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Chapter 51 : A Christmas Eve Dance
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The next morning, Lily noticed that the boys look unusually happy. Lily didn't ask why, as experience taught her that she probably wouldn't want to know, anyway. She had little time to dwell on it, though, as it was Christmas Eve, and the day of the big wizarding party at Alice's house. Apparently it was an annual thing, but Lily had never gone before, as she was always in the Muggle world for break.
After lunch, Mrs. Potter followed her up to her room to help ready her for the party. "Now, dear, what is it you were going to wear?" Lily held up a set of blue dress robes that she had bought on a Hogsmeade visit with Alex earlier in the year. "Oh, well, these are very nice. Good quality fabric. However, would you mind if I… tweaked them a little?"
Lily nodded, knowing that she was hopeless when it came to style (especially wizarding style), and laid the robes out on the bed.
Mrs. Potter leaned in to inspect them closer, before muttering a few quick spells. The robes turned a deep, emerald green; a perfect match for Lily's eyes. "There you go, dear. And, as an added touch…"
Mrs. Potter conjured up an ornate green beret to clip Lily's hair back, then nodded with satisfaction. "Alright. Try these on Lily," she commanded. "Let's see how they look on you."
It took Lily a few minutes to change into her elaborate dress robes, but when she stepped out, Mrs. Potter whistled slowly under her breath. "Yes. Oh yes. This is good. My son isn't going to be able to take his eyes off you tonight. Good thing too. He needs a good, strong girl to hold him down."
Taken aback, Lily blushed furiously. "Oh, no Mrs. Potter. I don't think you understand. We're… we're just friends. Really. It's not… like that."
Mrs. Potter smirked at her (and looked rather like her son while doing so). "Of course not my dear. I must be going senile in my old age, or something of that sort. Don't let it bother you." With that, Mrs. Potter left the room.
Lily turned to her mirror and appraised herself, thinking that maybe, just maybe, Mrs. Potter could be right. "Well, I suppose it wouldn't be terrible… hold on! What am I talking about! This is Potter. It's a miracle we're even friends! Don't go there, Lily." Nodding firmly to her reflection, Lily spun on her heel and marched down the stairs, ready to Floo to the Vivir's home.
"LILY!" Lily barely had time to register a blur of red robes rushing towards her before she was almost tackled to the ground.
"Alice!" She gasped, "You're holding on- a little- too tight-"
The hold on her neck lessened as Alice stepped back to look her over. "You look wonderful Lily! How is your break going? Have you killed James yet? Has he killed you yet? I only ask because I've got a bet going with Frank- he doesn't think you two will be fighting with each other again until we get back to school. I personally think James will do something to make you furious before that, he always does-James!"
Alice turned as the object of her stream of questions stepped out of the fireplace. "Looking sharp Potter! Oh, I'm so thankful you guys are here! Frank's had me over talking to his mum, and I was beginning to feel utterly insignificant… oh no, I've left Frank alone with her! He made me promise not to - oh, he's going to kill me for sure- alright, well I've got to go…" Still rambling, Alice ran back to the far side of the room where Lily could see a very scared-looking Frank talking to an intimidating woman in a vulture hat.
James was staring after Alice in a confused state of shock. "I don't think I've ever seen anyone talk that fast before. And I've seen Sirius after he discovered Muggle coffee, so that's saying quite a bit."
Lily sniggered. "I believe you've just met what Alex and I like to call 'Hurricane Alice.' She pops up from time to time when Alice is extremely worried. Or stressed. Or nervous. Considering she's just been talking to Mrs. Longbottom, I'd say it's a combination of all three."
"Right. Well, remind me to stay away from that woman as much as possible, then. Now where did Sirius run off to?"
Lily shrugged. "Probably wherever the food is."
James nodded. "Knowing Sirius, I'd say you're probably right. Alright, well let's go into the lion's den."
Lily shot him a look.
James grimaced at her. "The Vivir's Christmas Eve party is one of the biggest events of the year. Anybody who's anybody will be here. Which means a very large portion of the guests are stuffy pureblood aristocrats. Don't be surprised if you see a few of the professors here as well. You wouldn't know it at school, but some of them are quite famous as the top witches and wizards of our time, and so are usually invited."
As they were about to step into the main room, Lily reached out to stop James. "Wait, this is a mostly pureblood party? Does that mean… will the Malfoys be here? Or… the Lestranges?"
James snorted. "Not a chance. These people may be a little uptight and such, but there's no way the Vivirs would invite anyone from that crowd here. In fact, the Vivirs are some of the most vocal leaders against Voldemort's rubbish. So don't worry about them at all."
Lily smiled and the two entered the main party area. Lily looked around in awe. Everyone was scattered around the large ballroom, complete with a self-replenishing banquet table in the corner and an enchanted strings band in the corner. There must have been at least a hundred- maybe even two hundred- people standing around and sipping their drinks. Lily wasn't sure, but she thought she saw Professor Flitwick briefly talking to someone she was almost sure was on the Chudley Cannons team before someone stepped in her way and she lost them in the crowd. She struggled o keep up with James as she followed him over to the food.
