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Failure By Design by still_fly
Chapter 9 : Home
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 38

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Gorgeous chapter image by .MementoMori @ TDA!

Chapter Nine

I’ve never been so giddy in my entire life. It was beyond giddy, actually. Giddy is when I can’t stay still in my seat. This—whatever it is—had me giggling like a schoolgirl. Well I guess, if you want to get all technical about it, I am a schoolgirl. But not the giggly type. Definitely not the giggly type.

James, however, might just be the giggly type of schoolgirl by the way his knuckles were covering his mouth, pathetically trying to keep his giggles within himself.

Did I mention that he was failing miserably?

“Shhh!” I hissed, covering my mouth with my finger in order to silence him. It was ineffective, however, considering that a giggle managed to escape its way out of my own lips.

We came to the park before we went to my house in order to ‘mentally prepare’ ourselves or something. It was dark outside now. My parents wouldn’t be expecting me home until nine but it was only eight so we had an hour to kill. We were spending that time stumbling around, laughing, as if we were intoxicated. But we weren’t. Unless you count life as something that can intoxicate you. Who knows—maybe it can.

“Heehee!” The last of James’ giggles faded into the starry sky as he pulled me to the teeter-totter, “What is this thing?”

“It’s called a teeter-totter. You sit on one side, and I sit on the other and we bounce up and down.”

His face lit up at the thought, “I wanna try!”

So we sat there, teetering before he said, with another laugh, “What was so funny anyways?”

“We were—teehee—imagining the look on Petunia’s face after we do this!” And, with that said . . . again, we broke off into another round of hysterics as we bumped up and down on the teeter-totter. Our laughter made zero sense—kind of like me and him.

After that was all done with, James immediately sobered up as to get down to business, “Okay here’s the deal,” I nodded to signal that I was listening despite my laughter, “We’re going to make as much noise as possible to get at least Petunia’s attention. And then I want you to pull out every insult in the book to throw at me. Pretend that you still hate my guts—”

“I never hated you.”

Abruptly, I stopped laughing. The grin on his face slowly slid off his face as my words clicked in both his mind and mine. He stopped teetering and, as his weight overpowered mine, I was stuck in the air. I covered my mouth in shock. I mean, really, this is the third time in the past week that my brain forgot to inform me of something vital. I had hated him at some point in my life . . . right?

“Y-you didn’t?” He stuttered. There was silence for a moment or two before he began again, “But what about all the screaming and bickering? If you didn’t hate me, then what was all that about?”

“I-I don’t know.” I told him in a rush, “I mean—It was just sort of—I can explain it all—I mean—” I sighed and decided to make a whole new approach to this explanation, “Eight days ago I would have been able to explain this in about two seconds.” I laughed but found no humor, “It would have been along the lines of, ‘I just can’t stand you or your big head’ but now . . . I just don’t know.” I looked down at my hands, suddenly shy.


I looked up to find him looking at me, searching for an answer.

“Erm . . . well, what?”

“What changed?” He asked, “Me?”

I shook my head, “No,” I rolled my eyes at my own stupidity; stupidity that has robbed me for six years, “I did.” I looked up at him—well, down considering that I was already up in the air—and gave him the biggest smile I could muster up. He smiled back, and gently pushed off the ground and we teetered in a comfortable silence until it was time to go.

But now that the plan was actually being set in motion, our giggles returned to us although in smaller numbers than before. We walked from the park to my house in hushed laughter, as to not alert my family we were there before we actually put up the act. I turned to James as we neared the driveway and raised an eyebrow. He nodded.

The act was officially up.

I stomped up my driveway like a priss, James followed me. “Lily, wait!” He called, hopefully loud enough for Petunia to hear through her room. I reached the door and fumbled for my keys but before I could even unlock the door, he grabbed my arm and turned me around to face him.

“What do you want?” I asked him, forcing my tone to sound annoyed, which was quite the accomplishment considering the fact that I was also holding back forcible laughter, “I thought I made it clear: go away.”

“What went wrong, Lily?” He asked, a smile of amusement on his face. It was a good thing no one could see us. From the corner of my eye, I saw the light of the room above the front door turn on. Petunia’s room. I smirked, just imagining her reaction, “I’m crazy about you.”

“Well, you drive me crazy.” It wasn’t exactly a lie, “I just can’t take your presence anymore! You are, without a doubt, the most annoying, self-centered, pompous, smelly, dumb . . .” Frankly, I was rusty with the insults, “Butthead!” As you can see, I’m clearly out of practice. I think it gets the point across, though. Hopefully. “I can’t believe we ever even dated.”

I heard the pounding of rushed footsteps hasting down the stairs and then something collided with the door. Petunia probably was running so fast down the staircase that she couldn’t stop in enough time to not run headfirst into the door. I saw her figure from behind the nearly opaque glass around the doorframe.

“Are you breaking up with me, Lils?” He asked. I’m mildly surprised that he was able to say anything. He was laughing so hard that he had to put his arm over his face just so he could pass it off as sobbing. If Petunia really believes that he was crying then that will truly be a joke.

“This is beyond breaking up with you, Potter.” I pulled out the last name for old time’s sake. “We’re over.”

The truth and meaning of those two words hit me like a ton of bricks right then and there. James didn’t notice the smile creep off of my face because he was still laughing—his eyes closed. I turned on my heel and slammed the door into his face to make it look official. I heard the oh so audible crack that signaled that he apparated. But he didn’t go back home. Nope. He was probably laughing his arse off in my room as we speak.

What did you just do?” Petunia screeched, sticking her pointy little nose in my face.

Why did she care? I backed up so she wasn’t quite so uncomfortably close, “Erm . . . I just broke up with Potter.”


