Chapter 1 : Collision
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“Leave me alone!” Lily swiveled around on her heel, flaming red hair flying behind her as she turned, facing who she was convinced was the most arrogant, daft, pigheaded idiot known to mankind.
James Potter's lips twisted up in a grin, a mischievous light twinkling in his hazel eyes. "But Lily, my dear--”
"I am not your dear, you insufferable prat!"
“Why, thank you.” James bowed his head, tipping an invisible hat, grin growing wide.
"What are you on about, Potter?" Clenching her fists, Lily glared at him with eyes as slits. Her cheeks burned furiously. She couldn't deal with this. She couldn't deal with him.
Three more years, she chanted in her head. Just three more years. And then I'll never have to see his face again.
“Well, you see, if I am insufferable, then all that means is that you are completely unable to suffer in my presence. And I take that as a handsome compliment!”
Lily blinked, dumbfounded, and stared at this excuse for a man standing in front of her. Well…boy. She doubted if James could ever be considered a man, even a sorry excuse for one. The grin, that had already split James's face in two, nearly doubled. Without a word, she turned from him and walked down the hall.
“Hey Evans!” James had only waited seconds before hurrying after her retreating figure. She began to walk faster. “You know, you look so beautiful when you're angry.” He fell into step with her, his long strides matching hers hurried, short ones easily. She inhaled deeply, kept her head forward, and struggled to pick up her pace. “Especially when you try to ignore me.”
You can do this, Lily. Just keep walking.
“It's so cute!” James's laughter echoed off the stone walls of the empty corridors as Lily willed herself to stay calm. Emerald eyes flashed toward him, catching a glimpse of a nearly full silver moon through one of the windows. It would be past curfew soon. Maybe she could threaten him with detentions...
Like that'd ever work. Ignore him.
“Keeping your anger in like this isn't healthy, Evans. Wouldn't want you to combust, after all.”
Grinding her teeth together and hugging her books to her chest, Lily fought the urge to turn around right then and tell him off. Three more years? What the hell was she thinking!? She couldn't put up with another day of his nonsense. He was driving her absolutely mental. She could feel her wand bouncing in the pocket of her robes, tempting her with each step. Maybe just one good hex...
"I'd be quite upset if you exploded, you know. In fact I'd--”
Lily fell backward, her books falling out of her hands as she hit the hard floor. “Y'ouch...” She winced, rubbing her left wrist which had taken the brunt of the fall.
“Watch where you're going, Malfoy,” James spat as Lily pushed her fringe out of her eyes to look up at the looming figure above her.
Lucius Malfoy stood inches away from her splayed feet, calmly wiping invisible dirt from his robes. By the look on his face, one would think he'd just been hit by a particularly nasty dungbomb. "Perhaps it is the Mudblood on the floor that should be more aware,” Lucius sneered, flattening a few stray hairs against his sleek blond head. Lily bit her lip, fighting back the all too familiar sting of tears, and began gathering her scattered books and parchment.
“Take that back.” James had his wand held tightly in his hand, a snarl curling on his lips.
“I don't need you to protect me, Potter,” Lily snapped, standing from the floor and straightening her books in her arms.
“A feisty one we have here,” Lucius chuckled, his own wand held loosely between nimble fingers. “Though, I'm surprised she can even speak with so much dirt in her mouth.”
“Take it back, Malfoy. I'm warning you.” James's wand began to shake violently in his grip though he clenched his teeth against the anger coursing through him. He shot Lily a concerned glance but she refused to look at him. He fixed his glare at Lucius.
“She doesn't need you, remember?” A smirk curled Lucius's thin lips as his eyes traveled deliberately between the two Gryffindors. “Or should I say ‘want’? It must really sting being denied by filth like her.”
“Furnunculus!” James shouted. The spell shot straight toward Lucius, but bounced off a timely shield charm and crashed through a nearby window.
A flash of white light filled the corridor and James was ripped from gravity, his surprised scream echoing off of the corridor walls as he was hung upside-down by his foot. An amused expression spread across Lucius’s face, accompanied by a dry chuckle . “I’ll have to thank Severus for such a delightful jinx.”
“Stop it!” Lily screamed, fumbling for her own wand in her robes and letting her books tumble once again to the floor. "Let him down!" She searched the ends of the corridor frantically hoping a teacher might turn the corner any moment. Surely someone had heard the noise by now.
“Not so brave now, Po—AHH!” Lucius dropped his wand as an angry fire ignited the sleeve of his robe, feeding hungrily on the cloth and spreading toward his face. James fell to the ground, hitting his shoulder particularly hard against the stone. Staggering up from the floor, James pointed his wand at the struggling Slytherin.
The fire had worked its way completely up his arm and was spitting fiercely around his face, the acrid smell of burning hair filling the hall. Finally reaching his wand, Lucius quenched the fire with a stream of water and, in his distraction, he didn't notice the jet of red light heading toward him until it hit him square in the chest. He flew back through the air, slamming into the stone wall with a sickening crack, head lolling to the side as he slid to the ground.
