we set off again, moving swiftly and taking detours, shortcuts, and passageways that I hadn’t even known existed. Finally, we ended up in front of the statue of the hump-backed witch on the third floor. Remus Lupin was waiting there with a piece of parchment and a peculiar looking cloak.

“Thanks, Moony,” said Potter, relieving Remus of the two strange objects. Remus looked curiously at me. “Er, but actually, due to certain, unfortunate events, we’re going to be stuck with Evans for a while longer. And, well, you know all four of us can’t fit…”

“Say no more,” said Remus pleasantly, holding up a hand. “I can go back to class. What do you want me to say to cover for you?”

“Marlene McKinnon already has a story for Evans and I, but Prongs is still unexplained,” said Black.

“Right.” Remus looked at me and grinned patronizingly. “Enjoy yourself out there, Lily. This should be an educational and enlightening experience for you,” he told me, and then, patting my shoulder as he passed, he left.

“He’s going to be late for class,” I mused. The halls were almost completely empty now.

“Silly Lily,” said Black. “He’s a Marauder. He’ll make it in time…barely…if he runs…”

“Right. Shall we?” said Potter, gesturing to the statue.

My brow furrowed in confusion. “Shall we what, exactly?” I inquired, completely at a loss.

Potter drew his wand and exchanged a glance and a grin with Black. “Watch and learn, Evans. Dissendium!” he said, tapping the statue with his wand.

I watched in astonishment as the statue’s hump opened. “Bags,” said Potter, taking all of our bags and throwing them in first. “Okay, I’ll go first to help you two. This could get complicated. Evans, you’ll go after me,” he ordered with surprising authority. “Now, you’ll need to go feet-first on your stomach, and Padfoot will follow you immediately, face-first on his stomach. It’ll be like a slide. Alright. Let’s go.” With that, he flung himself down the hole feet-first on his back.

“Your turn, Evans,” said Black. He took my other hand now as well and aided me as I lowered myself into the hole on my stomach. “Ready?” he asked once I was situated.

“Ready and waiting,” I replied impatiently. He climbed in, and then we were sliding down the dark passage. Once, we reached the bottom, I let the boys help me up. Potter had his wand lit so that we could see in the narrow tunnel.

“Where’s my bag?” I inquired.

“It’s down here,” Potter assured me. “We’ll leave the bags here and pick them up when we get back. No one will find them here. Now, let’s press on.”

As we walked, I asked questions. “So, why couldn’t Remus come with us?” I asked.

“We make it a point not to take all of us whenever we sneak into Hogsmeade. Too conspicuous. I told you, we don’t get caught,” Potter explained.

“And because we can’t fit all four of us under Prongs’s cloak,” Black added matter-of-factly.

“What? What cloak? The one Remus gave you?”

“You’ll see. Just be patient,” said Potter.

“What else did Remus give you? You know, besides the cloak. That piece of parchment?”

“You’ll see,” Potter repeated, seemingly amused by my curiosity.

Finally, we reached an incline, and I thought we were almost there…then we came to the stairs. Wooden and seemingly unending, they slanted up, up, and up into the darkness that Potter’s wand light couldn’t yet penetrate. The maddening ascension we made on them had me panting before long and almost completely out of breath by the time we reached the top.

Opening what appeared to be a trap door, Potter and Black both peeked their heads out. They stayed in that position for a rather long while, and I grew impatient before long. “Move your fat arses already, won’t you?” I finally hissed.

“Shut up, Evans, or you’ll blow our cover,” Potter commanded in a fierce whisper. “Besides, my arse is perfectly fine, thank you very much.” But he crawled out of the passage anyway.

“Up you come, Evans,” Black whispered as he pulled me out after him.

“Alright, Evans. This is a top-secret Marauder covert item that you are about to see, so you are henceforth sworn to silence. Everything that happens today in Hogsmeade, stays in Hogsmeade,” Potter told me. “Am I understood?”

“Perfectly,” I assured him, sure that I’d be wanting to just forget about it when it was all said and done anyway.

“Good.” With that, he reached into his robes and pulled out the same peculiar cloak that Remus had given him. “Come here. You’ll have to stick close behind us.” Then, with a flourish, he engulfed all three of us in the cloak.

“Fantastic,” I murmured sarcastically. “Now we’ll just be a conspicuous, moving, cloak-enfolded blob.”

The boys laughed. “Correction,” said Black. “We will just be and inconspicuous, moving, invisibility cloak-covered blob of invisible ingenuity.”

I gasped. ”Invisibility cloak?!”

“Yes, darling Evans. But enough chatter. Things to do, you know,” said Potter. So we set off, Black and Potter side-by-side with me trailing closely behind them.

We walked out of the little cellar we’d arrived in, and we turned out to actually be in Honeydukes. It seemed oddly barren without the large crowd of Hogwarts students that had always been packed into the little sweet shop whenever I’d visited on a Hogsmeade weekend.

Since I had thought all of their business would be conducted in Honeydukes, it surprised me a little that the boys walked purposefully right out of the doors. “Where are we going?” I asked.

