I would like to thank the always lovely and amazing beta, butterbeergal! Thanks for bearing with me through all my spelling and grammar mistakes :) And a big thanks to supersonicCAT at TDA for this beautiful chapter image!
Luke Wood POV:
James and I were sitting across from each other in the Great Hall sorting through vast amounts of papers with different plays and drills scrawled across them.
James looked like he was near to panic mode. “I mean, I just don’t think these plays will work without Fay. Shit, what are we going to do?”
He ran a hand through his already messy hair and looked at me, exasperated. I rolled my eyes.
“Mate, just get a hold of yourself. Obviously Fay can’t come back for an eighth year, so we’re just going to have to work around that.”
“It’s just... this is my last year to win the Quidditch Cup and coming second to Ravenclaw last year almost killed me,” he groaned and banged his head on the table. I leaned back on the bench, shaking my head at his dramatics.
Fred sat down heavily beside James and flicked him on the ear. “Oi, Potter, shape up.”
Without looking up, James swatted him, hitting him heavily in the stomach.
“I thought you had Divination right now, Freddie?” I asked him, ignoring his exaggerated pained facial expressions. Dramatics seemed to run in the family.
“Yeah, I do, I’m ‘in the bathroom’. Trelawney won’t know any better.”
“Even she’s not that dimwitted, the North Tower is quite a trek to the Great Hall.”
“Whatever, anyways, I knew you lot were taking your spare to talk Quidditch. So what have we got?”
“Apparently nothing,” I started, “because as a team we can’t function with the loss of one graduated player,” I added sarcastically, eyeing James who looked comatose on the table.
Fred scoffed and pulled some of the diagrams closer to him to have a look.
A shadow loomed over us and we all glanced up to see Daemon who joined us at the Gryffindor table.
“Hey now, no espionage for your team, Krum. We all know the Slytherins play dirty,” accused James who had finally looked up. He collected the papers and pulled them close to his chest.
Daemon laughed and punched a serious looking James lightly on the arm. “We don’t need your lousy plays. Anyways, I finally finished my essay for Potions and thought I would waste the rest of the period with you guys. So budge up and hide your terrible strategies.”
James sighed but listened to him and threw the mess of papers into his bag.
“Luke, have you seen Ashworth at all?” Fred asked as he munched down on a pastry stolen from breakfast.
“Nah, not really. Bumped into each other in the hall, said hello, that’s about it.”
“Ah, so no secret shags in the broom closets we don’t know about?” James asked, his mood lightening considerably as his Quidditch problems were put on the back burner.
I shook my head. “What about you Daemon? How’s the ball and chain?”
Daemon shrugged. “She’s good I guess.”
I had to admit it was a bit of a surprise to all of us that Daemon, of all the Marauders, was the only one to have a stable, long term relationship. He has been dating Ariel Caswell since fifth year, and from the minimal information he gave us, it seemed to be going strong.
Fred laughed at his answer. “Wow, try to be more excited. Or is this you telling us you’re going to ditch her? Who’s next for the big guy?”
Krum smirked and swung his arm around Fred. “Well, your sister is quite fit.”
“Oi! No, you don’t!” Fred roared and pushed a laughing Daemon off the bench.
James laughed, too, but looked slightly serious. “That’s only funny if not put into practice. Remember the code: no cousins, no sisters, no-”
“We know the bloody code, James,” I snapped at him, and he and Fred looked at me in surprise, as did Daemon from his place on the stone floor.
Daemon raised his eyebrows slightly and rose from the floor. “Anyway, Ariel wants to double at Hogsmeade next time we go, so one of you better shape up and find a date.”
They were all still looking at be strangely, but continued on in a tense sort of conversation.
I felt my face redden and immediately felt bad, and as if fate wanted to put me in an even more awkward situation, the subject of my guilt entered the Great Hall for lunch with Roxanne, the latter making large exaggerated hand movements and causing Lily to laugh, her auburn hair falling gracefully on her shoulders. I tore my gaze away from her and dove into the conversation that was occurring between my friends.
“I mean, how can she do that to me? Calling me different names and shit,” James retorted irritably.
Daemon grunted in acknowledgment and Fred simply laughed. “Look at you, Potter, all torn up about a girl. Admit it, you fancy her so much more now because she was playing you.”
James shook his head furiously but he blushed slightly. “Whatever.”
We all laughed and James reluctantly joined in.
Fred saved James from any further embarrassment. “Anyway, I think I’m going to stick with Prouse for a while. You know, the no strings attached thing we got going.”
