Chapter 4 : Stupidity in its Simplest Form
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I hadn’t originally known the exact cause of my awakening, but the reason quickly became apparent. An origami lion the size of a kitten was crouched on my chest, playfully batting at my nose with its paper paw.
I grabbed it around the middle and sat up with it, cradling it against me. I picked my wand up off the end table and poised it above the lion. It batted its paw at my wand, and as soon as the two objects made contact, the lion unfolded itself. It was a note, and I had a pretty good idea who it was from. It said,
My suspicions were instantly confirmed. A week had passed since that fateful day when Sirius and I had become stuck to each other, and since then, the Marauders and I had been…on better terms. We’d even taken to using each other’s first names… sometimes… when we weren’t fighting… which was half the time. I read on.
Up and at ‘em! You promised you’d come, and we will not let you go back on your word. If you’re not down here in ten minutes, we’ll…do something about it. Just be a good, cooperative girl and come down. We don’t want to have to come up with a plan to forcefully remove you.
I groaned. Of course they hadn’t forgotten. They were really going to make me attend my very first Quidditch match today.
Your best friends ever,
Messers Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs.
P.S. To receive your house spirit, tap this paper with your wand again.
Confused, I tapped the paper again. It turned into a red poster as soon as my wand touched it. Had it been later in the morning, and had I not been half asleep yet, the paper would have already been charred remnants on the floor of the dormitory. As it was, I had to squeeze my eyes shut and count slowly to ten to keep myself from crumpling the paper and tearing it to shreds. It had said, “I LOVE JAMES POTTER!!!” in huge, obnoxious, gold letters.
However, when I reopened my eyes, the message had changed.
Just kidding, Lily… No, seriously, Lily, calm down. We didn’t mean anything by it. Here’s what it’s supposed to say…
It changed again into a much more acceptable, “GRYFFINDOR LIONS: KINGS OF THE HOGWARTS JUNGLE!”
With a sigh of acceptance, I dragged myself out from under the warmth of my comforter to get dressed. Afterwards, I shuffled down to the common room.
A cry of indignant outrage met me the second I opened the door.
”NOOOOOOOO!” Of course it was Sirius. “Lily! You can’t wear that! Where’s your sense of team spirit, woman?!?”
I assessed my usual school robes, startled by the scale of his disapproval. “What’s wrong with how I’m dressed?” I demanded.
“What isn’t wrong with it?” he replied. “Marlene, please go help your hopeless friend find something suitable to wear.”
Marlene, along with Alice, had gotten to know the Marauders a little better since “The Incident”, and they were now on a first name basis with them… sometimes. Also, Marlene, who had been raised in a wizarding environment, was a little more enthusiastic towards Quidditch than I was, so she rolled her eyes with a half-smile and pulled me by the hand back up the stairwell. I, of course, grumbled the whole way.
“…Doing him enough of a favor by even going… sounds like my mother, telling me what not to wear…” I ranted, fading out and back in again as each new mutinous thought struck me.
Oh, give it a rest, Lily,” said Marlene with a giggle. “This is Sirius Black you’re dealing with here. Of course he’s going to be your own personal fashion police. Now, let’s see here… Black sweater… red and gold scarf… red earmuffs… gold hat… and jeans,” she advised, throwing each of the garments at me as she mentioned them. “Hop to it!”
Once I’d changed, she looked over my apparel judiciously. “Hm…needs some finishing touches,” she mused. She took my hands and drew her wand, tapping each of my fingernails with it twice. Once to paint them, and a second time to dry them. When she was finished, I had an alternating pattern of red and gold. Then, she rapped me smartly over the head. At first, I was too distracted by the mild sting to realize that she’d just braided my hair.
Quickly analyzing my outfit once more, Marlene shrugged. “You’ll do,” she declared in an off-hand tone of voice. “Come on. Breakfast time.”
I’d had a smart remark all planned out for Sirius, but he wasn’t there when I got back down. Marlene laughed at my confused face.
