Lily turned to follow her friends away from the quidditch pitch, when Proffessor Sprout’s voice and bustling figure stopped her in her tracks.
“Out of the way please, invalid coming through.”
Behind her floated James Potter, as if on a stretcher, closely followed by Sirius, Lupin and Pettigrew.
“Mr. Black,” said Sprout, turning to Sirius. “You can take it from here, though you will need someone else to help you negotiate him through doors and so on.” At this, Lupin stepped forward.
“No, not one of your friends, I can’t trust you three together in the hospital wing, whether Potter is incapacitated or no! Let me see….” Here she spotted Lily, and with an approving nod of her head she grabbed her arm. “Yes, Miss Evans, you’ll do – very appropriate.” She grinned to herself at this last. Lily blushed – did everyone know about James’s stupid crush?
“You don’t mind helping levitate this gentleman up to the hospital wing do you?” Sprout asked.
“No, that’s okay Proffessor.”
“Good girl. Mr. Black, take over the levitation spell please.”
As Lily walked with Sirius through the corridors, and up the stairs which led to the hospital, James floating unconscious between them, she thought how ridiculous this situation was. She looked down at James, feeling vaguely annoyed with him. In a way this was symbolic – he was what separated her and Sirius. However, looking at his face - his glasses slightly wonky over his closed eyes, his expression pained - it was hard to work up the kind of dislike that she had used to feel for him. Her face softened, and she reached over and straightened his glasses. Looking up, she saw Sirius watching her, his eyebrows raised.
“What?” she asked him.
“Nothing.” He replied nonchalantly, turning away from her. The rest of the walk they spent in silence.
When they reached the hospital wing, Lily stepped forward to open the door, and held it open while Sirius sent James through. Sirius then leaned against the door, the left side of his body touching Lily’s.
“Ladies first.” He said, gesturing for her to walk into the room ahead of him. She tried not to think of how nice his warm body had felt beside hers, as she thanked him and walked after James. Madame Pomfrey came rushing over, just as they entered, and Lily explained James’s injury to her. Sirius set his friend down on the nearest available bed, and the matron examined him, informed them that he had snapped his spine in two places, and then without blinking, endeavoured to remedy the injury while Lily and Sirius stood looking on in silent wonder. When she was done, she left for her office, in order to get something for another patient.
Sirius gave a low whistle, while Lily shook her head, expressing a similar emotion. She walked around the bed and looked down at James, as did Sirius, on the opposite side. After an interval, Sirius looked up from James’s now tranquil, sleeping face, and caught Lily’s eye over the bed.
“So,” he said, one eyebrow raised expectantly. “You wanted to talk to me about something.”
It wasn’t a question, and under the fierce scrutiny of his grey eyes, Lily found it difficult to know where to begin. Sirius walked slowly around James’s bed towards her, still keeping eye contact. She felt as if she was being stared down.
“You wanted to ask me…” he said in a low voice, so as not to wake his friend, “how I would feel, about you and James getting together.” There was a sarcastic bitterness to his tone as he finished the sentence, but it was his words themselves that shocked Lily.
“Er, no I didn’t!” she hissed back at him.
“Oh?” said Sirius. “That was the impression I got.”
“Well it was the wrong impression!” Lily snapped. “The thing I needed to tell you has nothing to do with James – or me for that matter.” She added as an afterthought.
“Then why are you getting involved?”
“I honestly don’t know.”
They stood, fuming at each other for a moment, before Madame Pomfry approached them.
“You two can leave now.” She told them kindly, but firmly. “Mr. Potter’ll be up and about in an hour or two – his bones are already mended, he just needs his rest.”
“I know you’re his best pal, honey, but you don’t want to disturb him now do you?”
With that, the pair were gently hustled out of the hospital wing and into the corridor, where Lily immediately turned to Sirius to finish their argument.
“So,” she began, stepping in front of Sirius to stop him walking away.
“So what?” he answered. His eyes looked down at Lily disparagingly, making her all the more irritated. The expression reminded her of the way he had used to look at students less popular than himself, and she hadn’t seen him wear it in a while.
