Chapter 4 : All I Go to School for
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Disclaimer 2: I do not own either the Harry Potter world (duh) or this title, it is based on a song by Busted.(an English boy-band from when I was younger)
– Of trains and confessions
Last day of Seventh Year – Lily is eighteen
So, okay, it was perhaps a bit unorthodox to be- on your last ever day of school- waking up in your teacher’s bed.
But, there is an explanation- really.
She’d only gone to his office to say goodbye, to tell him how amazing a teacher he’d been, to have him join her in her desperate wishes to have achieved an ‘O’ N.E.W.T. and to chat and drink endless quantities of tea- just as they had every other time she had come to see him. He hadn’t been there when she got in, so she made the understandable assumption that he’d gone out for an end of year drink with the rest of the teachers.
So she sat around awhile, and waited. And sat around some more, and waited some more. She had been getting a bit hungry- having been too busy to eat for most of the day, and then sat there waiting for Him from just before lunch- and had decided to rifle through his snacks, knowing that he wouldn’t mind. She ate a couple of custard-creams, and drank a bottle of water, not having been able to find the teapot. Except it wasn’t water. It was Hippogriff tranquilizer. Odourless, colourless and tasteless, it is designed so as to be imperceptibly swallowed in small doses by animals so they are easier to handle if scared or need to be transported.
Hippogriff tranquilizers are not meant to be drank in large quantities by tiny teenage girls who have barely eaten that day. Definitely not. The effects include; several minutes of severe giddiness followed by drowsiness, loss of motor skills, and finally unconsciousness. Not a good way to be found, especially on the floor of your professor’s office, in little but a halter-top and short shorts (she had been mauled by Molly, insistent of Lily looking girly on her last day of school).Oh, the joys of boarding school.
The next day- that morning as it was now- she had woken in a severely confused state. Curious as to why she was in a strange bed, still dressed but wearing one of His old quidditch jerseys, she had attempted to get out of bed. Also, not a good idea. The tranquilizers were still in effect, very much so. Her vision had sparkled, the lights danced, and she had found herself- yet again- on the floor. Although this time thankfully – or not so thankfully depending how you see it- she landed on something soft.
Something warm, soft, strong- and incredibly familiar smelling. The poor, flattened, trodden-on Professor, also know as Teddy Lupin, made an incredibly manly (not) squealing sound as she crushed his abdomen, and woke suddenly- his hair changing from its natural toffee shade to the coppery brown that he’d taken to recently.
“Way to say good-morning Lily-flower,” he’d teased, still gasping for air. She’d blushed, stammered, and made an odd, rambling attempt at an apology- realising that she was lying on top of the shirtless, muscular and exceedingly gorgeous guy she’d been madly in love with for the previous nine years.
It had all gone very badly from there. She was still mildly unable to walk straight, and no one had ever created an antidote for hippogriff tranquilizing potion, it being rare that an overly sleepy hippogriff would cause that much trouble in society. She had quickly, regretfully, said a swift goodbye to Teddy, and gone through a lot of effort getting back up to her dormitory without collapsing. Her inebriated state did, however, cause many laughs along the way, especially as the stars darting before her eyes made it hard to distinguish people and she had started staring intently at anyone she passed.
Thankfully, she’d had an attack of organisational madness several days previous and her entire trunk was full and ordered. All she had to do was shove her current outfit into the already crammed trunk and extract some Muggle clothes for the journey home. She pulled on some jeans and some penny-loafers. She de-shirted and just tugged Teddy’s jumper back over her head. It still smelled like him. She guessed that she could explain it away by saying that she’d miss him when she left the school, but she guessed that Demetrius would notice and Violet probably too. Sometimes she thought that her mother might have some kind of inkling as to the extent of her affection for Him, but she’d thankfully never mentioned it.
