Chapter 7 : Alter Egos and Arrogant Prats
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A/N: Oh man, I am so sorry, everyone. I’ve actually written a few chapters of this over the past few months, but I just kept being too lazy to type them up, especially because school got busy. Then, my darling friend decided she wanted to read them, and the book I write this fanfic in ended up having a sleepover at her house…for a month. Blame her. Partially. And please, no pitchforks, I’ll try and do better in the future, and hopefully chapters 8 and 9 will be up within a week, because then, I’m off to England for a bit. Thanks again for even bothering with this piece of junk, and please, kick back, read, enjoy, and review. I highly recommend some music and a nice cup of tea to go with it, and in addition, if you have any ideas for future chapters, I’d be happy to hear them.
* * *
Days had past since their kiss on the astronomy tower, and Lily was avoiding James like the plague. As much as she reasoned with herself, she couldn’t deny that whenever she was around him, her thoughts always went astray. Something about that boy made her head spin, but she refused to think the obvious truth; She, Lily Evans, was falling for James Potter.
It’s not that she was shallow, with James’ rugged figure being the fantasy of the most of the female populous at Hogwarts. That was hardly the case, seeing as she hadn’t cared the past six years about his looks. Her thoughts were shattered as she saw him approaching.
“Er, see you, Ramsey, I, uh, forgot something upstairs,” she muttered, but Ramsey didn’t buy it. Stuffing her last bit of toast into her mouth, which she still somehow managed to make graceful, Ramsey followed the redhead out of the hall. As they reached a deserted corridor, she spoke.
“You like him, don’t you?” Lily spun around.
“No! Ramsey, you’ve known me for six years, and you’ve been my best friend for a good portion of that, so you should know—“
“That you’re lying to me,” Ramsey said bluntly, cutting off her friend. “Listen, Lily, it’s okay to fall for James Potter I know you’ve spent the better part of our time her at Hogwarts detesting him, and with good reason. He’s been a real tosser to you, and do you know why?” Lily still looked unsatisfied.
“Why?” she mumbled, not wanting to hear what she knew was coming.
“Because he likes you! He has for years! And now that you’ve finally realized you like him to, what, you’re going to avoid him? Lil, grow up. We’re not thirteen anymore.”
Lily stood dumbfounded before her friend. “He’s been making my life a living hell for six years, and what, now that she’s been nice for a few weeks and has kissed me, and maybe been kissed by a sober me even, I’m supposed to just get together with him?”
“Well, yeah,” said Ramsey pointedly. “And wait, you guys kissed again? Why do you never tell me these things!” Ramsey whacked Lily’s head playfully.
“Long story. And no! I’m not supposed to fall for James ‘Eat Me’ Potter! I’m supposed to hate him!” Lily slumped on the wall, her eyed widened at her sudden catharsis. “Oh fuck,” she muttered, staring at nothing in particular. “I like James freaking Potter. I’m done for.”
Ramsey chortled. “Yep, coz either you’ll be killed by some raging fan girls, or your alter ego who hates his guts will press the self destruct button. C’mon, let’s go to potions.” When Lily made no attempt at moving, Ramsey grinned. “Potter’ll be there, Lil.” Lily hit her friend with her charms book.
“That’s not funny, bitch!” Lily splurted.
“That’s what you think,” Ramsey parried, before hooking Lily by the elbow and pulling her down the corridor.
* * *
Unfortunately for Lily, he alter ego with a passionate hatred for a
certain black-haired specimen had returned for potions class, and was back in the driver’s seat.
James was sitting next to her usual seat, and stood up when she walked in, arm in arm with her best friend. Ramsey dislodged herself from Lily and strode over to Remus, who was looking especially pale that day. However, upon her sitting next to him, his smile brightened considerably.
“Hey, Lily, saved you your seat,” James said eagerly, hoping that today she would finally acknowledge his existence for the first time since their moment on the tower, and not run for cover. Oh was he in for a treat.
“Potter, what are you doing here?” she said, a little too much bitterness in her voice, considering it was nine in the morning.
Looking taken aback, James stumbled over his words.
“I, er, um, what?”
“Why are you…here,” alter ego Lily replied, gesturing to the seat.
“I take this class, Lily. That’s why.” He frowned slightly, and resumed pulling out her chair for her, albeit a little forcibly.
“I’m quite capable of sitting down, you know."
“Oh, er, right,” he said sheepishly, sitting back down, a glower staring to form on his face.
Slughorn waltzed into the room at that moment, gave Lily a warm smile, and began the lesson. She wasn’t really paying attention to him though. She was too busy fighting a war inside her head. So far, the angrier Lily was winning.
Meanwhile, James was experiencing his own batch of internal dissent. The nice, polite, and responsible James that had recently been awoken from within was being pushed over by the James that everyone had known at Hogwarts since year one. The bigheaded, arrogant, and, to Lily, nauseating James wanted control.
It’s not that he didn’t realize that people in general, Lily (or so he had thought) included, liked the newer version of him, the version with the deflated ego. But Lily was acting like her old self once again. He still was incredibly into her, he always had been, but this was the Evans who had been wearing away at him for years, back in action. Although he’d never admit it, even to his fellow marauders, he was hurting. And the only way to shield him from that hurt was to put up his armor again. He ran his fingers through his hair, in its permanently glorified and windswept state, and a haughty smirk returned to his face. Yes, the old Potter was about to make a comeback.
* * *
Back in the Great Hall for lunch, Lily and James’ behavior was causing quite the commotion amongst the marauders and Ramsey. Bets were going around the four as to how long it would take for one to first hex the other, who the firer of said hex would be (at the moment, unanimously to Lily), and for the trifecta, how long it would then take for them to give into the almost tangible sexual tension and leap at one another. Needless to say, none of the bets were for more than a week’s time.