Both boys turned their heads to grin at me. “Ever been to Zonko’s, Evans?” Black inquired. I shook my head. “Pity. Well, we’re going to fix that. “You’re in for a treat.”

“I’m sure I am,” I agreed sarcastically. I shivered. I was wearing a warm sweater and jeans underneath my robes, but I still wished I had my cloak for extra protection against the late October chill.

As we stepped into Zonko’s I looked around me with curiosity. I could see why the Marauders favored the store. It was a prankster’s heaven…but I wasn’t a prankster. All the same, even though I wasn’t, I was impressed. A whole manner of contraptions and devices were everywhere and were all I could see. I hadn’t the faintest idea what most of them were.

“Jerry?” Potter called, pulling the cloak off of us.

A middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair appeared behind the counter. “My boys!” the man greeted exuberantly. “Skiving off class again? Whatever shall I do with you?”

“Adore us,” suggested Black.

“Sell us your ingenious products,” Potter added.

The man called Jerry laughed. “Speaking of which, what can I get you boys today?” he inquired.

“Oh, just the usual party pack…and a Joking Jack-O-Lantern,” Potter replied without much consideration.

“Well, you know where it all is. Go ahead and fetch them yourself,” said Jerry, shoving Potter off into another section of the shop. Once Potter was gone, Jerry said, “Is this a girlfriend, son?” He seemed only to have just noticed me and was looking me over with interest.

Though I blushed madly, Black just laughed. “No. You know I don’t like wasting my time with girls, Jerry. This is just the result of Wormtail with a wand. Evans here and I are involuntarily stuck together,” he explained.

“Evans?” Jerry verified, raising his eyebrows as he focused on me again with increased interest.

“Oh, yeah! Jerry, this is Lily Evans. Evans, this is Jerry Butch,” Sirius introduced, gesturing with free left hand.

“Pleased to meet you, my dear,” he greeted me, taking my free hand in both of his and giving it one firm shake. “Good heavens, darling! Your hand is freezing! I’d give you a pair of gloves on the house, but the only ones I have in stock cut off your circulation.” He and Black laughed at my look of appalled horror. “Oh, it’s all just good-natured humor. No real harm done!

“So you’re the infamous Lily Evans,” he said, changing the subject. “You’re James’s girl.”

“M-me?! No I…I’m not…Potter and I aren’t…I most certainly don’t…I’m not involved with Potter!” I spluttered,

“Yes, you must be her,” Jerry insisted. Black was nodding in confirmation, so I elbowed him. Jerry chortled merrily. “Judging by what James has told me of you, you probably weren’t very enthusiastic about coming here.”

“No, sir,” I said.

Jerry laughed again. “Please, just call me Jerry. That’s a pity. James will be good for you,” he told me.

“But I…”

“Then again, you’ll probably be good for him every now and again,” he added thoughtfully.

Black was sniggering at me silently. I stepped on his foot. “But I told you! I’m not involved with…”

“Hey, Jerry, I was just thinking that we might need a manual-explosion Dungbomb,” said Potter, strolling back into the room carrying a colorfully decorated box, a seemingly normal jack-o-lantern, and a dungbomb.

“Will that be all?” Jerry inquired as though we hadn’t just been discussing my non-existent relationship with him.

“Yes, I think so,” Potter replied, trading a few coins for a bag in which to put his purchases. “We’ll be back when it’s time to leave. Do you mind if we leave these here?”

“No, not at all,” Jerry replied, taking everything but the Dungbomb back from Potter. “Mind you stop in to see Rosmerta before you leave. She always enjoys your visits.”

“Will do,” Black promised, starting towards the door with Potter and me following.

“Take care of yourself, Lily. And have fun!” Jerry called merrily to me.

I shot a smile over my shoulder at him. “I’ll try to,” I told him with a quick wave before I was pulled out of the shop.

“Alright then,” said Potter, taking the lead and covering us with the cloak again. “Let’s press on, shall we?”

“Where are we going now?” I asked them.

“Back to Honeydukes. We need to pick up some sweets for the party,” Black answered. “So what’s the plan of action, Prongs?”

“I’ll go around under the cloak and set up the diversion and check prices in advanced. In the meantime, the two of you will keep the owner busy. Then, when I give the word, detonate the bomb. After that’s done, I’ll get you back under the cloak, we’ll get what we need, and I’ll pay on the way. Padfoot, you get the Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum, Peppermint Toads, and Fudge. Evans, you’ll be in charge of Chocolate Frogs, Licorice Wands, and Sugar Quills. As for me, I’ll handle the Fizzing Whizbees, Ice Mice, and Berty Bott’s Every Flavor Beans.”

“Right-o, mate,” said Black, giving Potter a salute.

“But how can we possibly grab enough for the whole of Gryffindor? There’s no way we can hold all of that!” I pointed out.

The boys laughed at me, and I clandestinely wished they’d stop doing that. “Oh, sweet, darling, naïve Evans. That’s what Refilling Charms are for,” Black told me. “Just grab one package of each, and we’ll have more than enough to go around.”

