Chapter 2 : The Knock Policy
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"Lily! Lily!" a voice called to her from somewhere near. She spun on her heel, looking around the heads of her peers for the familiar sounding voice. Then, quite unexpectedly, she was thrown backwards as a body threw itself towards her, slender arms wrapping around her neck. Trying to make out who it was, she caught sight of the culpritís long, perfectly straight, almost black hair. Smiling, she hugged back fiercely.
"Lily, Iíve missed you! How was your summer? Where were you on the train? I was looking for you but I got distracted, and then Sirius came barreling in, and of course he demands all attention. Oh, look at you with your Head badge on. Iím so excited for you!" She said this all very fast, as if she was so excited to see her friend she couldn't speak fast enough.
Lily smiled at her best friend. Aria Slater was the epitome of natural beauty. Not only did she have silky dark hair that fell gracefully over her shoulders, but she was also blessed with the most mesmerizing deep blue eyes; they almost resembled fathomless pools of crystal clear water. These electrifying assets contrasted splendidly with the paleness of her skin, her features all working harmoniously together to create a captivating vision.
Lily hugged her once again and replied, "Aria, Iíve missed you too! My summer was dull. Petunia seems to be getting worse year by year, of course. But letís not talk about that. I was up the front on the train, unfortunately, Head stuff for the trip; Iím sorry that I didnít come find you."
"Thatís okay. So Iím guessing that you didnít take the news about Potter being Head Boy too well? I couldnít believe my ears when I heard."
Lily narrowed her eyes, feeling jaded and distinctly out-of-the-loop. "Oh so you knew, did you? You didnít think to fill me in?"
"I know, Iím sorry, but James made me swear over the holidays not to tell you! I wanted to so badly Lils," Aria told her, her eyes wide and pleading for forgiveness.
Lily felt, not for the first or last time, she was sure, the many disadvantages of having her best friend living near Potters. Not only was he conveniently Ė and constantly Ė at Ariaís door when Lily herself was visiting, but now he was talking her friends into restraining valuable information from her. Oh, he had certainly crossed the line this time.
"I could hex him right nowÖ" murmured Lily, under her breath.
Aria didnít seem to be listening; she was waving frantically at someone over Lilyís shoulder, a wide smile on her face. Looking around, Lily found herself engulfed in another hug. It was their other best friend, Ella Rodgers. Pulling back, she smiled and looked at the changes that had occurred over the summer. Ella looked different; her chestnut hair had been cut to her shoulders and straightened significantly from its normally bushy state. She had lost her baby fat, and her newfound slimness accented her now slightly taller frame. But, as always, her chocolate eyes still radiated brightness and warmth from her smiling face.
"I was beginning to think you two werenít coming back this year!" Ella grinned.
Lily rolled her eyes with exasperation as Aria filled Ella in with the Potter debacle. They moved slowly towards the carriages together, Lily double checking that all the students had moved on to their appropriate places; so far, things seemed to be running smoothly.
"I canít believe heís Head Boy, Lils!" Ella exclaimed.
Lily rolled her eyes again, "Youíre telling me!"
With that they set off towards the castle to satisfy their hunger at the start of term feast.
The feast ended with few issues and the alarming, but informative and unerringly accurate, words of the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore. His long silver beard glinted in the candlelight as he explained the worsening situation of the outside world; it seemed they were already being submerged in darker times. Dumbledore firmly expressed his belief that the time for quarreling and pettiness was over, and that the time for setting aside differences and working together for the greater good was at hand; I felt as if he was speaking to me directly, and experienced another rush of shame at how I had treated James earlier on the train. Dumbledore ended with a warning to all students to stay in groups when out and about, and to notify a professor if anything seemed to be out of the ordinary.
"And as a final announcement, may I please see the Head Boy and Girl in my office after the conclusion of the feast," Professor Dumbledore announced loudly into the midst of teenage rumble.
I looked slowly over to James to catch his reaction. He remained passive, motionless, occasionally nodding to Siriusí furious attempts to include him in the Marauders latest scheme. Everyone knew that this year was going to be the biggest of them all, especially since it was the last year to wreak havoc amongst the students. I looked away, trying to decide whether I should try and catch his attention as a reminder of our duties, or just leave him to his own devices. What good would it do this year to continually remind him of all his responsibilities? I was pulled out of my reverie by the low, velvet sound of my name being repeated nearby.
"Oi, Lily. Lily!" James was intently waving his hand in front of my face. I blinked, trying to regain my composure before I made a fool of myself.
"Oh, er, right. Sorry Potter. Erm . . . shall we go?"
