Chapter image by the FABULOUS Mistress
Sirius reluctantly ran a hand through his hair. He rarely did it because he knew it was James’ thing and he knew that he only did it because he was nervous and didn’t know what to say. But Sirius wasn’t nervous and he always had plenty to say, he just didn’t know what to do. He was sitting in the back of Charms, trying to concentrate on what the Professor was saying but it was just going right through him. Sirius glanced to his left again, hoping to see a little improvement in his best friend. Seeing that James was still bent over his parchment and scribbling furiously, Sirius exhaled loudly and faced the front again. He was about to put his head down on the desk when something caught his eye on his right. He turned to see Aria looking at him pointedly, her eyes flicking back to the front of the classroom every so often to check that she wasn’t about to get caught. Aria picked up a scrap piece of paper in front of her and scribbled quickly before holding it up so Sirius could see.
Sirius sighed and nudged his head in the direction of James and then rolled his eyes. Aria flashed a small sympathetic smiled before nodding and turning back around to face the front. He kept watching her momentarily as she flipped her long dark hair over her shoulder and hunched her body down over the parchment to write a note.
They were both just as confused as the other as to what to do about James. He was completely shutting himself off from everyone. Everyone immediately expected that his sudden mood swing had to do with Lily going out with Amos but he and Aria suspected that it run much deeper than that. Aria hadn’t received word back from her parents as yet so they were unable to know if it had something to do with James’ parents or not. Sirius looked back at James again, surprised to see that he was now looking back at him with a questioning look on his face.
“You alright mate?” Sirius whispered. “You haven’t exactly been yourself lately.”
James hesitated before answering, looking around the room to see if he was being overheard. “What do you mean, Padfoot? I’m completely fine. I feel exactly like myself.”
“Well you don’t seem like yourself. And I’m not the only one that thinks it. It’s almost as if the old James has completely gone. It’s like he has been erased by some vague, preoccupied, studious, ‘I don’t give a damn about anything’ person.”
James took his glasses off, rubbing his eyes tiredly, “I don’t really know what you’re talking about, Padfoot. I’m fine. It’s like everyone wanted me to react badly. Evans can go out with whoever she likes. I don’t really care anymore.”
Sirius looked at James properly for the first time in a week. He had dark bags under his eyes, obviously from lack of sleep and he looked worn out. “So you really don’t care at all. Four years of trying to get her to like you and you have given up, just like that!”
“To be honest, Padfoot, I’m beginning to wonder if there was any hope for me in the first place. I think I should have given up a long time ago,” James picked up his glasses, put them back on the bridge of his nose and looked at Sirius with a face devoid of all emotion.
Sirius frowned. “Well, this is different.”
“What do you mean?” James asked, facing back towards the front of the classroom.
“From as far back as third year, I can remember you chasing after Evans. And now you are deciding there’s no hope. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that you should go back and try to win her affections again but I don’t know if you’re going about this the right way.”
James snorted quietly and rolled his eyes, “And to think you’re always telling me that I need to ‘man-up’. Look at you, opening up that hard exterior of yours and telling me to let out my feelings. Its fine, Padfoot. I’ve moved on. I’m taking things seriously with Chloe now. She actually has an interest in me. That's something worth pursuing.”
Sirius held his tongue to stop himself from blurting out the first thing that came to his mind. Telling him to go back to Lily was unwise, especially at this point. He was likely to have some mental breakdown. “Well, whatever you do mate, I’m here for you, just don’t do anything stupid.”
James laughed quietly, “I didn’t think I would ever hear those words come from your mouth. The tables have certainly turned.”
“Ah, but I’m still your old ladies man and a little advice from me is, if you think Chloe is going to help you out of your rut, go for it. Hell, it works for me,” Sirius winked and leaned back in his chair.
James laughed loudly this time which caught the attention of the rest of the class, the Professor included, who all turned round and stared at the two boys in the back of the classroom. “Sorry, Professor. Won't happen again.”
Sirius chuckled softly from beside James and looked over at Lily who was frowning. She turned back around and murmured something to Ella. She then picked up her quill and continued to write what was on the board. Ella, as if on cue, turned around and peered at James with an odd expression. She continued looking, eventually moving her eyes to the left, and settled on Sirius, giving him a small smile and an eye roll before turning back around to face the front again, muttering a small word in Lily’s ear. Curious about the little scene, he reminded himself to ask Ella later.
The bell rang shortly after and they filed out of the room. As it was the last class of the day, they headed back to the Gryffindor common room. Lily was next to Aria and Ella who were having a heated discussion about who was the better looking Ravenclaw.