“They’ll have already gone down to breakfast. They don’t have time to wait on fashionless females…at least not on game day,” she informed me.
“Of course. Where’s Alice?” I asked.
“Probably off fraternizing with the enemy,” she grumbled in reply. My brow furrowed in confusion. “You know. That Ravenclaw punk she fancies. The one at the top of Defense Against the Dark Arts. What’s his name? Fred Shorthand?”
“Frank Longbottom,” I corrected. I was well-acquainted with Frank. He was an agreeable person. I kind of liked him, personally.
“Yeah, him,” Marlene growled as we started to make our way out of the common room and down to the Great Hall.
“What’s wrong with Longbottom?” I inquired curiously.
Marlene rolled her eyes. “What isn’t wrong with him?” she replied inconclusively. I raised an eyebrow at her insubstantial response; she sighed. “He’s only captain of the Ravenclaw Quidditch team,” she clarified through clenched teeth.
I laughed at her nearly unwarranted hostility towards Frank. “You take sports too seriously,” I commented.
“When it comes to Quidditch, Lily, there’s no such thing as ‘too serious’,” she contradicted.
“It’s just a game,” I reminded her.
Marlene’s eyes grew wide, and she gasped. ”Just a game?!?” she cried in astonishment. “Quidditch is the international heritage of all wizard-kind! It’s what defines us! What did you think the core of the entire magical world was?”
“Hm…Let’s see. The core of the entire magical world. Wouldn’t that be, oh I don’t know, magic?”
“NO! It’s Quidditch! It’s all about Quidditch!” she insisted.
“Yes, of course,” I agreed sarcastically as we entered the Great Hall. “That must be why we have Defense Against the Dark Arts. Who knows when two opposing team members might start duking it out over a foul?”
By this time, we’d made it to the Gryffindor table. James and Sirius were busy shoveling food into their mouths at top speed while Remus calmly read the Daily Prophet. We sat across from them.
“So what are the two of you bickering about this morning?” asked Sirius around a mouthful of eggs.
Marlene ignored his atrocious table manners. “Lily doesn’t think that Quidditch is important!” she declared indignantly.
A shower of half-chewed eggs rained over the table as Sirius spat his mouth’s occupants out in shock. I wrinkled my nose and gingerly flicked the chunk nearest myself away.
”Not important?!? What’s wrong with you, Evans?” he demanded. “Of course Quidditch is important! Quidditch is a witch or wizard’s EVERYTHING!”
“That’s exactly what I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen,” Marlene sympathized. “She just kept insisting that magic was the most important thing in the wizarding world.”
“What next? I suppose that presents aren’t what Christmas is all about,” James said in an exasperated way, but I could just hear a hint of sarcasm hidden underneath.
“You all need your priorities rearranged,” Remus muttered as he flipped a page.
“Thank you, Remus,” I said. “Of course magic is the most important thing in the magical world. I mean, without magic, there wouldn’t even be a magical world because without magic, there wouldn’t be the word magical to put in front of the word world because magic wouldn’t exist. So it’d just be the world,” I explained.
All four of them were staring at me, dumbfounded. Remus peered at me with his brow furrowed over the top of his paper. Marlene’s hand had frozen in place with her drink half way to her mouth. Sirius gaped at me with his mouth wide open, displaying a rather unappetizing view of his half-chewed hash. James had closed his teeth around half a piece of bacon, but had forgotten to bite in and draw the other half away. Slowly, he did so.
“Come again?” he asked slowly.
“Dish tom en engwish?” Sirius added unintelligibly.
“I’m not repeating that! It took forever to spit out the first time!” I objected.
“Yes, and it made no sense once you did,” said Remus.
“Anyway, we’ve gotta go,” Sirius announced, having finally swallowed his food. “C’mon, James.”
“See you at the game, Marlene, Lily,” James said, reaching across the table and pulling one of my braids. He winked at us in his usual gesture before strolling off with Sirius and the rest of the Gryffindor Quidditch team behind them.
“We’ll make you see reason, Lily. Don’t give up hope yet,” Marlene encouraged me.