By this time most of the students had turned in for the night, setting off for their respective common rooms. James and I silently headed for the Headmasterís office. I used this time to throw a few inconspicuous glances in his direction. Now that I was looking closely, I noticed the discreet changes that had taken place over the summer: he seemed to hold himself more upright, confident as usual, but with a new sense of responsibility; with his elevated height, his jaw seemed more pronounced and less boyish; he still, however, had the old traits Ė stuffing his hands in his pockets and occasionally ruffling his hair to keep it looking Ďwind-blowní. He must have noticed my gaze, because his eyes found my own, giving me a puzzled look. Thankfully, by this time we had reached the gargoyle that guarded Dumbledoreís office, saving me from an explanation I really did not want to give. I honestly didnít know why I was studying him so closely to begin with. Muttering the password, James and I climbed the revolving stairs. I was just about to knock on the oak door, which I knew led to Dumbledoreís office, when a deep voice told me to enter.
Slowly opening the door, I stopped and looked tentatively around the beautiful, circular room. It was enormous, with a high ceiling and spacious floor. This was the first time I had entered the magnificent quarters. The walls were covered with portraits of the numerous number of previous headmasters and headmistresses; they took up almost every spare inch of wall space. The only blank wall left was immediately behind the Dumbledoreís desk, upon which a shelf was mounted. The Sorting Hat sat on top of the shelf, looking inconspicuous and especially ragged. Feeling slightly awed by the quarters our Headmaster kept, I felt James push past me gently and stride into the room; James, of course, had been here before. He sat down on one of the chairs facing the Headmaster looking bored and unconcerned with the amazing surroundings. Smiling wryly to myself, I remembered that he was a Marauder through and through; his trips to this particular room were probably numerous and frequent.
"Ah yes, Lily, James, thank you for coming. I know that you probably want to get some much needed sleep after your long journey, but I felt this meeting was necessary. As you heard from my speech tonight, it is becoming more and more necessary that we take extra caution in all of our endeavors. This is a dark time. The attacks and disappearances happening outside of our walls arenít something to be taken lightly. As Head Boy and Girl this year, I find it necessary that you should strive to work together. Lord Voldemort would like us to feel disconnected, he would want us to fight amongst ourselves. We need to create a lasting, peaceful bond with not only our friends, but also our enemies. We need to create unity between the houses. Yes James, the Slytherins as well. I know that this will be hard, but I think, in the long run, it will do us all good. I made James Head Boy partly in the hope that the other students will see your determination to work together and coexist peacefully and mimic it themselves."
He seemed to give a knowing glance to James, but I was quickly distracted with the next topic.
"As you know, Heads are awarded certain privileges that go along with your responsibilities. Youíll find your Head rooms located just near your Gryffindor common room, behind the portrait of the man reading the Daily Prophet. I expect you know where that is, James?" Dumbledore continued.
"Yes Sir, Iíll show Lily where it is," James promised.
"Excellent. Besides the regular meetings you will need to oversee the Prefects and their duties. Make sure that they do not abuse their power and are working together. I think that is all I need to tell you for tonight. Oh, of course. You will need to decide on a password that will get you into your common room," Dumbledore informed them both.
"I donít think that will be too hard Sir." James smiled wryly.
"Excellent, excellent. Well, on that note, I suggest you both go get settled in. Your friends have been informed of where your new living quarters are, so they wonít be too worried about your whereabouts. Goodnight."
James and I left Dumbledoreís office quickly, and silently made our way in the direction of the Gryffindor common room. I had never heard of, or seen, this supposed portrait, so it was a mystery to me. We rounded a corner and a huge portrait seemed to be waiting for our arrival. I turned to James.
"So, what is our new password? Iím thinking something we wonít forget, or anything that might be figured out. Do you have any ideas?" I asked forthrightly.
"Well, I hope you donít mind Evans, but I took the liberty of setting it up in advance. I thought that it might not go down so well if we had to decide on one together," James replied confidently, smirking at the situation and the position of power he had already claimed.
I narrowed my eyes, expecting a condescending word, or nasty sentence, seeing as it was James Potter, Sirius Blackís best friend; they were the epitome of crassness. What else could I expect?
"Okay then, letís hear it."
He turned to the portrait and spoke, "Lily Potter".
He disappeared through the portrait hole swiftly, most likely to avoid my reaction. I felt the anger rise from my very core. Of all the low, ridiculous tricks! How could he do such a thing?! What are people going to say!? But more importantly, how the hell did he get that idea? It just wasnít plausible! I clenched my fists at my side and felt my face heat up from anger. I marched through the portrait hole with my anger building and building as I went.
"James Potter! Youíd better have a good explanation for this! How the hell could you even think I was going to tolerate that password? Youíd better change it before I do something I might regret, and something that might make your face even less appealing to look at!"