“I just don’t know how you can say it’s Jonathan Fradley! He has ears like an ogre!” Aria exclaimed.
Ella squeaked in protest and shot her head around with a horrified look on her face, “Ogre ears! How on earth would you know what ogre ears look like? And what a poor way to judge someone! I expected better from you. How would you like it if people went round and had nothing to do with you just because you had a nose like a pig?”
Aria glared back just as fiercely, “Excuse me. A nose like a pig? You better have made that up! And as for Jonathan, they don’t exactly look human do they? Anyway, I find Christopher Blair much more appealing. Haven’t you noticed that he always has this fresh cologne smell to him? It’s intoxicating.”
Sirius whirled around from in front of them with his mouth wide open in shock, pointing his finger at Aria, “I swear to Merlin that I just heard you say that you find Christopher Blair more appealing than Jonathan Fradley? Please don't tell me it's true.”
Aria lent her head to the side with a puzzled frown on her face. “Uhh, yes, I did.”
“He is a complete arse, Aria. You don’t want to have anything to do with him. Plus I smell just as intoxicating. Why would you bother going all the way over to the Ravenclaw tower when you can have a bit of this at your doorstep?” Sirius said, whilst pointing at his torso. He then nodded to Ella and turned back around as if to finalise the conversation.
Lily gave a bark of laughter but quickly covered it up as a cough when Sirius turned around and peered at her inquisitively.
Aria looked affronted. “Um, excuse me, Black, but when did I ask for your opinion? And I never said I wanted to date him. I just said that he was appealing.”
“Yeah, whatever. Just don’t go near him. He is a complete arsewipe.”
Aria sighed and was about to retort when she saw someone from the corner of her eye that stopped her in her tracks. “What the heck?”
Sirius, who also turned, let out a soft growl from the back of his throat and subconsciously placed himself in front of the girls. Aria shoved Sirius out of the way and glared at the person that caught her attention. Ella was standing next to her with her hands on her hips and a glare to match Aria’s. Remus was frowning slightly and James had come forward to stand next to Sirius, his face devoid of emotion.
Lily was last to notice. She had to look around James, Sirius, Aria, Ella and Remus to see what they were all staring at. She let out a little gasp when she saw who they were all looking at. Severus Snape was standing at the end of the corridor with his hair over his face and his wand clutched in his hand. “Severus?”
Lily walked out from behind her friends and towards Snape, “What are you doing here, Severus?”
“I wanted to talk to you.”
Aria and Ella both gave groans of disapproval as Lily started to move closer to Snape.
Lily shook her head at them and moved forward to close the distance between her and Snape so that she couldn’t be overheard by her friends. “Severus, I told you that we can’t be friends anymore. I don’t like the way you have chosen to run your life. That’s not what I want to get into. It’s destructive.”
Severus looked down at the ground, “I was looking for a last chance.”
Lily sighed, “I don’t know if you have any left.”
“Lily, I really am sorry. I have been good. You’ve seen it, haven’t you?” Severus looked up into Lily’s eyes, pleading.
Lily shook her head slowly. She reached out and put a hand on his arm, “It doesn’t matter if you have been good or not. You have chosen to go down a path I can’t follow. I can’t be friends with someone, Severus, who is behind all these dark things. People are getting killed, Severus, I could be killed. You said it yourself, I’m a mudblood.”
“No! I won’t let you be killed,” Severus said a little louder.
“You don’t know that, Severus. You just don’t know,” and Lily gave a sympathetic smile.
“Don’t smile, Evans. You treat it as if it’s fine,” Snape snarled.
This wiped the smile of Lily’s face. His quick mood change caught her off guard. She could feel her friends behind her getting more and more anxious at the conversation she was having. “I’m not treating it as if it’s fine but if it so goes that I die in the future, then so be it, I can’t stop what might happen.”
“But Lily, there is a way. If you just-”
Lily quickly pulled away her hand and crossed her arms in front of her. “No, Severus! I will not join your side. I’m sorry, but I will not stand for something that goes against all my morals. I know there is nothing wrong with my blood or anyone who defends my bloodline, so if worse comes to worse and this ends up in a full blown war, you know where I stand. I cannot justify the killing of anyone just because their blood is not ‘pure’. I can’t even comprehend why anyone would target people for that reason. It truly is beyond me.”
“So I can’t even talk to you?” Severus asked, his eyes lowering back to the ground.
Lily sighed and looked up at the ceiling, “Severus, I just don’t know. How would it even work?”