“We’ll just see about that,” I told her doubtfully. “Are you going down with us, Remus?”
“I can if you’d like,” he replied.
“Yes, that’s a good idea. I might need help frog-marching Lily down to the pitch,” Marlene told him.
“Where’s Peter this morning?” I inquired of Remus.
“Trust me. You don’t want to know,” he assured me with a dark chuckle.
“On the contrary. Now we want to know more than ever,” Marlene objected.
Remus sighed. “suffice it to say that he ate…way too much cheese last night,” he admitted evasively.
I groaned. “Why’d you say we wanted to know?” I demanded of Marlene.
“Let’s go now,” said Marlene, ignoring my question and pulling me to my feet.
“You know, we could say I got sick,” I suggested half-heartedly to Remus and Marlene as they both took one of my arms and pulled me along with them. “I could’ve eaten some bad sausage.”
“Not a chance,” said Marlene. “Illness is no reasonable excuse for missing a Quidditch match.”
“Come on, Lily. This will be a very educational, cultural experience for you. We’re learning about high wizarding society today!” Remus assured me with sarcastic enthusiasm.
“Remus, you think it’s stupid that they’ve made it mandatory for me to attend today, don’t you? You don’t think it’s so vital, do you?” I inquired pleadingly.
Remus laughed. “Of course I don’t believe that seeing a game of Quidditch is as important as they’re making it out to be.” I sighed in relief. “However, I do think it’s important to support your friends, so I go every time. Even if you don’t quite count James and Sirius among your actual ‘friends’, I’m one of your friends. Therefore, you should come with me to support me supporting them.
Drat Remus. He knew all too well how to appeal to my twisted logic. Grudgingly, I surrendered and cooperated like a good little hostage, letting them pull me into the highest section of the Gryffindor seating area.
It was a gloomy, overcast kind of day, and bitterly cold. One of those days where you expect the heavens to break open at any moment and douse you with a miserable half-rain half-snow mixture. The weather and my disgruntled mood seemed to be in mutual agreement: unhappy and edgy.
I’d just decided that I should summon my cloak when I heard someone shout, “I BROUGHT TEAM PONCHOS!” I turned and saw Alice scurrying towards us carrying a bundle of red. “Oh, Lily! I’m so glad they convinced you to come! You just can’t beat a good ol’ Quidditch match.”
“And so the traitor arrives,” Marlene grumbles.
“Sorry? I didn’t catch that,” said Alice.
Alice didn’t look terribly like a traitor. She was garbed in a red rain poncho, and I could see that her choice of footwear had been red and gold striped toe socks with black flip-flops. She’d also painted her entire face gold with gold lions stamped on her cheeks. The only clue that she wasn’t going all-out for Gryffindor was the blue and bronze scarf that was wrapped around her neck. Even I had enough pride to disapprove.
“Alice, what is this?” I demanded dejectedly, tugging on the scarf.
“What? It’s Frank’s! he gave it to me and asked me to wear it today. What was I supposed to do? Ball it up and throw it back in his face?” she asked.
“Yes,” Marlene and Remus replied together.
“Have you no pride, woman?” Remus added incredulously.
“Of course I do! What do you call this?” she demanded, poking herself in the cheek.
“An apology for that,” Marlene replied, pointing shrewdly at Alice’s scarf. While we’d been giving Alice a hard time, the Quidditch pitch had started to fill up around us with eager fans from every house, regardless of the weather.
“You know Alice, if it was anyone but you, and if you hadn’t brought rain ponchos for us, we wouldn’t let you sit here,” Remus told Alice dryly.
Alice beamed and flopped down next to Marlene. “You guys love me more than I deserve.”
“We can’t seem to help ourselves,” I told her.
Just then, the magically-enhanced voice of the commentator boomed across the pitch. “Hello everyone, and welcome to the first Quidditch match of the season! Today, the Gryffindor Lions go head-to-head with the Ravenclaw Ravens!