“Weren’t you listening?” I smirked. She clearly thought that I was crazy. I’m not completely sure that this is what Petunia wants me to think about her right now. And if anyone is stubborn, it’s Petunia. If she’s showing emotion that she doesn’t want to show that means one thing: she’s cracked. “If you could excuse me, now, I’m going up to my bedroom.” And with that, I pushed past her, leaving her completely stunned, and rushed to my room.

I thought it would be a relief to not have to pretend about dating James anymore . . . but I just feel so much . . . worse.


I stepped into my room, locking the door behind me in case Petunia decided to barge in. James was lying on my bed with a huge grin still plastered on his face. I forced one on my own features and went to my bed and sat down next to his form. He began talking about our hoax like it was the best prank of the century and he was the mastermind behind it all.

I wanted so badly to tell him what I was really thinking but I didn’t even know what I was really thinking. So, I forced a laugh and nodded at all the right places.

We’re over.

Those two words echoed in my mind in a never ending cycle. It hit one side of my skull and just rebounded off another over and over and over again. I’m proud to say that I was able to fool James in thinking that I was just as excited as he was until he left for home—an astounding twenty minutes later—after giving me a big hug and saying that he’ll see me at Hogwarts.

We’re over.

Had we even begun?






I stared up at the Hogwarts express and suddenly, even though I was leaving my home today, felt as if I were returning to my real home—Hogwarts; a place where I have friends, friends loyal enough to call family, and a place where I feel heartwarmingly safe.

“I can’t believe she broke up with that poor boy,” My dad whispered to my mum. I don’t think he realized that he was talking just loud enough for me to hear. I rolled my eyes. They’re still going on about that? It’s been like, two days! You’d think that my parents would stop shaking their heads every time they see me and Petunia would quit staring at me with her mouth open after two days.

“Lily knows what she’s doing,” Did I really? That’s a first. “If she broke up with him, then there must be a good reason. Maybe he’s not the perfect boy for her like we thought.”

Even your parents see it.

Shut up, heart.

“Of course he is!” Dad exclaimed, “I would marry that bloke—you know, if I didn’t already have a beautiful wife . . . and if I swung that way, which I don’t.”

“Merlin!” I cried, turning around and interrupting my mum before she could even begin to talk. I assessed them with a raise of an eyebrow, “Dad, will you just sit and listen to yourself? You’re mental. Both of you!”

“You’re right, we shouldn’t be talking about this,” Mum told me, pulling me into her famous bone crushing hugs, “We’re here to see you off, not make you see sense.”

“Mum!” I groaned into her shoulder. They were never going to let me see the end of this, were they? I released my mother and turned to dad and hugged him gently. “I’ll see you at Christmas.” I told them as I pulled away from him. I grabbed my trunk and my owl and, with one last smile (tearful smiles, on my parents’ part), I started for the train, looking back at them every couple of steps.

I boarded the train. I had a while before I had to head off for the Head’s compartment so I went to find Mary.

And, boy, did I find her . . . found her snogging Remus Lupin, to be exact.


My retinas are not happy right now. Neither is my stomach.

I have tact—I swear, I do. It isn’t like me to interrupt a couple snogging unless I was on Prefect patrols (I mean, what if I were interrupted in the middle of a good snog? I don’t think I’d be too happy) but I couldn’t quite repress the gag that erupted from my throat.

They broke apart.

Oh, thank Merlin.

“Oh, hi Lily!” Mary chirped, completely unabashed that she had just been walked in on sucking face with her ‘squeeze’. Remus, on the other hand, looked very flushed and embarrassed. Mary sat next to Remus and put her head on his shoulder.

“Hey, Lils.” Remus gave me a soft smile and motioned for me to join them in the compartment. I obliged and stuffed my trunk on the rack above the seats. In the process, however, I managed to whack myself in the head. I’m not the most graceful person, okay?

“Careful there, Lilybilly,” Called a deep and yet perky voice from the walkway outside the compartment. I turned to the voice with a glare. I rubbed my head and stuck my tongue out at Sirius who was smirking like there was no tomorrow. Sirius walked past me and sat down. Following him was both James and Peter Pettigrew. We all sat down. Mary next to Remus, Remus next to Peter, myself across from Mary and next to James and James next to Sirius.

“How was everyone’s summer?” Peter piped up after a couple moments of awkward silence. I think everyone could sense how comfortable James and I are around each other now. All of them, apart from Sirius who was used to it by now after my day at the Potter’s, were staring at us like we had just grown extra arms. You would think that Mary would be a little more relaxed about it after our little talk.

“The best yet!” James said, playfully punching me in the shoulder and giving me his biggest, brightest smile. I rolled my eyes and smacked him upside the head and the wide-eyed stares that seemed to be glued on the two of us grew, if possible, even wider.

Eventually, I had to leave to go to the Head's compartment to meet the Prefects and the Head Boy (I wasn't complaining. The stares in that compartment were beginning to get down right creepy). My fellow head was Gordon Smith from Ravenclaw. I didn't know him too well but I have shared a couple pleasant conversations in the library with him before. I felt a little uncomfortable, however, because it seemed to me like he had a little crush on me.

After we explained everything to the new Prefects we reached Hogwarts. I smiled up at the big castle and decided that this school year would be just like my summer; the best yet.










*A/N: I feel a little relieved to have gotten this chapter up. You see, I wrote two versions of this chapter. The first version was absolute poop (it was so bad that I deleted it from my entire computer just so I wouldn't have to look at it ever again) and the second version is . . . well, what you just read. This version was like 487583734843298 times better than the first, which is def saying something 'cause I'm not too sure about this.

Bleh.. review? It would make my dayy :)

Thank youu all you awesome readers for reviewing this story so far! It really makes me smile to see that you guys like this story!!


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