Chapter 50 : Questions in the Night
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Lily and James awkwardly sat at the Kings Cross train station, waiting for the elder Potters to arrive. Sirius was off in a corner with Alex, saying goodbye for break (Alex was going on a trip with her family- after TJ’s death, her mother had been adamant about her staying with them as much as possible).
Lily was trying very hard to not meet James’s eyes. She still wasn’t sure how she felt about him. Yes, she could now admit to herself that she was attracted to him, but that wasn’t saying much. Every other girl in school was as well. And Lily needed something more than physical attraction to base a relationship on. She sighed. It was going to be very hard to keep her hormones in check over break.
James, as well, was nervous about break. He and Lily were finally getting along, after five years of arguing. Granted, they still argued. A lot. But somehow it wasn’t as big of a deal as before. And he was pretty sure she didn't hate him anymore. At least, that's what Remus said. And James trusted his opinion. He sighed. Lily still wouldn't look at him. He looked around the station instead, searching for something to occupy his mind.
"James! JAMES!" Mrs. Potter started pushing her way through the crowd. "There you are! I was talking to Mrs. Longbottom, sorry to keep you waiting, but when Mrs. Longbottom wants to talk to you… well, I couldn't exactly say no. Ah, Lily darling, so good to see you again!"
After giving Lily a swift, tight hug, Mrs. Potter turned once more to her son. "I see you've gotten her to come along- excellent! Oh James, it's so good to see you again!"
James grinned. "It's good to see you too, Mum." He reached down and gave her a hug, lifting her off the floor several inches.
"Now where is Sirius?" Mrs. Potter asked as soon as she was back on the ground. "Please tell me he'll be joining us for break as well."
James rolled his eyes. "As if he wouldn't. Oh, here he is now." Sirius approached them from the side, alone, as Alex had already left.
"Mrs. Potter, the love of my life! I've missed you so these past months."
Giggling slightly, Mrs. Potter allowed herself to be swept off her feet once more. "You're lucky Howard isn't here to hear you say such things, young man. He's rather sweet on me, you know?"
Laughing, the foursome made their way to the Floo gates. Lily was thrilled. At her previous stay at the Potter's, she never really got to know James's parents. She was much looking forward to the opportunity now.
The Potter Manor was just as impressive as Lily remembered, as was her room. It was just as light and open as before, although Lily made sure to add a few extra locking charms to the door that connected with Potter’s room. Just because she didn’t hate him anymore didn’t mean she totally trusted him. A knock sounded at her door just as she finished.
“Lily, can I come in?” It was James, of course.
“Yes, the door’s unlocked.”
James opened the door, then leaned against its side. “Mum wants you to know that dinner starts in five minutes. Also, she wishes to convey that should I do anything remotely ‘disrespectful or hormonal,’ she wants you to tell her so she can lock me in the basement for a few years. Just so you know.”
Lily laughed. “I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.” She looked at him, intent on saying something rather witty, but unfortunately caught his eyes with her own and the words died somewhere on the journey from her brain to her mouth. The way he casually leaned against the doorjamb, shooting her that crooked grin… she jerked away and looked out the window. “I’ll be down soon.” She felt, rather than heard, James leave the room. Looking in the mirror, Lily scowled at her reflection. “Watch it Evans. Don’t do things like that. He’s a friend. Worse, he’s James Potter. Stay away from those types of thoughts. Just stay away.”
Sufficiently chided (by herself), Lily turned around and headed down the stairs to join the rest of the household.
Lily walked in just as Mrs. Potter was scolding Mr. Potter, and promptly hid behind the door. “Late again, Howard? They work you too hard over at the Ministry.” Mr. Potter was turning rather red, but was still grinning at his wife. “Do you want me to have a word with that Minister? I will, if this becomes a habit. Don’t think I won’t, either. I’ll walk right up to him and do you know what I’ll say? I’ll say- Howard! Not now! I’m angry with you! Oh, stop it!”
Mr. Potter had leaned down and kissed his wife full on the lips, effectively stopping her rant. “Have I told you how much I love you today?”
Mrs. Potter blushed and shoved him towards the table. “Just sit down… you incorrigible man,” she muttered to herself.
Lily giggled, not sure whether or not to walk in yet.
“Sickening, isn’t it?” James whispered. Lily jumped.
“Potter! Don’t do that!”
James ignored her. “I’ve tried to get them to stop kissing where I might see them. It didn’t work. It’s like they’re not parents or something.”
Lily rolled her eyes at him. “Well, I think it’s sweet.”
Chuckling, James dragged her in to the dining hall, just as Sirius entered from the other side of the room. Clearly, he was ready to be fed.
Sirius paced in his room nervously. Tonight, he was to take a Portkey back to Hogwarts. Tonight, it would be a month since the last full moon. Tonight, he would know whether or not he was a werewolf.
He played with the old tin can that was to take him to the base of the Whomping Willow. Dumbledore had arranged it, so that he would be safely away from the Potters if he had been infected. He stared off at the wall, not letting himself think. If he was a werewolf… well, he wasn’t going to follow that train of thought.
A knock at the door startled him. “C-come in,” Sirius stuttered.
The door opened, and a determined looking James walked in. “I’m going with you,” he declared. Sirius started to protest, but James cut him off. “I know what you’re going to say. ‘It’s too dangerous, I don’t want you there, I can handle it.’ Well, that’s bloody great for you. But you can’t honestly expect me to sit on my thumbs while my best mate goes out to find out if his life is going to be changed forever, do you? You know there’s no way you would sit this one out if you were me. So I’m going. I’ll just go to stag if… things start to go badly, alright? Don’t fight me on this. Because there’s no way you’re getting rid of me.”
Sirius shook his head. “You’re bloody crazy, mate. But if there’s no stopping you…” He held out the can. “And James… thanks.”
The boy just grinned as he grabbed the can, and the two were whirled away into the night.
Sirius sat on an old crate while James paced the length of the Shrieking Shack. He glanced out the window to his left. It was dark already. The moon would be rising at any minute. He sighed and went to go sit next to Sirius, who took the opportunity to begin his own pacing.
Sirius eventually ended up at the window, staring out as if demanding an answer from the darkness. James watched as his best friend gripped the windowsill with both hands and bowed his head. Time seemed to pass slower and slower. Suddenly, Sirius stiffened. James started so bad that he almost fell off the crate, not that he noticed. ‘NO!’ he thought as he saw Sirius begin to shake and clutch the windowsill even tighter.
“Prongs…” Sirius’s voice came out rough and low, almost a growl. James watched in shocked apprehension as Sirius turned around.
He let go of the window, and stretched his arm out to his side. “Look…” was all he said.
James squinted at his arm, and then he saw it. A thin beam of moonlight had found its way through the boards, and lit upon Sirius’s arm. And Sirius was… still Sirius.
Frozen for a second, James looked up. A wide grin spread across his face. Sirius had one to match it, and soon the room was filled with ecstatic hollers as the boys exchanged a quick, firm hug, and then proceeded to dance around the floor.
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