Sirius was indeed busy filling his plate with what looked like one of everything. She was pleasantly surprised to see that he was chatting with Remus as he was doing so, while Peter was off at the other end of the table just starting to get some food. She was about to go and say hello when a flash of blue robes and blonde hair caught her eye.
"James? I just saw Alex- I'm going to go say hi before she realizes Sirius is here and we don't see the two of them for the rest of the night." James nodded and headed over to his friends.
Lily struggled to make her way through the crowd. She was almost at Alex's side when someone grabbed her arm and whirled her around. "Li-Evans? What are you doing here?"
Lily glared at the offending party. "What's the matter, Snape? Surprised to see me mixing with a bunch of purebloods? What are you doing here? I though your crowd wasn't usually invited."
Snape looked over his shoulder. "Look, it's a bit of a long story. In fact, I-" He broke off as something seemed to catch his eye. "Would you like to dance, Evans?"
Lily's eyes widened considerably. Of all the things she was expecting Snape to say, this would be at the bottom of her list. "What?"
Snape glared at her. "I said, would you like to dance, Evans?"
"Well, I… sure, I suppose." Still confused, Lily allowed herself to be led over to the dance floor, and they joined the waltzing dancers spinning under the chandelier.
"Alright Evans, I'll ask you again. What are you doing here?"
A little miffed, Lily replied, "I was staying with the Potters, and Alice is one of my best friends. Why wouldn't I be here?"
Snape scowled at her. "At the Potters? You mean it's true then? You and… Potter are dating?" He couldn't even say James's name without growling.
Lily felt her anger flare up. "NO! I am NOT dating Potter! Why must everyone think that? We're just friends. Not that you need to know, anyway."
Snape nodded at her. "Right. Look, Lily…" His voice trailed off as he looked over her shoulder. Unexpectedly, his grip on Lily's waist tightened. "There's something… well, you shouldn't be here."
Angrily, Lily tried to get away from him. "Snape, if I wanted to be insulted, I'd bunker up with the rest of your house for a night." Snape grabbed her tighter, pulling her back to him. He looked deep into her eyes, as if trying to convey a secret message.
"No Evans, what I mean is… you shouldn't be here. Go home Lily. Or back to the Potters. Wherever. Just not here."
Suspiciously, and a little frightened, Lily asked, "What are you saying, Severus? What's going on?"
Snape shifted uncomfortably. "Look, Lily, you just have to-"
"Mind if I cut in?" The words, while polite, were spoken with a rather acid tone. James held out his hand to Lily, who numbly stared at him.
"Not at all… Potter. I have to get going, anyway." Snape sneered at his enemy, before turning back to Lily. "Evans… just trust me on this, alright?"
With that, Snape swirled off, leaving Lily alone with James. The latter stared at her. "What was that about?"
It took Lily a moment to speak, and when she did, her voice came out higher than usual. "I think… I think I need to talk to your parents."
James gave her an odd look, before shrugging. 'Girls. So odd sometimes.' "I think they're over by the Prewetts… come on, I'll show you."
Lily nodded, and began following James across the floor. She briefly glimpsed the top of Mr. Potter's messy black hair (apparently, it was an inherited trait) when someone grabbed her arm and spun her around for the second time that night. "Lily! It's so good to shee… I mean, see you!"
Lily glared up at Amos Diggory. "Let me go, Amos. You're drunk."
Amos giggled. "No I'm not. Lily, aren't you shupposhed to be shmart? I'm not drunk, I'm not-"
With that, he stumbled a little bit, painfully trodding on Lily's feet. "Alright, maybe I'm a little bit drunk, but, you're not going to tell, are you Lily? Please don't take points off. I- er- I… wow Lily. You're really- really pretty. I think I told you that once…"
He trailed off as James, realizing Lily wasn't following him anymore, came up to Lily's side. "Diggory. Please let go of Lily." Once again, his words were nice, but Lily could see that he was clenching his fists and very near to bursting out in anger. She should know- she'd been on the receiving end of that anger many times in the past five years.
Diggory frowned. "Aw, Lily, why are you dating Potter? I mean, Gideon Prewett told me you were, but I didn't believe him…"
Lily rolled her eyes and shoved Diggory aside. "I am NOT dating POTTER!" she shrieked, while pulling out her wand. "Now, get out of my way before I hex you!"
She stalked away, towards where she had last seen the Potters, and saw James jog to catch up with her. "Potter again? Come on, Lily, I thought we were past that."
"Sorry James. It was a heat-of-the-moment thing. When I'm angry, I resort to habits. Nothing personal."
James shrugged. "I suppose I deserve that after the last few years. My parents are right up there." Indeed, Lily could see Mrs. Potter again.
She and James had just gotten the Potters's attention when all the candles in the room flickered out. There was a sudden silence, broken by what sounded like the shattering of glass. The doors on the side of the hall were flung open with a loud bang, and in the short flare of light Lily could see several masses of people in flowing black cloaks enter the room.
And then the screams started.
Author's Notes: Please review, or I probably won't keep updating
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