I nodded in agreement. Kim Prouse was a pretty seventh year Slytherin and seemed to be Fred stuck in a female’s body. They suited each other perfectly, especially since neither of them had any desire to be tied down.
“I was also thinking Edie, you know, Roxy and Lily’s perky blonde friend...”
His words made me look over at Lily again, and I silently cursed myself for being so easily led astray.
She really was pretty, and if she had been anyone other than James’ little sister, I could possibly even be attracted to her. But this was Lily, the littlest Potter who, growing up, constantly begged to play Quidditch with us, and tattled on us to Ginny when we refused.
But, she did have a cute laugh and a nice smile and... Shit. I shook my head, trying to get the thoughts out of my mind. She is James’ little sister, and the only thing I was feeling was what a guy feels in the presence of a good- looking girl. Yeah, that’s it.
They were sitting a little way down the table. Lily caught my eye and gave me a shy smile. I couldn’t help but grin back at her. A slight blush rose on her cheeks and she tucked a loose curl behind her ear, ducking her head.
“Luke, mate, who are you giving that dopey smile?”
I jumped slightly, and glanced wildly around to see that Louis had joined us and the rest of my friends, all giving me bemused looks.
“You’re off today, Wood,” Daemon commented, his thick eyebrows drawn slightly. “Anyway, Fred, mate, as I was saying I would stick with Prouse. Edie is two years younger than you. And at least with Kim, you know that you’re getting what you want from her. Younger girls are so much needier and demanding.”
How the bloody hell did the conversation keep on coming back to me? I was silently fuming. I grabbed a sandwich off the platter that had appeared in front of us, and poured myself a glass of pumpkin juice to distract myself.
“Fred, isn’t all your stuff in the North Tower?” I asked him as he dug into roast potatoes and gravy.
“Oh, damn. Oh, well, I’ll just grab them later. I’m sure she didn’t even notice,” he mumbled through his food.
Daemon was about to rise and go join his Slytherin friends when Louis stopped him. “Guys... I have to tell you something.”
James leaned forward and said in mock seriousness, “You’re pregnant.”
I smirked. “Nah, he’s finally admitting he’s a poof.”
Louis scowled at us as we laughed. “Guys, really, cut it out.”
“There you go, Daemon, Louis can take his boyfriend with you to Hogsmeade,” Fred added, some food falling out of his mouth as he laughed. We all joined in except Louis who looked mutinous.
“I’m quitting Quidditch.”
This pronouncement was followed by a dead silence. Fred was choking slightly on his potatoes, Daemon had spilt across the table and James had slopped pumpkin juice all over his white school shirt.
The silence was only broken by Fred who, finally managing to swallow, said, “Now why the bloody hell would you do that?”
Louis’ face was held in a perfect mask of indifference, but we could all see the disappointment slipping through. “I really need to focus on my N.E.W.T.S, it’s only the first week and the work load is killing me. If I want to work in the Department of Mysteries, I really can’t handle Quidditch on top of everything.”
James looked as if someone had told him his broomstick had been snapped in half.
Louis seemed to be at a loss for words, so he nodded at us and rose from the Gryffindor table and made his way to his own house.
I spoke up, breaking the astonished silence. “Well, James, it looks like you won’t have to worry about coming second to Ravenclaw this year.”
“Bloody hell, Roxanne, I just have to go grab a book from the library. I’m sure you can be alone for that long,” I said as I rose from our place in front of the fire.
She gave me an exaggerated tortured look and put a hand to her forehead in mock despair. “I guess I can manage. Go Lily, go on without me!”
I shook my head. “You’re a drama queen.”
“I’m glad you finally acknowledged my superiority.” She shot me a grin. “I thought you were going to go to the library right after dinner? It’s half past eight.”
“I was going to, but someone made me stalk Ashton Davies with them to see if he had a girlfriend, your majesty.”
Roxanne simply laughed and then bent her head down, returning to proof reading her essay.
I sighed and looked at my watch. I had about twenty minutes before curfew set in.
The library was eerily quiet as I made way through the shelves, looking for the book I would need for Charms.
I had turned a bookshelf when I noticed a head of blonde hair sitting alone at a table.
I made my way to sit with my cousin Louis who looked incredibly flustered.
“Oh, hullo, Lily,” he said wearily, giving me a tired smile.
“How are you?”
“Been better.” He showed me a letter covered in feminine script. “My sisters have gone absolutely bonkers. Victoire is telling me that quitting Quidditch is one of my best ideas because school comes first and I shouldn’t be upset, and Dom is relentless about my love life, asking every other sentence who my date is going to be to Vic’s wedding and reminding me at the same time that whoeverl I bring can’t be prettier than her because she already has to wear a hideous dress.” Louis let out an exasperated sigh. “I wish I had brothers instead of two loony birds for sisters.”