“Here come the teams. Gryffindor captain James Potter and Ravenclaw captain Frank Longbottom shake hands. The bludgers and the snitch are released and the teams mount their brooms. There goes the quaffle…and the game begins! Glen Rogers of Ravenclaw in possession.”
The match closely resembled a game of tug-of-war. One second James, Sirius, and Carol Walker – our other Chaser – were dominating the match, and the next we were finding out just how good Randall Hurst, our Keeper, really was. Back and forth, neck and neck. Somehow, I became so absorbed that I didn’t even notice when it started to pour.
The game was horrifyingly riveting. My eyes switched one hundred times per minute between James and Sirius. They were very talented, and as usual, extremely cocky. I hadn’t known that it was possible for me to feel such worry towards the two hoodlums, but I found myself screaming myself hoarse as they pulled risky stunts and did practically anything to put the quaffle in their possession.
Males playing sports, I decided, was stupidity in its simplest form.
To me, the game seemed to last five painful lifetimes. However, only an hour and a half from the start, Lori Chase, the Gryffindor Seeker, shot like a bullet towards the Ravenclaw goalposts, Ravenclaw’s Seeker hot on her heels. Had I blinked, I would’ve missed how quickly the pursuit was over. Lori plunged her arm forward…and then shot her fist into the air.
“GRYFFINDOR WINS! FINAL SCORE IS 250 TO 110!” the commentator bellowed.
I was already out of my seat and barreling down to the field where the Gryffindor team was just landing. Marlene, Remus, and Alice were right behind me.
James and Sirius were hard to miss…or at least Sirius was hard to miss. While James was calmly shaking hands again with Frank Longbottom, Sirius was yelling and bumping chests with Jeremiah Bently, one of the Beaters.
I called out to them as I jogged towards them over the sodden field, and both of them turned to face me. When they caught sight of me, Sirius donned a smug little smirk, and a large grin spread across James’s face.
Sirius was closest, so I bulldozed into him first. “Are you insane?!? What were you thinking, pulling off all of those silly stunts? You could’ve slipped and fallen off you brooms! Do you realize what a mess you would’ve made all over the field if you would’ve slammed into the ground from so high up? You would’ve splattered all over the place!” I rambled hysterically.
“Wow. There’s a visual I’ll treasure forever,” I vaguely heard Remus mutter from behind me.
“You’re concern is very touching, Lily, but honestly, I think you’re doing more damage to me than Quidditch ever has. I can’t exactly breathe,” Sirius told me uncomfortably, patting my head.
I shoved him aside abruptly and tackled James instead. “And that goes for you, too, Potter. Do you have any idea how quiet, simple, and calm life would be for me if you died? You can’t make me live with that kind of monotony! It’s really, very selfish of you.” It took me a few minutes to register that the precipitation wasn’t the only thing soaking James’s Quidditch uniform anymore.
I was sobbing my brains out on James Potter’s shoulder.
In front of nearly the entire school.
Oh, for the love of Merlin’s big toe!
I realized that pulling myself together immediately was a very good idea, but when I went to pull away, I discovered a slight complication:
Potter’s arms were wound tightly around my waist, holding me securely against him…also in front of the entire school.
I pounded my fist against his shoulder as hard as I could. “Let go of me, you dope,” I ordered him as he gasped in pain.
“Geeze, you can really pack a punch, Lils,” he complained, relinquishing his hold on me and massaging his shoulder.
“Don’t call me ‘Lils’ when I’m angry with you, Potter! It’s Evans to you!” I reprimanded him, poking him in the chest.
“If I’d have known you’d react this fervently, I would’ve mandated that you come to a Quidditch match ages ago, Evans,” James told me, running a hand through his sopping hair.
I swatted his arm. “You never really did change, did you?” I asked.
“Not in the slightest,” he assured me. Then, James and Sirius each grabbed one of my arms, and together, along with Remus, Alice, and Marlene, we led the victory parade back to the Gryffindor common room.
Okay, people. I finally updated. This particular chapter was filler-ish, but it was fun to write! Was it fun to read? Review and let me know!
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by Emily Tazen