“What is wrong with you!?” Lily turned on James, one hand clutching her hair, the other gripping her wand so tightly that her knuckles were white.
“He deserved it.” James grimaced, one hand tenderly holding his bruised shoulder.
“He didn't—You just...you're an idiot!” Lily gestured wildly to the unconscious Lucius propped against the wall, a trickle of blood seeping from beneath his hair and down the side of his face.
“He called you a you-know-what!” James squeaked, watching her in disbelief. "I couldn't just let him walk away after saying that!”
“I told you to drop it, didn't I?” she huffed, pressing a hand against her forehead as if willing away a massive headache.
“Just leave, will you?” Lily looked up at him, anger sparking in her eyes. “Before I change my mind about reporting this.”
“I don't care about detentions, Evans. He deserved everything he got!”
“Why are you--”
With one more haughty glance toward Lucius, James stormed off down the corridor. Pressing both hands to her forehead now, Lily leaned against the wall and closed her eyes. What was she going to do? She couldn't just take him to the Hospital Wing; there'd be too many questions. A bitter laugh escaped her lips as she dared to even entertain the idea of taking him down to the Slytherin commons.
An odd expression passed over her features as she watched Lucius sagging against the wall. There was something interesting about him; without the looming air he seemed completely harmless. Lily shook her head and sighed, gathering her books with a flick of her wand and making her way toward him. She couldn't be bothered with such nonsense.
A dull flickering light pressed against Lucius' eyelids, dragging him out of a rather painful sleep. Blood pounded at his temples, causing a groan to pass through his unusually dry lips. He didn't want to get up. Pain throbbed in every muscle and joint, especially in his right arm; the skin felt tight and even the smallest movement was like a thousand needles piercing his skin. Carefully, he tried to lift his arm. A sickening jolt shot through him, starting at his fingertips, throbbing right below his collar bone, and causing his stomach to turn.
“Arg!” He reached over to clutch his arm but found that he couldn't; a cool hand that quickly wrapped its fingers around his wrist kept his injured arm out of reach. Lucius' eyes snapped open, widening in surprise at the unexpected touch before narrowing into fierce slits.
“Release me, Mudblood,” Lucius growled, trying to move away from her. Before he had even moved an inch the pain seared through his body, stopping him immediately.
“I wouldn't do that, if I were you.” Sympathy filled her soft voice, tinged only slightly with disdain. She placed his hand gently back down at his side and began to move around a small table beside the bed he was lying on.
“Evans?” he spat, trying once again to sit up. Lily watched him struggle against the pain and the Leg-Locker Curse she'd used as an extra precaution to keep him pinned to the bed. Raising her eyebrows, she shook her head with an amused smile on her lips. “What have you done to me?” Lucius snapped, succumbing to the pain after the fifth failed attempt at getting up.
“You needed to lie down,” was all she said as she busily mixed an acid green paste in a stone pestle.
“What is the meaning of this?” Lucius demanded, his eyes taking in as much of the room as they could manage from the bed he was confined to. All of the walls were bleach white and smooth, broken only by a single wooden door on the wall directly ahead of him. There were several candles floating about the ceiling in shimmering bubbles, and a bitter sterile scent filled his nostrils. “Where are we?”
Lily exhaled in a huff, placing the pestle on the table with a rather heavy clunk, and turned to face him with her arms crossed. His bewildered stony glare fixed on her, but, without a wand or the will to rise, intimidation was well beneath him.
“You had a duel with Potter.”
“I am aware of that fact,” Lucius sneered.“But why--”
“You were knocked unconscious, and very severely burned," Lily stated impatiently. "I'm...taking care of you.” Her usually strong voice trailed into almost nothing. Lucius raised an eyebrow at her, lip curled menacingly, but said nothing.
Picking up the pestle, she ground the paste with a bit too much force. After a few moments, she scooped the paste onto her fingers and moved toward him but, as she was reaching out to take his arm, he jerked away with a vicious growl, disturbing the veil of silence that had been hovering over the room like a violent cloud.
“Keep your filthy hands off of me!” He clumsily managed to push himself into a sitting position with his uninjured arm, gritting his teeth against the burning in his other, though his legs were still locked together. “And remove this damned jinx at once.”
Lily laughed, bitter and loud. “What are you going to do? Snarl at me until I do as you say? You've got no wand, you can't even stand, and even if you could manage to hop close enough to reach me, you're too weak to harm me. You can't go anywhere until that burn is healed.”
Lucius was smart enough not to try to lunge at her in his condition. Embarrassing himself by face-planting on a hard stone floor was not something he was apt to wish upon himself. Especially in front of a Mudblood.
“Look, I don't want to be here anymore than you do but unfortunately--” she sighed, brushing loose hair out of her eyes and trailing off.