Lily crammed her wild curls into a plait and carefully levitated her trunk. She took one deep breath and left the dormitory, wishing it goodbye for the last ever time. She slowly descended the steps, trying to absorb every last detail of the common room, the stairs, and all the people around her. She couldn’t believe how much she would miss this place. It had been her home for the past seven years, seen her through countless memories, the good and the terrible, and she belonged there even more than she did at home. Sure, she had never had all that many friends and most of her family had recently departed, but she still loved it so much, and fitted right into place. She had not once felt so comfortable at home as she did snuggled in her bed in her dormitory, or laughing by the lake with Hugo, or having ‘who can eat the most rice pudding’ contests with various family members.
It was still early morning, but she did need to hurry so as to get to the carriages on time. She said goodbye to the Fat Lady, to Nearly-Headless Nick and to various assorted paintings she had grown to know over the years. She did attempt to run down the steps, but her hazy head and deep concentration on levitating her trunk made it impossible. She did, however, move as quickly as was possible and was soon waiting amongst the massed students of Hogwarts down by the gates.
Slowly approaching them was a long, winding train of carriages, seemingly pulled by little but thin air, although she did know better. She turned back for one last look at the grand, cold, wonderful castle that had been her home these so many years. She hoped that she would someday see it again, even if it was only as a student’s mother.
She took in the crowded, cacophonous mass of people around her. Girls were sobbing, boys were joking, first years were looking mournful, seventh years were brimming with excitement. Even some of the teachers were crying and embracing; He was much immersed in a laughing conversation with the Headmistress. Lily approached them hesitantly, wanting to say a last goodbye to the head teacher that had looked after her and the entire of her family for so many years.
“Hi ummm…Professor,” she stammered, trying to address Teddy formally, “I just wanted to say thank you, Headmistress, for being so kind to me during my years here,”
McGonagall’s eyes softened and a smile lit her face, “You’re very welcome Lily, it was a pleasure having you here. I hope that your N.E.W.T. results are as brilliant as you deserve and that you succeed in all you endeavour to do,” She placed a hand on Lily’s shoulder and squeezed it lightly.
“Thank you, Professor,” she replied politely, smiling back. McGonagall’s attention was suddenly drawn by the arithmancy and astronomy teachers who had suddenly taken leave of protocol and were kissing very passionately well within sight of the entire student body.
Teddy turned to look at Lily, eyebrows raised and a rakish smile upon his lips, “Do I get no thanks then, Lily-flower?” he teased.
“Most definitely not,” she replied, lightly poking his arm, “Was it not you who left a bottle of tranquilizing potion- unlabeled- in your fridge to anyone who may come across it?”
“Was it not you who snooped through my fridge and ate my entire stock of custard creams?” he replied, his eyebrows raised further.
“Point taken,” she laughed lightly and swept her plaits over her shoulder with much candour, curtsying low, “Thank you ever so much for teaching me the art of caring for magical creature,” she stood up, “Oh, and for lending me your jumper and promising never to tell anyone of it ever again,”
“I never promised,” he teased her.
“You did,” she said firmly.
He suddenly threw his arms around her tiny frame, lifting her off her feet, “I’m really going to miss you, Lils,” he said openly, seeming not to care that the entire school could see them. Lily shrewdly guessed that several hundred girls now hated her, if only for capturing the attention of their fiendishly gorgeous professor.
“I’m going to miss you too Teddy,” she replied, her voice betraying more emotion than she’d intended.
They eventually chose a carriage and were duly transported to Hogsmeade station, keeping up a nostalgic conversation as they did so. Lily was going to miss chatting to him whenever she wanted to, and being able to see him everyday. She had gone through years of being at Hogwarts without him, and now he was going to be there and she wasn’t.
They found and empty compartment on the train and were, momentarily, joined by Lucy but she quickly remembered that she’d probably see Lily everyday over the summer, but not her new, third year, boyfriend and so she left with stunning speed, leaving Lily and Teddy hysterical in her wake.
They bought a pack of Bertie Bott’s from the lady with the trolley- whose name was still not known by one single Hogwarts’ student- and proceeded to see who could catch the most in their mouths while trying to sing old pop-songs. Teddy won, but only by a little. He was a far more adept sweet catcher, but Lily’s voice was unbeatable.