Lily and James, however, were oblivious to this. They were too intent on being as cold and obnoxious to the other as possible, which had, since lunch began, included a few “go out with me, Evans” remarks from James, a few “I’d rather date the giant squid, Potters” and other such retorts, which James usually followed up with “Come off it, Evans, you know you want me.”
It was a return to normalcy for anyone who wasn’t a close friend of either, and many had just assumed that the head girl had finally snapped and was going to commit homicide within the next few days.
“Ramsey,” said Lily, with a forced sweetness in her voice, “Could you ask Potter to pass me the butter?” Ramsey gave her a disapproving look.
“Ask him yourself, or rather, why don’t you ask him to make passionate love to you on the spot?” A devious smile crept across her lips as both James and Lily turned violent shades of red. Sirius had snorted his mouthful of pumpkin juice across the table at her remark, showering Peter.
“Padfoot! Watch it!” he cried, fumbling around for his wand rather unsuccessfully. Remus whipped out his own and cleaned Peter up, but Sirius hadn’t even noticed, for he, Ramsey, and for the most part, Remus, were still staring at James and Lily. The two were still the approximate shade of crimson as their Gryffindor ties, and were now looking anywhere but at their friends.
Finally breaking the silence, Remus cleared his throat. “Uh, Ramsey, we should go work on that, er, herbology essay, yeah?” He gave her a look as if to say, “let’s get out of here before the time bomb you just set goes off,” which Ramsey cued in to and hurriedly agreed.
“Oh yeah, Good thinking, Remy,” she said, a little too enthusiastically, as she grabbed her bag and got up. “See you later, Lils.” She smiled to the others and kissed the top of Lily’s auburn head, which Lily hardly noticed. Scrambling to his feet, Sirius called after the two.
“Oi, wait up, I actually should work on that too. Mind if I join?” His pleading look amused Ramsey and Remus, but they weren’t about to refuse him, and they beckoned for him to come with them. Unfortunately for Peter, he did not quite catch on soon enough, and was left alone with Lily and James.
After a few more moments of tense silence, James made as if to speak, turning towards Lily. “Look—“
“I need to go, actually, Potter. I really don’t have time for this right now,” She cut him off, still red in the face and hurried away. Before she could escape entirely, however, James called after her, loud enough for the whole hall to hear.
“Go out with me, Evans, stop playing this little game you’ve got going on. You want it, I want it, so what’s the big deal?”
Lily spun around her eyes flashing dangerously, “Oh please, don’t flatter yourself. I certainly don’t want you, and you’re not fooling anyone. We can all see that you only want to add me to your shelf. What’s the matter, need another notch on the bedpost? Then go screw yourself, why don’t you, and stay the hell out of my life.” She stormed off, and he could do nothing but watch, his mouth hanging open slightly.
“Er, Prongs, are you going to finish that?” Mumbled Peter who remained oblivious to the fight that had just occurred. James didn’t even hear him.
As soon as Lily was out of the Great Hall, she broke into a run, silvery tears dripping down her flushed cheeks, not stopping until she had reached the Library. Hiding behind an old stack in the corner, her old favorite hiding place in fact, she pulled out her wand, nonverbally sending a small piece of torn parchment to Ramsey.
After a few minutes, Ramsey quietly came around the side. Seeing her best friend on the ground, arms wrapped around her knees, hair pulled over one shoulder, and crying softly, Ramsey could practically feel Lily’s heart breaking. Tenderly, she lowered herself on the ground next to Lily, wrapping her arm around her in a protective manner.
“Shh, Lils, it’s okay. Lils, I’m right here, yeah? Everything’ll be alright.” She patted Lily’s back to try and sooth her, and reached out one hand, taking Lily’s in her own.
“How do you know, Ramsey? Everything’s not alright,” Lily choked out between sobs. Ramsey squeezed her hand.
“I promise, Lily, everything will be okay. You’ll always have me, right her, and as long as I’m here, I won’t let anything happen to you.” The two best friends sat there for ages, holding hands, and Ramsey hoped with all her might that Lily wouldn’t look up, for if she did, she might just see Ramsey Ryder, the fearless girl who could never be brought down, cry.
* * *
James was soaring over the deserted quidditch pitch on the late afternoon light, flying off his frustration at the day’s events. Post lunch, Lily hadn’t so much as looked at him in their classes, but he was so angry that it was a good thing he hadn’t tried to make her do so. Now, as Sirius had pointed out, Lily’s behavior wasn’t really out of the ordinary, considering how she had always been towards him over the past several years. Regardless, James had thought they were making progress, especially given their kiss on the tower.
Leaning forward, James accelerated, letting his broom take him forward, into the rushing gusts. Looping once before breaking, he looked out across the lake, and over the mountaintops that enshrined Hogwarts from the rest of the world. A voice cried out, making him jump slightly, but he relaxed as he saw Sirius hurtling towards him.
“Padfoot, you nearly made me fall off my broom. What’s going on?” He bellowed, a fleeting glimpse of his aggression coming through.
“What do you mean, ‘what’s going on?’’ he yelled back, “What the hell are you playing at, treating Lily like that again. Maybe I let you act like a prat for six years, but enough is enough. Evans is my friend too, and if you think that what you’re doing is going to get you with her, then you’re dumber and more childish than I thought you were. “ There was no warmth in Sirius’ eyes as he said this, and right as James made to holler back, he cut him off.
“Save if, Prongs. I don’t want to hear it. But this is a warning from me: cut the crap and stop being such a prick to her, or you have to answer to me, not her. So get it together, mate, grow up.” He eyed James before whipping his broom around. “She’s not just another one of your games, Potter,” he called over his shoulder.
Now James was all alone again, even more so than he could have ever imagined.
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