I laughed at this. As endearing and wonderful as Victoire and Dominique were, I could easily see Louis getting frustrated with them. I was sure that at least one of the purposes of their letters was to get the easily riled up Louis into quite a state. Especially Dominique’s, she loved to get a reaction out of him, even if she was not there to witness it. I silently debated sending off a letter to let her know she had gotten what she desired. Louis was completely agitated.
“You can have mine,” I offered. This brought a smile to his handsome face and he shook his head.
“Nah, I think only you could handle James and Al all the time.”
I shrugged. “So, speaking of dates, who are you going to bring to the wedding?”
His face fell into a frustrated expression again, “Hell, if I know, whoever I bring will be under the scrutiny and judgment of not only my sisters, but my mother, too. I don’t know if I can put a random girl through that.” He stopped speaking and seemed to have an epiphany. “Let’s go together! No pressure, obviously they love you and you will look good on my arm.”
I snorted. “And I’m your cousin,” I added. “Thanks for the offer, Louis, but I think your sisters would judge you more if you don’t bring a date, plus it’s kind of pathetic if we both go stag.”
“I suppose...” he trailed off, looking thoughtful.
“Why don’t you ask Delilah Andrews from Huffelpuff? She’s a pretty girl and really sweet.”
Louis looked slightly sheepish. “I don’t think she will go with me.”
I rolled my eyes. “And why not?”
“Well, at one point last year, we kind of had a thing, and then Fred was interested in her, so I backed off... and well, then she caught me snogging a Seventh year Ravenclaw.”
“Louis!” I scolded and hit him on the arm.
He laughed and put his hands up in mock surrender. “It’s not like I cheated on her! We were never official!”
“That doesn’t make it okay,” I argued, feeling bad for Delilah.
My cousin shrugged. “Yeah, I know, but it makes it excusable.”
“Boys suck,” I added shortly.
At this, Louis laughed loudly and someone from a few book cases over shushed us.
“Coming from the girl who has never even kissed a boy.”
Merlin, I hate having a large family, especially one that likes to share anything and everything. My dating, or lack of it, was widely known to my entire family.
“I have to.”
“Oh, come on, Lily, you don’t have to lie to me,” Louis interjected, and as if the argument was over, he returned to The Glandular System of the Chimera and the Troll: Unexpected Similarities.
I leant over and shut the book. He looked up at me slightly irritated. “What, Lily?”
“I have kissed a boy.” Why was I pushing this? It was probably better for both me and Luke if everyone thought I was inexperienced.
Louis rolled his eyes, but he seemed to take pleasure in provoking me. “Your old pygmy puff doesn’t count, Lils.”
He smirked at my expression and opened his book back up.
“Well… Roxanne hasn’t kissed anyone,” I said, dragging Roxanne into my pathetic loneliness.
Louis did not even look up from his reading. “Yes, she has. She and McLaggen snogged behind the green houses last year.”
“No – how on earth do you know that?”
“We have our ways. Why do you think he was in the hospital wing the next day?” Louis said mildly. He seemed bored by the conversation and his eyes were still fixed on the text.
“He said he got too close to the Whompin- wait, so does that mean Fred knows?” I asked, completely thrown.
Louis looked at me and replied with a condescending tone, “Well of course he does, Silly Lily, none of the rest of us would have been that harsh.”
I sat there; the only sound was the gentle scratch of Louis’ quill on parchment.
“Hmm?” he mumbled, his blonde head still bent.
“Alex was in the hospital wing for three days
For the first time in our whole conversation, Louis looked like he felt genuinely guilty. “Yeah, well, Pomfrey is a little nuts about recovery time.”
I felt slightly sick, a whole torrent of emotions ricocheting through me. I knew that sometimes Fred took things too far, but my brother and his friends were always there to calm him down. I could not help but feel bad for McLaggen... and Roxanne. How would she ever be able to have a boyfriend? And Merlin only knows if they reacted this way to a juvenile game of spin-the-bottle, how would they react to a drunken tryst between me and one of their best friends?
Louis looked anxious to change the subject and he seemed to grasp onto the first thing he could think of. “Do you think I’m doing the right thing, quitting Quidditch?”
I eagerly answered, if only to distract myself from Luke’s prospective doom. “It’s up to you, Louis. You’re not planning to go pro obviously, and your future is important to you. I know James, and they seem like thick trolls right now, but give it time and they will understand.”