“Oh,” I said, feeling foolish. We’d reached Honeydukes again by that time, so Black and I stepped out from under the cloak.

“Good luck, all,” I heard Potter say, and then the door of the shop opened and closed, leaving Black and me alone.

“Alright, Evans. I have a plan,” Black told me. “I’m going to put a spell on you to make you look sick, and I’m going to call for help. Of course, you won’t really be sick, but you’ll look it. So, you sit there moaning like the disabled, ill little girl that they’ll think you are, and I’ll keep them talking. Then, when I say, ‘and I think she’s gone delirious’, I want you to say, ‘implosivate’. That’ll detonate the Dungbomb. After that, we follow Prongs’s plan. Any questions?” he inquired.

“Yes. Why do we have to use a diversion?” I asked.

“Well, you see, the owner of Honeydukes is actually somewhat like you, Evans,” Black told me.

“I beg you pardon?”

“You see, the owner of Honeydukes is the only one who seems to mind our mischievous endeavors. If we didn’t use a diversion, we’d be caught. And as we’ve been telling you repeatedly today, Marauders don’t get caught,” he explained. “Alright. Let’s do this.” He put a color-changing charm on my face, and then he considered me.

“Evans, you look exquisite in chartreuse,” he told me with a grin. I rolled my eyes. “But something’s missing. Ah, yes. Perspirto!” A cold, clammy sweat broke out on my face after he said the incantation. “There you are. You’re the picture of illness!” he informed me delightedly. “Ladies first.” He had the door open for me, so I led him in.

I was barely across the threshold when Black tackled me. “Oh, sweet MERLIN!” he cried. “Delilah! Help! Somebody help!” He leaned in. “Remember to moan,” he muttered, shaking my shoulder.

Curling into a ball, I let out an agonized moan as the shopkeeper rushed over. “What has happened here?” he demanded.

“WejustcamefromtheThreeBroomsticksshewasfineaminuteago! IthinkitwassomethingsheateDOSOMETHING!!!” Black rambled in a convincing, fake panic.

“Sir, I need you to calm down and tell me you names,” said the owner, placing a hand on Black’s shoulder.

“I’m Romulus White, and this is Delilah Stewart,” Black told the shopkeeper. As he said my fake name, he placed his other hand on our already joined ones. I threw in a few sobs. “Hang in there, Del.”

"What are you doing outside of school?”

“Oh, we’re on an Honors Advanced Arithmancy field trip,” Black lied smoothly. I turned my outburst of laughter into a cry of pain.

“You’re the only two students on an Arithmancy field trip?”

”Honors Advanced Arithmancy. A reward for outstanding numerical achievement,” Black corrected him, even playing into it so far that he puffed his chest out proudly. I gasped and moaned to let them know that I was still there.

“How long has she been like this?” the owner inquired. I felt the back of his hand touch my forehead.

“Just since we entered the shop,” Black replied. I felt him slip a wand surreptitiously into my right hand. “And I think she’s gone delirious, sir,” he said emphatically.

“IMPLOSIVATE!” I screamed like a madwoman.

I heard a crash and opened my eyes to see a rather fancy chocolate display blast apart and scatter everywhere. People were running out of Honeydukes screaming.

“What the…?!” the owner exclaimed, scrambling up and away from us. The most foul stench that had ever happened across my nose reached me, and I let out a cry of disgust. But then I was being pulled up to my feet, and all of a sudden, I was back under the cloak and running with the boys.

I saw Black grab something off a shelf and suddenly remembered what I was supposed to be doing. I saw the Licorice Wands coming up and grabbed a bag, stuffing it in my robe pocket. Then I grabbed a package of Sugar Quills, trying to hold both them and my wand at the same time. I knew I wouldn’t be able to carry the Chocolate Frogs, so I thought on my feet. “Locomotor Chocolate Frogs!” I shouted. A box floated off the shelf and under the cloak as we continued to run. Just before we reached the door, I saw Potter throw down a few coins on the counter.

And then we were out. We were all panting and laughing. With both hands free, Potter had easily carried all of his items, but Black was a different story. He’d stuffed the Peppermint Toads in his robe pocket and was carrying the fudge, but he had the package of Drooble’s Best Blowing Gum caught between his teeth. Taking pity on him, I conjured a grocery bag to put our purchases in and made a mental note not to have any gum at the party that night. In return, he lifted the charms he’d placed on me so that I looked perfectly healthy again.

After that, we all stopped in at the Three Broomsticks for butterbeers. The warmth of the beverage had me laughing and joking right along with Potter, Black, and Madame Rosmerta.

I continued to laugh, joke, and chat merrily with the boys against all odds all the way back to the school. “You know,” said Black at one point, “I think this could be the beginning of a B-E-A-U-tiful friendship.”




A/N:
So here's the second chapter, everyone! I hope you liked it. It sure was long enough! This is the longest chapter I've ever written! 14 pages in my notebook and 11 pages on Word. Leave a review!...please?
-R_S


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