Chapter 4 : Help is a four letter word
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“What? Why would you need my help?” Hoping that my face was returning to its normal colour at last, I cautiously ventured back over to Malfoy’s table. The two previously occupied prefects had disentangled themselves and were now watching us, but I shot them my best glare and they hastily turned away. Hah! I’ve finally got the Rose-stare down! I refocused on Malfoy, to find him giving the couple the same treatment. Darn. Well, it might have been my stare... Satisfied that we were once again unobserved, he replied.
“I need to learn a spell, and I’m pretty sure you could teach me.”
Well, there go the cheeks again – there has got to be a way of controlling that.
“I think you have the wrong cousin – Rose is the smart one, I’m better with a snitch than a book.”
“Perhaps,” he smiled knowingly, “but you’re even better with a wand.”
“Seriously, I’m not good at magic!” I had no idea what he thought he knew, but I wasn’t planning on admitting anything. As far as the rest of the school were aware, I was magically average, and I planned to keep it that way. Better that, than they know what a freak I was. Anyways, odds were that he’d just seen me do something minor, so I was sure I could brush it off as a fluke.
“Nice try, but I know your secret.” I repeat, WHAT?!? “I’ve seen you in here, practising spells no fourth year should be able to manage. You’ve been doing it ever since you arrived, and you’re right, you’re not ‘good’ at magic, you’re unbelievable.”
I felt my stomach plummet, as I realised the full extent of the problem. If he’d been watching me for that long, there was no way I’d be able to convince him it wasn’t what it looked like. The only option now was damage limitation. I quickly pulled out a seat opposite him, sat down, and attempted to look like I wasn’t having a panic attack.
“OK, let’s say that I was, hypothetically speaking, as ‘unbelievable’ as you’re making out. What would you want me to teach you? You’d better know I’m not going to help you learn anything dangerous.”
“Good to know. Well, hypothetically, I’d like you to teach me to conjure a Patronus.”
OK, that doesn’t sound too dastardly, “And in return, you’d not tell anyone about things you may or may not have seen?”
“Technically, I shouldn’t owe you anything, but sure, my lips are sealed.” I searched his face for a few moments, trying to work out if I could trust him, before accepting that I didn’t really have any choice. He met my gaze, a hint of a smile forming as he watched my growing discomfort.
“Alright then, it’s a deal – but seriously, I hear one word about my uniqueness, and I’ll have to make you regret catching me.”
“You can trust me.” How scary is it that Malfoy just said that? Even worse, that I believe him. “Besides, I’m the one person in this place who knows exactly how daunting that threat is.”
That was certainly true. I’d never willingly let anyone know how I was with magic. My parents had been worried about it when I was younger, as my first attempts at spell casting (at around the same time as my first steps) were somewhat unrestrained. However, as with walking, I’d quickly learnt how to keep it under control, and ever since I had appeared to the outside world like an utterly typical witch. Even my own family assumed that it had simply been a phase. Since arriving at Hogwarts, my only concession to my freakish abilities had been to secretly practise spells in the privacy of the library. Every time, I had told myself it would be the last time, but there was something compelling about seeing how far I could go. Seems I wasn’t as secretive as I thought. Returning my attention to Malfoy, I asked “OK, so how are we going to do this?”
Organising secret spell casting lessons didn’t initially seem too tricky, but what with two sets of quidditch practices and his prefect duties, there were surprisingly few times available. Eventually we had agreed on Thursday evening, at which point I had immediately made some excuse and bolted.
Back in the common room, and safely surrounded by my oblivious friends and family, the whole thing seemed even more surreal. I, Lily-white Potter, was secretly helping the somewhat hot player-of-Slytherin Malfoy learn complicated spell-casting, in order to keep yet another secret under wraps. An insane urge to spill the whole thing bubbled up inside me, just to see how little everyone would believe it. Luckily, Chelsea and Electra were once again too busy trying to understand the male mind to notice my preoccupation.
“Why don’t you just ask him out, if you like him so much?”
“Urgh, Chelsea sweetheart, you have so much to learn. Asking out a fifth year Ravenclaw would be presumptuous enough, but when the guy’s as hot as Louis, it’s definitely out of the question – even if he is clearly into me.” Electra turned to me for support. “Right, Lily? Lily? You in there?”
“Huh?” I quickly tried to work out what had been asked of me. “I...agree?”
“Sure you do. What’s up with you? Ever since – I don’t know – the quidditch match, you’ve been totally out of it.”
“Is your head OK?” Chelsea added with sudden concern, “You got hit really hard; maybe you should go see Madam Pomfrey.”
“I’m fine, honest, just thinking about all the homework I still haven’t started.”
“Yeah, right” Electra snorted. Darn, my friends know me too well “I know that look. It’s the ‘I secretly fancy a guy but I don’t want to tell anyone’ look.”
“And you’d know that look how?” I don’t fancy him, I mean, um, anyone.
“I know it because it’s the look so many girls get shortly before spilling all.” Electra smiled mischievously.
“Sorry to spoil your fun, but the only one here with a crush at the moment, is you.”
“I don’t have a crush. I like Louis a reasonable amount and thought I might be gracious enough to give him a shot with me. Besides, I’m not the only one here who likes a guy.”
I was about to deny it again, when I realised that Chelsea’s silence was due to her own embarrassment. “Chelsea Amanda Kilpatrick! Do you have a crush that you didn’t tell me about?” I was kind of shocked – Chelsea didn’t do secrets; she said they were bad for the complexion.
“Well, I thought you’d rather not know...” she trailed off, looking sheepish.
“Oh, for goodness’ sake!” I exclaimed, as the whole truth finally dawned on me, “Not another one of my cousins? Couldn’t you have found someone else, you know, not related to your best friend?”
“In her defence,” Electra interjected, “there actually aren’t a whole lot of alternatives in this house, and Hugo is a real sweetie.”
“Hmm, well I’ll give you that one.” I replied, grudgingly, “I guess you can live another day.” I gave her a final mock glare, before breaking into a smile. If nothing else, it looked like my secret was safe for the moment. Wow, never thought I’d see the day when I would be relieved to talk about the cuteness of my relatives.
A.N. It’s slow going, I know, but Lily’s very innocent, and I want it to be realistic. Please give feedback as to what you like, what you would change, and whether you’re still interested. Thanks to all those who’ve read and reviewed so far – you rock! Much more Scorpius/Lily time next chapter.
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