“Don't lower yourself for my sake,” Lucius began, sarcasm dripping like venom, “I've got plenty of others--”
“You honestly think they wouldn't ridicule you for losing to Potter? Or anyone for that matter. Even you couldn't cover up something this obvious.” Lily was smiling now, a sly curve touching her lips. " Unfortunately for you, we don't have any extra dragon's lying around willing to take the blame for that burn. I don't think your pride could handle it." As much as she disliked being in his presence, much less alone in the same room with him, making Lucius Malfoy squirm was completely worth it. His eyes narrowed but he fell silent, settling for a nasty sneer.
Taking a tentative step forward, Lily placed her gentle fingers around his wrist. All signs of her former anger vanished as soon as she touched his skin. Turning his arm carefully, she applied the paste in smooth, slow circles. Hisses passed between his lips, but Lucius did not move. At her delicate touch, he suddenly became aware of how exposed he was. His robes had been cut away around the wound, revealing the entirety of his right arm and half of his chest. He had no wand, no means of defense, and not even a hint as to where he was. It was not a situation he was used to.
“There's that,” Lily stated simply, wiping the remaining paste from her hands onto a towel. Lucius blinked, torn from his roving thoughts. The pain had diminished to a dull throb within seconds, an icy chill running the length of his arm and around his shoulder.
How did she do that? Lucius stared at his arm in concealed amazement as the acid green paste melted into his raw skin, which was now fading to pink. Magical fire wounds healed with a salve?
Warm water pressed against the side of Lucius's head and dripped down his face as Lily began to wipe away the dried blood. He emitted a low growl at her touch, but made no movement. Though his arm was no longer immobilized, he still had no wand and she did.
She did not speak as she cleaned him up, but to ask him to turn his head. Once, she placed her fingers beneath his chin and lifted it slowly, the warm towel removing the blood that had slid down his neck. Dipping the towel in a basin of water, Lily placed it against his hair, reddish water dripping down his face and neck. Careful not to pull too hard, she worked her fingers through his hair, remarkably silky even with the dried blood clumping bits of it together. With her fingers working gently against his scalp, something akin to a shiver ran down Lucius's spine. He was not used to this at all.
Once she finished, she placed the towel in the basin and took her wand from inside her robes.
“What are you doing with that?” Lucius asked sharply, eying her wand suspiciously.
“I was going to heal that cut on your head and fix up your robes,” she answered, irritated, and gestured toward the mess of scraps that still hung around his body. She smirked. “And remove that jinx?”
“Give me my wand. I can handle it myself.” To his surprise, Lily reached into her robes and produced the slender, elm wood wand he knew to be his own. After handing it to him, she turned her back to him and began to clean up the small table she had been working on.
Unsticking his legs, Lucius slid from the bed to his feet, testing his strength. He refused to look the fool in front of her. He mended his robes with a simple flourish of his wand, pulling the new material carefully over his injured arm. As he made his way toward the single wooden door, the dull clinking sound of stone on stone was the only disruption of the heavy silence that had fallen over them. Reaching for the door handle, Lucius hesitated. Seconds later, he found himself facing to room once more with a spark of curiosity behind his cold stare.
“What is this place?” Lucius demanded of the red-headed witch working steadily before him. It seemed like a private ward in a hospital, but as far as he knew Hogwarts had no such thing. Especially one so readily stocked with rare ingredients that even Slughorn, the Potions Master, would be envious of.
Lily paused, wiping wet hands on a towel now draped over her shoulder. Eying Lucius by the door, she moved toward the bed and purposefully straightened the sheets, searching for an answer in their creases.
“It's called the Room of Requirement,” she told the sheets.
Lucius waited for further explanation, impatiently looking about the room as if the stark white walls might begin to speak in her silence. Realizing he would get nothing more from her, he placed his hand on the doorknob. But before he could leave, another thought popped into his head.
“Why did you help me?” he blurted out, unable to control his raving curiosity. Attempting to look disinterested, he stared at a floating candle inches above her head.
“I--” Lily began with an exasperated sigh, “had to.”
Raising a condescending eyebrow, Lucius scoffed, “I would have left you to bleed to death, if I were in your place."
“I am not you.” She looked up from the sheets, her icy glare pierced into him.
“That is evident,” he sneered, though it lasted mere seconds before sliding off his face. Was he feeling...remorse? Nonsense! He was never sorry. Gratitude? Now that was absurd.
“You will speak of this to no one.” Smoothing his now damp hair, Lucius opened the door and slipped out into the hallway, letting the door shut behind him with a loud click.
His hair was sleek, his stature filled with pride, and his usual powerful stride accompanied him as he sauntered down the empty corridors toward the Slytherin commons, yet try as he may, Lucius Malfoy could not rid his mind of the young red-headed Mudblood he had just left behind.
[Author's Note: I would like to thank Sigyne and her snarky friends for writing a roleplay with me several years ago, the inspiration for this unlikely tale. Also, my new friend and beta reader CherryBear; this story would be miserably mundane without her.
Thank you all for reading my first chapter! I hope you enjoyed it. Chapter 2 will be posted within the next 2 weeks.
You've read, now review! ^^ ]