“Can we just try? Just for a little while? All I’m asking is for one more chance. I don’t need you to be my friend. I just want to talk to you every once in a while.”
Lily looked at him, trying to uncover whether he was lying or not. She knew that he was learning Occulmency and she didn’t know whether he was using this new power on her yet. Lily sighed once again. She was giving him the benefit of the doubt again. However, she didn’t know whether it would last long. “Okay, Severus, but this is your last chance. I can’t give you anymore. It’s too hard. And remember, I’m not your friend. I will only talk to you on occasion, perhaps in class or something. I don’t even know why I’m letting you in the first place.”
Severus’ lips quirked into a small smile and he leaned forward slightly, whispering a short, “Thank you, Lily,” before giving a lingering stare at the Gryffindors and then turning around on his heels and walking down the corridor behind him.
Lily nodded to herself absently trying to gauge whether she just did a stupid thing by letting him talk to her again. She was bound to get yelled at by all the people behind her. She turned around and made her way back to her friends who were all looking at her curiously.
Aria narrowed her eyes at the approaching Lily, “What did he just say to you?”
“He said that he would like to become friends again,” Lily said quietly as she looked above their heads, down the corridor.
Ella gasped, Remus frowned, Sirius shook his head slowly and rolled his eyes, James just stared out the side window and Aria scoffed and shook her head.
“And what did you say?” Remus questioned a frown still on his face.
Lily motioned them all to keep walking towards the Gryffindor common room, “I said that we couldn’t be friends again because I couldn’t handle the way he was choosing to run his life. I said I could never be someone that chose to hunt and kill muggle borns.”
Ella looked at Lily with a sympathetic smile, looking far more relieved, “Good. I’m glad. You don’t need someone like that in your life. You have given him far too many chances anyway.”
Lily nodded, not meeting her eyes.
“Hold on a sec, is there something you are conveniently leaving out. Evans? It doesn’t seem like you are telling us the whole truth,” asked Sirius.
Lily’s face flushed and she quickened her pace so she was in front of the group.
“There is, isn’t there?” Aria said a little more loudly, “Just get it out, Lily.”
Lily stalled, trying to determine whether she should tell them or not. She looked around quickly, trying to gauge everyone’s reactions. Ella was biting her lip, looking concerned. Remus was still frowning. Sirius and Aria were looking at her pointedly, waiting for her answer and James was still refusing to meet her gaze. He was letting no emotion show on his face. His reaction worried her the most. He was usually far more like Sirius. She shook her head mentally and decided to worry about it later.
“Well, I said that he could talk to me on occasion-NOT friends, but just talk, like in classes or something. If you wanted to put a label on it, I guess you could call it acquaintances.”
Sirius was the first to respond, "Out of all the idiotic things you could have done, Evans, you seem to have accomplished two of them in the last couple of weeks. First you decide to date Amos 'I'm a prick' Diggory, then you start talking to Snivellus again. Are you doing this for a laugh? Because you know I'm pretty good at making people laugh and I would never do those things to humour my friends. In fact, I wouldn’t do those things to humour people in general. It just isn’t on.”
“As much as I don’t want to agree with Black,” Aria stated, “I’m going to have to on this one, Lil. You do remember what happened last time, don’t you? I thought that it was unforgivable. In fact, I thought that how he has decided to live his life was unforgivable. Why are you all of a sudden giving him a chance?” Aria faced Lily as they arrived at the portrait hole.
Lily was still looking down at her hands, “I don’t know.”
Aria crossed her arms, “Well, you should know. What you did was a wrong move. I don’t even know what’s going on with you lately.”
Lily flushed, “There is nothing wrong with me. I just said he could talk to me on occasion. It’s not like I’m confessing my love for him.”
“You might as well have,” Sirius muttered, folding his arms across his chest.
“Look, it’s my decision, okay? I know you guys are looking out for me, but let me make my own decisions. Can’t you just support me on this?”
Remus and Ella looked at each other and then at Sirius and Aria who both had resilient expressions on their faces. Ella was about to respond when she was cut off.
“That’s fine, Evans,” James said quietly from behind Sirius and Aria. We’re your friends; we should support what you chose to do in your life,” everyone turned around in shock at his response, Sirius and Aria both with looks of disbelief.
“Hold on, shouldn’t you consult us before you answer for-” Aria started.
James cut in front, his voice a little louder and more defined than before, “Aria, just leave it. You’re one of her best friends; you shouldn’t be trying to make her feel like crap for giving a person another chance that has been rotten awful to her in the past. Just accept it and move on. Be there for her if something happens.”