“Spare me the dirty looks and I’ll tell you.” Lily shot back at him. “You look like your Narcissa when you stick your nose in the air like that.” Narcissa Black was Sirius’s cousin, a beautiful but unpleasant Slytherin sixth year, who always looked as if there was a bad smell under her nose. Sirius hated her, and Lily knew that she had hit a nerve. His eyes flashed.
“Tell me then.” Sirius growled at her. “And while you’re at it you can tell me the real reason you wanted to speak to me.”
“I will.” She retorted. “But first, you tell me why you thought I was about to ask your permission to start seeing James.”
“Oh, obviously you don’t need my permission – go right ahead.”
“Shut up. I’ve got no plans to go out with him. Why would I?”
“You tell me.”
“No – I want to know your reasons actually.”
“Well you go to all the quidditch matches to watch him, don’t you?”
“I go to the quidditch matches to watch the quidditch!”
“Okay, I believe you.”
Sirius had crossed his arms, and was looking at her with contempt. Lily was astonished. He was behaving really childishly (which she supposed was normal for him) but more than that, he sounded….jealous?
“What are you going on about Sirius?” she finally said. “Haven’t I always said that I don’t like James?”
“You always said you didn’t like me either, but that didn’t stop you snogging my face off in the three broomsticks.”
“Snogging your face off? What are you, twelve? And keep your voice down.”
“What, are you ashamed of me?” he mocked her.
“You were the one who said we couldn’t go out – because of James.”
“So you thought you might as well go for him instead then?”
Lily raised her eyes to heaven.
“Where are you getting this from? Because I had a conversation with him yesterday? Because I go to watch Gryffindor play quidditch like just about everyone else in the school?”
“You were practically throwing yourself at him in apparition the other day.” Said Sirius darkly, attempting to side step her. Lily moved with him, and as he turned so did she, so that her back was against the wall. Sensing his advantage, Sirius took a step towards her, and her responding backwards step left her trapped.
“I wasn’t throwing myself at him.” She snapped.
“You were flirting.”
“James thought you were.”
“James is deluding himself.”
Sirius put his hands against the wall either side of Lily, and looked into her face.
“No.” he said, and it sounded like a reprimand. “You led him on.”
It was as if he had turned from sulky schoolboy to stern enforcer of morals in a moment. This Sirius was more difficult to argue with, but still Lily shook her head stubbornly. She was in the right here, she had never led James on.
“You like him really, you’re lying to yourself.” Sirius remarked, his voice like gravel. He looked at the floor, but his hands still pressed against the stone wall, imprisoning Lily between his strong arms. She wanted to laugh – in this position, her thoughts were far from James. A giggle escaped her. Sirius looked up questioningly, but Lily’s eyes darted past him, alerting him to the sound of footsteps rounding the corner. He dropped his hands to his sides and stepped back, as a lanky ravenclaw boy wandered past, sparing them only a disinterested glance.
“We better walk.” Sirius said. “And it’s your turn now – you can tell me what you really had to say to me.”
He seemed less sullen than before, as the corner of his mouth was turned up in a smile. Lily grinned at him, relieved at his lightning of mood.
“Okay,” she said, linking a hand through Sirius’s arm. He looked down at her in surprise. “You’re not going to like this though.”
“Try me, Evans.”
Lily laughed, maybe he wouldn’t be too difficult. They turned a corner, and took a shortcut behind a tapestry depicting Merlin and the round table.
“Well,” she began, rushing to get her words out and see what his reaction would be. “I was asked to talk to you by your Regulus actually. He wants you to move back home.”
Sirius stiffened, and Lily realised that she should have drawn out her story more, been more tactful. She also remembered who had cost Gryffindor the match that day. Quickly, she tried to remedy her mistake.
“It’s just, he’s under lots of pressure from your mum and dad to…”
“That little bastard.” Sirius broke in, his voice deep and angry. He had stopped walking, and unlocked his arm from Lily’s grasp. There was something frightening in his anger – the look in his eyes, and the way he held himself so still.
