Chapter 2 : All That Glistens is Not Gold
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James was still rubbing his jaw when Remus Lupin flung open the dormitory room door and stood there with a comical grin on his face.
Sirius snorted and threw a pillow at him, which he caught deftly.
“Who’s the totty putting the smile on your face Moony?” he said suggestively.
All four of them began sniggering just as Evie popped her head over his shoulder.
“Who are you calling a totty Sirius Black?”
Peter gave an audible squeak and stumbled backwards over his bed, disappearing somewhere over the other side. The boys treated this as a normal everyday occurrence.
“What can we do for you Evangeline? Especially now that you’ve provided some entertainment for us,” James asked with his usual charming genuine smile, not missing a beat as he polished his Quidditch boots.
“Stage One of Operation Happy Ending is ago!” she said throwing her long limbs in the air and taking a dramatic bow, “You’re welcome.”
“Are you serious?” James Potter dropped his boots and polishing equipment to the ground (a rather definite sign for anyone seeing him that the only thing that could distract him from Quidditch was in fact, Lily Evans) and hugged Evie tightly, “How could I ever had doubted you?”
“You doubted me? Silly boy,” Evie replied pushing him back towards his bed, “Now sit down and let me explain what you have to do. Listen carefully.”
James sat immediately, his back straight as a rod and his face attentive.
“Now as I explained last night, Stage One has nothing to do with Lily and everything to do with you.”
“I have to change.”
“Well…no, because we don’t want you to be different, there are just some things you need to attack differently.”
“Attack. Differently. Right.”
Evangeline exchanged an anxious glance with Remus Lupin.
“Number One. Stop interfering.”
“Her life, James! Just stop it all. If she has a date, don’t do anything. Don’t give Lily Evans an excuse to complain about you.”
A wide grin suddenly spreads over his face.
“But if she’s complaining about me…she’s thinking about me, right?” he said as though he’d conquered Evangeline.
Evie promptly slapped him.
“Stop it. No more thinking that way. That is boy talk. No more interference. Ever. Again.”
“Number Two. You have to stop playing pranks on other students especially Slytherins.”
“WHAT!” Sirius Black piped up, “That’s like asking a boy to give up food.”
“Well then imagine that those Slytherins are Lily.”
The boys all quietened for a moment as they thought hard. All at once, as if conducted, their faces screwed up into disgusted expressions.
“Ewwwww, I think she just put me off my lunch…”
“Greasy, slimy Lily Evans…”
“STOP!” Evangeline commanded loudly, “Think of those Slytherins as a way to impressing Lily. Turn the other cheek when they rib you and let them hit you. Be a gentleman.”
“But I only have two cheeks. What happens when I run out?”
“You’ve still got two more cheeks James Potter…” Sirius Black sniggered, causing an uproar as the boys dissolved into fits of laughter.
“James be serious…”
“But I’m James! I don’t want to be Sirius!”
“That’s what she said!”
“That’s what your MUM said!”
“Fine,” Evangeline said standing up and stepping around the collapsing boys, their faces growing redder and their breathing becoming harsher as they continued laughing, “When you are serious about Lily Evans, James Potter, and you want my help, come and find me.”
The rest of the boys were still laughing and Peter Pettigrew had just dropped to the floor, when Evangeline went to close the door behind her. James Potter’s foot however, got in the way.
“I’m sorry,” James said quite seriously, pulling the door back open, “Please come back in. I am serious about Lily. I swear.”
Evangeline smiled, giving James a knowing look as she re-entered the room. Unashamedly she sat down on Sirius Black’s bed, promptly ceasing the laughter.
“Alright boys, Evie’s done some major reconnaissance for us and we should give her some respect,” he said kicking the lump on the floor that was Peter, “Listen to her.”
“Continuing on,” Evangeline said confidently watching Sirius go red as she leant on his bed covers, “Stage One began by asking Lily Evans why she hated you and although it took a fairly long time for her to stop talking, I have the key to Lily Evans heart.”
To his credit, James Potter composed himself rather well once discovering this piece of information.
Well, if the definition of composed was mouth dropping open, hand clutching at his chest and feigning a heart attack as he dropped to the floor, then yes he was composed.
“The two major things I mentioned before which were…” Evie looked at him expectantly.
“Stop interfering and no more Slytherin bashing,” James answered promptly, not moving from his prostrated form on the floor, his hand still clutched at his chest.
“…were the two biggest things that annoyed her. These things are keeping her in complaint mode and not in love mode. Got it?”
“Lily has a love mode? For me?” James almost whispered pensively.
Sirius snorted, kicking him in the side.
“You dork,” the dark brooding boy mocked him, “You are so whipped it’s sickening.”