Aria was stumped. She shut her mouth quickly and looked down to the ground. She had never been reprimanded by James before. It was something entirely out of character for him. Lily was also in awe. James Potter had just stuck up for her. And it was to do with Severus. She looked up at him, “Thank you, Potter.”
James finally returned her gaze and nodded shortly before saying he was going to his room to write a letter to send to his parents. He turned on his heel and vanished around the corner, leaving five stunned people in his wake.
Remus let out a long drawn out breath, “This certainly is a year for surprises. Never did I think I would see the day when James Potter accepted something that you did when it has to do with one of the people he despises the most.”
“I know. It is odd but I still don’t understand why he despises him. He hasn’t done anything-” Lily started.
Remus sighed and cut her off, “Lily, he despises him because of what he has done to you.”
Ella gave a short chuckle, “Wow, it is a year for surprises. That’s the first time she hasn’t retorted information like that in relation to James genuinely being a nice person towards her.”
Sirius was still looking down the corridor to where James had just left with a confused look on his face. He sighed and turned back around, “Well, this has been an eventful afternoon but I better go see if he actually sent that letter to his parents. He gets far too distracted sometimes and if I know James, I know that he is probably fiddling with some Quidditch thing rather than sending off that letter. See you all at dinner.”
He put his hands in his pockets and headed off on the same path as James.
Ella and Aria had turned around and begun to walk towards the portrait hole, starting up their old argument. Lily turned toward Remus with an unsure look on her face, “You don’t think I’m dumb, do you, Remus? Please answer me honestly.”
Remus smiled and shook his head, “No, Lily, you aren’t dumb. You really are an uncommonly kind person. I don’t think I have ever met someone like you. You always seem to see the beauty in others even when they can’t see it in themselves. It’s a trait I aspire to have. You should not feel bad for the decision you have made. Severus doesn’t deserve even what you have given, I’ll admit that. But I’m not going to stop you from doing what you have chosen to do. It’s clearly come from your heart.”
Lily blushed and walked forward to hug Remus. Despite his condition and how hard he was on himself, he was the kind person. “Thank you, Remus. You’re the best.”
Remus laughed and gave her a soft pat on the back, “I hate to cut this little sentimental moment short but I really should go find Peter. We have a habit for leaving him alone places and not telling him where we are going to be. I should go find him.”
Lily pulled back and nodded and watched him walk off in the opposite direction to where James and Sirius went, giving her a wave as he rounded the corner.
James sat down at breakfast the next morning, put his forehead to the table and closed his eyes tiredly. He hadn’t been sleeping very well lately and once he opened his eyes in the morning, there was no returning to blissful sleep. Every morning at four-thirty on the dot he would wake up and go down to breakfast. There was no point lying in bed until everyone else got up. Besides, this way he could enjoy no one talking to him. Unfortunately, today was Saturday so there was absolutely no one else in the Great Hall yet. It was an odd feeling to be alone in the room that was usually loud. Deciding it was all a bit weird, he took a quick gulp of pineapple juice, grabbed a couple of slices of toast and headed towards the exit.
The sun was just coming up over the hills in the distance, making the entrance hall shine brightly from the light pouring in through the glass windows. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes momentarily, drinking in the serenity. He was interrupted by a loud crash and a muffled thud from somewhere behind him. Startled, he opened his eyes and turned around to look for the interruption. It was coming from an old maintenance closet that was hardly ever used under the stairs leading up to the first floor. He wandered over slowly and pulled his wand out from his pocket.
As he got closer, he began to hear more muffled noises. He was standing opposite the door about three metres away when the door swung open quickly revealing two people in a tight embrace. For a minute, he thought the two were fighting but after looking closer, they were kissing furiously.
He frowned and decided to announce his presence, “Um, hello?”
The couple broke apart quickly, shocked at the voice and turned around to see who it was.
James looked at the girl. She was a sixth year from Slytherin and had a smirk on her face and was feeling quite pleased with herself. James couldn’t understand why in the hell she would. Being caught by someone, let alone the Head Boy at five in morning when you’re in furious lip lock, was not at all appealing. He then looked at the guy standing next to her and gasped in shock and raising his wand a little higher. The guy stepped back a step and pulled the girl in front of him.
James frowned in disgust and gave a short menacing laugh, "You know what Diggory, this really comes as no surprise to me. I expected this from the very start.”
Hello everyone! I finally have this chapter up. It's taken such a long time. My apologies for the wait!
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