Very few people were aware that Lily had a voice- she generally concealed it behind her usual layers of shyness and aloofness. She did have friends, and very close ones at that, but they were few and far between as she was overcome by crippling self-consciousness whenever meeting anyone new, especially those of her own age.
“Come on, Lils, sing for your supper,” joked Teddy. Lily attempted to bellow out the chorus to ‘A Cauldron Full of Hot, Strong Love’ while catching assorted beans in her mouth. She did finally catch one, but it remained in her mouth for barely a second before being spat out- onto Teddy’s shirt
He laughed loudly, his voice echoing down the corridor and throughout the train. He vanished it away in seconds, but it left a small, circular brown stain in its place. “Brown cheese?” he asked, cocking his head to one side.
“Liver and onions,” she grimaced and made a slight retching sound.
They sat in companionable silence for several minutes, the still drowsy Lily closing her eyes and lying back against the seat, her feet stretched out across the length of it.
Suddenly, an Teddy’s emotionless voice cut the silence, “I’m not coming back next year,”
Lily’s eyes burst open, and she looked at his curled over, rigid figure. “How come?” she asked curiously, he had always seemed to love his job.
“There doesn’t seem to be much of a point anymore,” he explained, “The teachers patronise me, the boys refuse to listen to me, and the girls do nothing but twirl their hair and talk about unicorns, I’m sick of it,”
“Why’d you keep it up for so long then?” she asked, bemused.
“You always seemed to love it so much; you drank in every detail and never had to be told anything twice. You made it all worthwhile. No one else cared half as much about the animals, let alone about how to correctly look after them, but you did. You were all I did it for,” his voice was odd, husky and pregnant with some indefinable emotion.
“Why so soppy, Teddy?” she tried vainly to make light of it, but it had reached some deep buried part of her self, and she wouldn’t soon forget those rich, slow-spoken words, or the fervour in his currently golden eyes.
He smiled and shook his head like a puppy with water in its ears, “No reason, Lils, just going to miss my best friend, I guess, what with your world wide tour and all,”
He was talking about her and Hugo’s swiftly approaching trip around the world. It had been planned for years, before either of their first years at Hogwarts, but it was only during the past few months that they’d began planning in earnest. Lily had still as of yet not passed her apparition exam, so everything was to be done by muggle means. Of course, there was the floo-network, but that was rarely to be trusted outside of western Europe. They were travelling by train, plane, boat and car from Britain to France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Romania and Norway and from there they would move to Russia, then Asian and the Middle-East, then Africa, skipping over to South America and finally up through the USA and into Canada, then back home.
It was a ten month trip, and she was hoping that by the time she got back she would see the world differently. That she could become confident, interesting and – possibly – beautiful and that she’d have stopped pining after her gorgeous, brilliant twenty-seven year old best friend. If he would only stop saying heartbreakingly tender things that for a moment made her think that he felt one smidgeon of the same way, before totally obliterating all her hopes by calling her ‘Lily-Child’ and tugging her pigtails like she was eight years old still- admittedly, she being a B-cup barely over five foot tall, he could be forgiven somewhat, but only slightly.
The rolling, smooth motion of the carriage on the rails, as well as the lingering tranquilizing potion in her veins, pulled her rapidly into a sweet, deep sleep.
She woke to the sound of loud voices in the corridor, telling her that they’d reached the station. She opened her eyes hesitantly, and realised that yet another of Teddy’s coats was draped over her, this one acting like a large, hooded snuggle-blanket.
“Come on, Lils,” he smiled at her, reaching out a hand to help her up. She took it, grinning at the enormous size difference between their palms.
She quickly levitated her trunk and departed the train, wishing it a million fond good-byes inside her head. Her mother, father and eldest brother were waiting for her, and she threw herself childishly into her mother’s arms, trying to conceal her newly sprung tears. She would miss Hogwarts beyond belief, it was her home.
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