“And what is wrong with that?” James asked sitting up abruptly, “At least I know what love is. At least I’m capable of it!”
Sirius’s eyes darkened and he pulled himself up into a tense seated position.
“At least I’ve had a girlfriend!” he spat, his low tones becoming threatening.
James Potter gritted his teeth so hard that even Evie heard the crunching sound. All at once he lunged at Sirius pinning him to the ground, wrapping his arm around his back.
“I love Lily more than you could ever feel!” James shouted at him, “Stop making me feel like a right twat!”
“Wight, wight!” Sirius relented, his face mushed into the hard wooden floor with his friend’s weight pinning him down.
James got off, laughed and then ruffled Sirius’s hair, which Sirius returned.
Evangeline sat there shocked. She wasn’t sure if they had just tussled and fought and then laughed…whatever, she thought, boys never make sense anyway.
Remus Lupin was staring at her, a highly amused expression on his face. In fact, he looked like he was almost enjoying her reaction.
“It’s how we work Evangeline,” Remus said, laughter coming through his voice, “If we’ve got a problem, we pin the other to the ground until they give up. It’s all very diplomatic around here.”
Evangeline just shrugged. Beats skulking, ignoring and holding a grudge for a week.
“And I do know what love feels like,” Sirius muttered as he combed his hair back into shape in front of the mirror on the back of the door. Although she didn’t see it, he quite subtly flicked a glance Evangeline’s way.
“So getting back to it,” she went on, her and Peter now the only oblivious ones in the room, “The key to Lily Evans heart.”
“Right,” James said, curious eyes on Sirius Black, “It might just help if I knew that.”
This time James’s head almost spun three hundred and sixty degrees to look at Evie. In fact, all the boys stopped what they were doing, froze and stared at the girl.
“Lily Evans already has strong feelings for you Jim. They’re just not the ones you want…but clearly there is something about you that inspires some kind of passion in her.”
James began to blubber, as shocked as he was at this revelation. He looked rather like a fish, opening and closing his mouth so many times without any sound actually venturing from within.
Evie was rather enjoying their reactions until a glance down at her watch told her she shouldn’t be anywhere near this place at this time.
“Frick I’ve got to go,” she said leaping off the edge of the bed, “The girls will start to realise I’m gone. Remember what I said James!”
With that she slammed the door behind her, disappearing out of their dormitory and sight.
It was another moment and a half before anything in the room breathed, let alone moved.
“On that note of shocking revelations…Sirius do you have something to tell us?” Remus said, turning toward his friend.
The three of them stared at Sirius expectantly.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” Sirius replied still combing his hair, although quite a bit slower and more deliberately than before.
James Potter stuck his leg out, swung it round and promptly knocked Sirius off his feet and away from the mirror. He fell to the floor with a loud bang that shook the woodwork.
“Oi!” Sirius boomed amidst the boys’ chuckles, “What the hell was that for?”
“Well, Narcissus, we your best friends and confidantes and whatever sappy other thing you can call us, want to know since when are you crushing on Evangeline Ford?”
Sirius’s scowl dropped off his face immediately, to be replaced with a rather fervent blush and an expression that one would likely see on a deer caught in the headlights.
“I’m not crushing on Evangeline Ford,” he mumbled getting back to his feet, turning his back on his friends and straightening his bed covers.
“Oh yes you are!”
“It’s so bloody obvious why didn’t we see it before…”
“When the heck did this happen?”
“I know! It was during the last summer holidays when none of us saw him…”
“He was living with you, you dolt!”
“Oh shut up, the lot of you,” Sirius said turning back to them and slumping on his bed, “I’m not in love with Evie, okay?”
“Oh now it’s love hey?” James said with a grin, wiggling his eyebrows.
“SOD OFF!” Sirius bellowed, throwing some inanimate object at James Potter’s head before vanishing quickly out of the dormitory door. It slammed causing their mirror to fall off the wall and smash dramatically.
“Bloody fantastic,” Remus Lupin said with a flick of his wand that repaired and returned the mirror, “Two love-struck adolescent boys in my dormitory. What did I do wrong in a previous life?”
Evie tried to tread as quietly and as inconspicuously as possible back through her own dormitory door. Alas, this would have worked had three murderous teenage girls not been waiting for her.
She stopped halfway through the doorway when she finally saw the four of them, arms crossed and anger written all over their faces. She then tried to surreptitiously sneak back out.
“Evangeline Ford, you come back in here right now!”
She winced and relented, shutting the dormitory door behind her. Just in case, she kept her hand on the doorknob. Rule number one to hasty getaway, she thought.
“We’re worried about you Evie,” Marguerite Bennett said in her usual snappy tone, without any kind of indication that she was indeed worried.