I stomped into the room, forgetting to look at my new living arrangements due to the blind anger I was experiencing. He was on one of the lounges, looking relaxed and unconcerned at my consternation. I stomped over in front of him, my hands on my hips. He looked up momentarily to take the measure of the full extent of my anger. His eyes widened slightly as he saw how serious I was.
"Okay Lily, it was just a slight joke. I didnít really have anything to do with it. Sirius kind of made me do it... and I donít know... it just kind of stuck. We arenít really sure you can change it," he replied quickly, looking apologetic.
"Oh, and so if Sirius said 'go lasso a dragon' or Ďgo give Snape a back rubí, would you?" I retorted.
His eyes widened even further at the thought of touching Snape.
"Okay, so now that you put it that way, I can see your point. Iím really sorry Lily. Iíll make sure I talk to Sirius."
My anger abated as he apologised. At least he was repentant about the issue. It still didnít make up for the fact that I would have to utter my first name and his last name every time I came into the common room, but it was a start.
"And there is no way that we can change it?" I asked in aggravation.
"I donít think so. Apparently once itís set, itís set," he answered quietly, looking down at his feet.
I groaned. My anger was starting to fade as I accepted that there was nothing I could do about it. No point in getting angry; after all, Dumbledore had told us to forget pettiness, and certainly a password was petty. I was just going to have to deal with the situation. As my blood cooled, I became suddenly aware of my surroundings.
My first thought was that the room was large, warm and comforting. The fire was already lit and casting a flickering light over the furniture. The room was modeled in Gryffindor common room fashion; the squishy armchairs that were in the tower had been brought down here too, the only difference being that they looked a little less careworn. On one wall rows and rows of books were crammed into shelves that stretched to the ceiling; on another there was a sizeable store of Quidditch knick-knacks. My first thought was that Dumbledore was really trying to incorporate both James and I into the room to make us feel at home. I then noticed that there were two doors on either side of the room. The one on the left, the same side as the books, had a silver plaque with the curving word ĎLilyí engraved on it; the other plaque was gold and was etched with the bolder name, ĎJamesí. I wandered idly to my door, curious to see my new room.
I pushed the door open and was in immediate awe. The room was bigger than the dormitory I had shared with my fellow Gryffindor girls. The bed was large and inviting, and off to the side was a walk-in wardrobe. Even though I wasnít too interested in the wardrobe because it was a part of the whole Ďpamperingí and Ďsuperficialí lifestyle, I couldnít help but think that Dumbledore certainly knew how to please a girl.
There was an entry to a bathroom on the opposite wall and I went to investigate, curiosity and pure materialistic glee at my surroundings rising up inside of me. I was unsurprised but joyful when I saw it was massive. There was a spacious bath with multiple jets in the side as well as a large shower with many confusing-looking spigots. I looked at the vanity and saw two basins and a long mirror that stretched almost the entire length of the wall. I stopped dead. Looking up I saw the adjoining door, which must be from Jamesí room, and I realized the truth: we had to share a bathroom. I had to share a bathroom with James Potter. This was going to be a nightmare. I breathed deeply for a minute or two, trying to contain myself, before knocking on his side of the door.
James opened the door and poked his head in. "Yeah? Oh wow. This is huge. Wait . . . Two basins; weíre sharing it seems," he said, looking concerned at how I would take it.
"Yes, so it seems. Letís get this straight: weíre introducing the knock policy. Got it? Walk in on me in my knickers even once and thatíll be the end of you, James Potter."
"Seems fine and dandy to me." He saluted and then walked out the way he came in. I stood staring at the space he had been standing in a minute before; he hadnít even made some snarky comment. Had I become less intimidating over the summer?
I looked around again and then leaned against the vanity, closing my eyes. This was only the first night and I was already struggling to calm my rage. I could only imagine what the rest of the year was going to be like. Living in close contact with Potter! How was I going to deal with this? Never in a million years had I expected to find myself in this situation. I walked back into my room and changed into my pyjamas. Sliding into bed, I welcomed the much needed sleep. The day coming was going to be hard. N.E.W.Ts certainly werenít the most inviting concept, and neither was the prospect of sharing the bathroom with Potter for the first time.†
Hello all! Another chapter up. My apologies for the PoV change in this chapter. I have no idea why I did it, but I'll be sticking to third person for the remainder of the story. Hopefully I haven't lost many people.
How do you like the chapter image? Is it what you pictured Ella to look like in your head? Michy is fantastic! I urge you to go have a look at her TDA page!
Another big thanks to my beta Katie. She is amazing! It wouldn't be this tight without her!
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