“He knows it seems a bit much…” Lily invented hurridly, with a flustered glance at Sirius.
“A bit bloody unreasonable!” Sirius shouted at her. “And why’s he asking you to talk to me? Does he even know you? And - more importantly – Why are you listening to him?”
“He thought…because I don’t have anything against him personally…”
“Well you should.” Sirius told her, with venom in his voice, his eyes flashing ominously. Lily felt her heart rate accelerate. There was something about Sirius Black in a rage which seemed calculated to make her pulse quicken.
“Sirius, why can’t you give him another chance? He obviously wants to make up.”
“Why don’t I….” Sirius stuttered furiously. “You don’t know what I’ve had to put up with my whole life, while he never…”
Lily felt as if she had heard this all before.
“I know, I know.” She began, realising too late that it was completely the wrong thing to say. Sirius grabbed her by the shoulders, and pushed her hard into the wall of the hidden corridor. She gasped in pain as her back hit the stone.
“Don’t you dare assume you know anything about me.” He growled, right into her face. She pushed him away, scared and angry.
“Get away from me.”
Sirius was unfazed. He laughed his bark-like laugh, but this time the sound was un-nerving.
“I hate Regulus.” Sirius told her.
He turned to walk away, but Lily, feeling she needed to persevere despite his temper, shouted after him.
“He sent you some stuff for your birthday didn’t he? Stuff you might want from home?”
Sirius whirled round.
“What?” he said in a low voice. “What makes you think he sent that stuff to be nice? And…” he added “How do you even know about that?”
“Oh, you and him are best mates now, aren’t you?” Sirius laughed humourlessly.
“No,” Lily shot back at him. “You and James are best mates, so you should stop acting so bloody jealous.”
Sirius, in one swift movement, pulled out his wand, and pointed it into Lily’s face. She felt her breath catch in her throat, and realised as she tried to speak, that he had used a silencing charm on her. Merlin, He was a psychopath!
“Listen to me,” Sirius said, glowering at her, no twinkle in his eyes now. “I’m not jealous, I don’t give a shit if you like James better than me, and you can tell my brother…” he spat the words at her, “that he should learn to look after himself – like I had to.”
With that, he turned and stormed along the passageway, bursting through the wall hanging that covered the tunnel exit. Lily looked after him in astonishment, thinking that maybe it was a good thing that she and Sirius were not a couple.
Sirius strode away from Lily, his legs working fast as he attempted to put as much distance between them as possible. His anger at her was subsiding now that he didn’t have to look into those eyes, full of pity for the little brother that didn’t deserve any of it. How Regulus had the nerve to try and manipulate Lily Evans to do his bidding he just didn’t know. And why did he think she would be the best person to persuade him? Had Regulus been spying on him or something? Or was it so obvious that he and Lily…..
“Argggghhh” Sirius yelled out loud in flustration, and a couple of passing first years jumped about a foot in the air at the sound. Sirius pushed back his hair irritably. If it was any girl but Lily then there would be no problem right now – he could take her out and they could have fun, and if it didn’t work out then they could break up, simple as. As it was, dating Lily would mean breaking his best friend’s heart. James loved Lily, and it seemed like she was beginning to reciprocate his feelings. Sirius wanted to punch something. The night before, James had entered the common room beaming, dropped into his favourite chair by the fire, and immediately launched into a conversation about how Lily was definatley starting to like him better. His evidence was based on her stopping to talk to him specially that afternoon, her “obvious flirting” in apparition, and the discovery that she had been coming to watch him play quidditch all that time he had thought she hated him. He made it sound like they’d be announcing their engagement any time soon.
Sirius sighed. Even taking James out of the equation, Lily must hate him after the way he had just behaved. Now that he had cooled down, he regretted most of the argument – especially the part where he had practically thrown her against a wall. He hoped he hadn’t hurt her. As he walked he decided that he would find a way to apologise for his outbreak of temper. He would get back on friendly terms with Lily, somehow, but that would be it. After they were friends again, he would stop caring what she thought of him. It would never cross his mind again.