“We just saw you sneak away into the boys dormitory and…you were in there for a while…” Ana Hill continued, her conservative mind incredibly uncomfortable with the thought of a girl doing something in the boys’ dormitory.
A rather loud bang, originating from the boys dormitory room, made Evie wince in embarrassment.
Evangeline’s eyes flicked to Remington Oslo, whose mouth twitched with a smile despite the anger lines forming on her forehead.
“Whatever you’re doing,” she said in a wavering tone, “Sneaking and whispering, hiding away with the boys…I want in.”
“Frick, I KNEW we couldn’t rely on you!”
“Marguerite you promised me you wouldn’t swear!”
“Ana you promised me you wouldn’t talk!”
“Oh come on guys!” Remington said, her laughter finally bursting through, “Did any of you actually think that Evie was doing something with the boys other than talking?”
The other two, suddenly became quite interested in the wooden floor.
“Well no…” Margie mumbled, shuffling her feet, “Not really…I just wanted to make sure…”
Ana however had gone bright, beetroot red.
“I had faith in your honour Evie,” Remington said with a smirk laying back down on her bed, “These two however…their minds in the bloody gutter and all…”
“Look Evie,” Margie cut Remington’s thought off which experience had told her, was always a wise thing to do, “Quite seriously, what have you been doing? And don’t you dare tell me it’s Sirius Black!”
Evie looked between each of them, taking in deep breaths before she decided whether or not to include them in the plan.
“I’m going to tell you…” she finally said, “But firstly, if you don’t agree, you must still keep it a secret and you must not interfere or there will be dire consequences. Like bald heads in the middle of the night consequences. Deal?”
They all nodded hesitantly. Evie took a deep breath.
“The boys and I have been devising a plan to finally match up Lily and James.”
Absolute, gut wrenching, spine tingling silence followed.
It was one of those moments where Evangeline found herself second-guessing her decision. For just a fleeting moment she became fearful that they would do everything in their power to intervene in the plans (in rather adventurous, publicly humiliating and violent ways she imagined) that Remus and her had so meticulously laid out. The expressions on the girls’ faces certainly did not help to ease her tension and she thought perhaps that this might be a good time to start planning how to steal a Time Turner.
“You. Are…” Margie said, her face passive.
“Brilliant,” Ana finished. A smile broke over her face.
“I’ve always secretly thought that they would be perfect for each other. And let’s face it, there has never been another guy who Lily has felt for as strongly as James Potter. Even if it is utter hatred…”
“That’s exactly what I thought!” Evie said excitedly as Margie’s face became approving as well, “She’s so passionately against him. There is something in her that is actually riled up whenever he is around. It’s like she’s totally in love but she refuses to believe it.”
“Oh my goodness!” Margie exclaimed, “Matchmaking time! I am in. And nothing is going to stop us!”
Ana made a little movement that caused the other girls to stare at her momentarily before deciding that she wasn’t having a fit but rather trying to do a little excited dance.
“What do you say Remi?” Evie asked looking around Ana and Margie, “You in too?”
It was only just then that Evangeline realised that in her and the other girls’ excitement, they had all failed to notice that Remington Oslo was not saying a thing. Frankly this was extremely out of the ordinary. This coupled with the expression on her face somewhat described as tortured, made Evie finally stop.
“Remi?” she asked again, although this time her voice came out in a little mumble.
Remington Oslo looked straight at her three friends, stood up abruptly and walked out the dormitory door, slamming it behind her.
A moment passed before the three girls exchanged anxious looks.
“Operation Happy Ending…” Evangeline voiced her thoughts, “Meet your first obstacle: Remington Oslo.”
Somewhere deep in London suburbia, a young woman struggled against her magical bindings, screaming and wrenching at the ropes as the cloaked being bent down and picked up the sleeping form of a small girl. Her partner lay in an unknown state on the floor, unconscious…dead, she wasn’t sure. Her immediate concern was for her innocent daughter, currently in the arms of their attacker.
“Please…don’t…don’t take her,” she whimpered, sobs catching in her throat, “Just tell me what you want…tell me what he wants.”
The cloaked man paused, facing her with the little girl still innocently asleep in his gloved hands. He seemed not to be considering how to answer her, just to be waiting, his threats laying silently in his arms.
Quite suddenly a figure emerged from the shadows and as it did the cloaked man quickly bowed and moved silently to the side for his superior.
“It is not for you to know what I want,” the leader said, “Just to do as I say.”
Her screams could be heard for miles.
Three separate emergency calls from Muggles came through to the authorities that night. Yet despite arriving at the scene of origin in record time, there was not a woman, nor in fact any other human being to be found.
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