Louis nodded but still looked glum. “Berger, our captain this year, is furious with me. As is the rest of Ravenclaw. Without a good keeper, we don’t have a shot in hell of winning the cup.”
I felt bad for my cousin; he seemed to be between a rock and one of Hagrid’s Blast-Ended Skrewts. “Now, coming from a completely neutral party, and one not interested at all in how you quitting would better Gryffindor’s chances for the cup...” he cracked a smile at this, “do what makes you happy. Everything will figure itself out, Louis. Plus, you guys won last year. It would just be downright selfish of you to want to win for a second year in a row.”
He laughed and threw a crumpled piece of paper at me. “How did you get so wise, Little One?”
“Oh, you know,” I replied airily, “it was nice talking to you, Lou, but I got to dash. I’m going to be cutting it close to get back to the tower by curfew.”
“Later, Lily... and thanks.”
Turns out, if one is distracted and not paying attention, it is very easy to get lost in Hogwarts. Somehow I ended up by the kitchens and in the complete opposite direction of the tower I was aiming for. I was cursing my lack of attention when I turned to a corner only to bang into someone.
I managed not to fall, but my orange-haired cousin Hugo landed gracelessly on his arse, his wand clattering to the ground with him.
“Lilyyy,” Hugo said, his voice approaching a whine, and he reached out a freckled hand so I could help him up.
“It’s past curfew,” he said stoutly, trying and failing to look authoritative.
“Going to turn me in, Hugo?” I asked, grinning slightly. Hugo was always the tattletale growing up, and due to this, he was teased mercifully. The number of times Roxanne and I thought we got away with something and then were lectured because of Hugo was too many to count. It was no surprise when he became a prefect. Hugo was an absolute sellout when it came to saving his own butt. He should have been in Slytherin.
He looked disgruntled and his ears were slightly red. “Of course, not. I am not even on duty.”
“So what are you doing out and about?” I could not help but be curious. This was the second time in a week Hugo had been out of bed for no reason.
He looked shifty and would not meet my eye. Godric, did my whole family have secrets?
“Anyway, I’m off to bed. See you later, Lily,” he said breezily and began to walk at an almost running pace away from me.
He didn’t stop walking and just kept on hurrying away. “Yeah?”
“Your common room is that way,” I said, pointing in the opposite direction he had headed.
He looked extremely flustered and I could not help but laugh. This seemed to irritate him more and he brushed by me once again.
“Get to bed, Lily.”
I laughed again as he disappeared into the dark corridor. “Aye, aye, Prefect.”
I finally managed to get back to the common room, thankfully detention-free. Roxanne, seemingly unable to be alone for more than ten minutes, had been joined by her brother, James and Luke in front of the fire.
I felt giddy, something I associated with just being in the same room as Luke, and I made my way over praying to Dumbledore that I would not make a fool out of myself.
Luke offered me a small smile and then quickly looked away when James and Fred noticed my arrival. They both greeted me and returned back to their conversation concerning the Quidditch tryouts that were happening at the end of the week.
I walked over to my brother whose long limbs were sprawled on one of the comfy arm chairs, and after several minutes of unsuccessful attempts at shoving him out, I settled to sit next to Roxanne on the floor.
I looked at Fred who was sitting so smugly and I decided I deserved to get some satisfaction tonight, so I threw him to the figurative lions.
He looked down at me from his perch and answered back in a patronizing tone, “Yes, Lily Flower?”
“I learned something interesting today,” I answered back loftily.
“Did you? Well, you know what they say, you learn something new everyday. Keep up the good work, kiddo.” He rolled his eyes and went back to speaking with my brother and Luke, both looking slightly confused.
Roxanne had one eyebrow raised and was looking between me and Fred.
“Yes, well it has to do with Roxanne snogging McLaggen.”
She stiffened beside me, and gave me a look caught between confusion and betrayal.
Fred’s brow furrowed. “I… err… wasn’t aware she had kissed a boy.”
I ignored Roxanne who was now shooting daggers at me. “Really? Well, it turns out Alex was not in the hospital wing because of the Whomping Willow, but because of a certain group of sixth year boys...”
Roxanne’s anger was now redirected and she let out an Amazon-like screech and tore after her brother, who I was pleased to see was up and running for his life out of the portrait hole.
Maybe the lions were not so figurative, I thought to myself, as Roxanne tackled her brother and viciously punched him in the eye.
AN: So my updating has been suckish, I have the whole story pretty much planned out now so hopefully they will not take as long! Thanks for sticking with me, and I am thrilled by all the support! Be a doll and review :)